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Ahmedabad Xavier’s former principal Bishop Braganza no more

Retd Rev Bishop Francis Braganza SJ passed away on Wednesday morning at Xavier's residence near Xavier's college in Ahmedabad.

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Retd Rev Bishop Francis Braganza SJ passed away on Wednesday morning at Xavier's residence near Xavier's college in Ahmedabad. He was 89. People associated with him know him as more than just a visionary. Fr. Cedric Prakash remembers him as someone who envisioned the future way beyond a common man. He loved to work for the poor and the marginalised and went out of the way to help them.

Fr Vincent Saldanha, English professor at St. Xavier's college, says, "Bishop Francis Braganza was one of the founding fathers of the college.  He had served as professor at the college from 1956 to 1961 and as the principal of St Xavier's college, Ahmedabad, from 1970 to 1980."

According to Catholic bishop Thomas Macwan, "Just last month, we celebrated the 60th year of his priesthood. He was a pioneering educationist with a broad vision. Because of his efforts, large tracts of land could be purchased in many parts of Gujarat for setting up educational institutes. The state is reaping the fruits of his efforts. He was a simple person who led an austere and pious life."

His body will be kept at Xavier's residence between 8am and 9am on Thursday for those wanting to pay their last respects. "The funeral will be held on Thursday at 4 pm in the Rosary Church, Vadodara, as he was the bishop of the diocese of Vadodara in 1987 and retired on August 29, 1997," said Fr Saldanha.

Born on January 29, 1922, at Bandra, Mumbai, he entered Society of Jesus (SJ) on May 28, 1938, at Shembaganur. He was ordained as priest on November 21, 1951. Besides his work at St Xavier's college, Ahmedabad, he was a rector at Rosary Church, Vadodara, in 1961-1962, vice-provincial of Gujarat from 1963-1968, assistant to the general from 1967-1970, bishop of Vadodara from 1987-1997 and Emeritus Bishop between 1998 and 2011.

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