“As we thank the Lord for the gift of Fr Raymond Ambroise to the Church, particularly to the FABC, we commend him to the Lord who has called him to the eternal banquet He has prepared for his faithful. May He Rest in Peace…”
This is the prayer Myanmar’s Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, as he expressed, as President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, and on the FABC’s behalf, their grief and sorrow at the sudden demise of Rev Fr Raymond Ambroise, former Executive Secretary of the FABC Office of Social Communications and consultant to Radio Veritas Asia.
Fr Ambroise passed away on July 7, 2020, after a heart attack at the Home for the Disabled, which was his home too for many years, in Secundarabad, India.
Below is the full statement of the Archbishop of Yangon:
Rev. Fr. Raymond Ambroise
On behalf of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC), I express our grief and sorrow at the sudden demise of Rev Fr Raymond Ambroise, former Executive Secretary of the FABC Office of Social Communications and consultant to Radio Veritas Asia. He passed away on July 07 after due to heart attack at the Home for the Disabled, which was his home too for many years, in Secundarabad, India. We express our deepest sympathies and condolences to his dear ones, particularly to his elder brother Bishop Yvon Ambroise, Chairman, FABC Office of Human Development.
Fr Raymond has been a quiet and calm missionary priest with deep love for the Church. He devoted all his energies to serve the Lord. He was a trail blazer and luminary in the field of social communication, social development, innovative educational programs and numerous other forms of pastoral ministry. An able administrator and meticulous planner, he was calm, unassuming, gentle and above all deeply spiritual in all that he did. He handled lots of funds and projects but lived a very frugal and austere life. His deep insights and progressive thinking helped Radio Veritas Asia (RVA) migrate from Short Wave to an online service. He guided the process of transition with diligence. He was a visionary and his efforts have borne abundant fruit.
He loved the poor as is evident in his painstaking work to found and nurture the Andhra Pradesh Social Service Society (APSS) which ensured sustainable livelihood and economic development for thousands of families. He loved to live and be at the Home for the Disabled together with hundreds of people who had no homes or relatives of their own. For the inmates of the Home, he was their Father.
Fr Raymond celebrated his 75th birthday a few days ago. He never retired from any work, but those who had known his abilities continued to seek his support and advice. He was always ready to render any service with utmost commitment. We never expected he would leave us so soon, but we believe that in the Lord’s reckoning he had faithfully completed the work entrusted to him. We bow in gratitude to God for the life and witness of Fr Raymond. We trust the Lord to reward him with eternal life.
In March 2019, when he completed his assignment with the FABC-OSC in a letter he addressed to many of us, he wrote these words in which we can recognize the man of God and the Church, truly and fully committed to his mission:
As I returned to India after completing my assignment at FABC-OSC, my heart was exuberant with Joy for what God has done in my life and particularly in the last nine and half years in the field of Social Communication and Radio Veritas Asia; further with a heart filled gratitude to God for having fulfilled my desire through RVA to be a missionary in my life to bring Jesus to the teeming millions of Asians all over the world; with gratitude for the commitment that gave me a sense of fulfillment in facing all the challenges, the work entailed not only to keep up what was being done earlier but to scale it up to new heights like digitalization and migrating from SW Broadcast to Online services involving also Social Networks.
Back in India, I will continue with my assignments to provide alternative ‘home’ to over 420 who lost their ‘own home’ by no fault of theirs and because physically and mentally challenged, working with 250,000 rural landless women spread over 2000 villages to empower them and my third assignment as manager of a multicolor offset press belonging to Telugu Catholic Bishops’ Council to enrich the Telugu Catholic Literature. Like Mary my heart rebounds with joy and sing the grateful song of Mary.
I thank God for having selected me to serve RVA as a Consultant from 2003 to 2009 and from 2010 to April 2019 to serve the Asian Church as the Secretary of FABC-OSC. As I always acknowledged, I consider the selection as God’s plan to use me in spite of my inadequacies. But since I was serving the Lord and it is He who selected me, I was confident that He would complement and empower me to achieve His plan for all my assignments and in particular to Radio Veritas Asia as per the demands of the new technological innovations. In all these I had to be only an instrument in His Hands. I thank God for the manifold ways by which He accompanied me to fulfill my assignment.
As we thank the Lord for the gift of Fr Raymond Ambroise to the Church, particularly to the FABC, we commend him to the Lord who has called him to the eternal banquet He has prepared for his faithful. May He Rest in Peace.
Cardinal Charles Bo SDB
President of FABC