SACBC: Fr Emil Blaser was a Visionary and Inspiration
The Southern African Bishops’ Conference has paid tribute to Dominican Father Emil Blaser, who died on November 16 at the age of 78 after a long illness.
A statement issued by spokesman Archbishop William Slattery OFM described Fr Blaser, a former SACBC associate secretary-general, “a visionary and inspiration of Radio Veritas bringing the Good News to the people of South Africa”.
The bishops extended their condolences to Fr Blaser’s family and “the Dominican Family in South Africa who have lost a brother dedicated to the charism of the Order”.
“As bishops, our thoughts reach out to the staff of Radio Veritas who have lost the one who was their inspiration, director and friend. We say to the family, the listeners of Radio Veritas, that it is time now to touch that faith and trust in God which inspired Fr Emil,” the statement said.
“His message was that God is with us, the Lord is risen, He speaks to us each day. The voice of Fr Emil falls silent but the Word of the Lord resounds. It was Fr Emil who brought us together and made us a family, he made us friends, companions sharing our faith on the road,” it said.
“We thank you, Christian people, who by your interest, your faith, your participation, your financial support made Radio Veritas, the dream of Fr Emil, come true. You enabled him to bring the Lord Himself into so many lives.”
The Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) also paid tribute to Fr Blaser.
“His love for the Gospel saw him paying particular attention to the establishment of Radio Veritas so that indeed God’s Word could reach far and wide,” IMBISA said in a statement.
“We pray for the repose of his soul with the sure hope that he will enjoy the beatific vision promised to all God’s children. We also pray that more people may take seriously the task of spreading the Word of God through the media and especially through radio.”
Radio Veritas in a statement said: “Fr Emil will be sadly missed and deeply mourned by all of us at Radio Veritas. We have lost a director, a mentor, a father, a friend and a pastor, and the Church has lost a wonderful and gifted priest. A light has gone out at this radio station, and in the Church in South Africa.”
Fr Blaser retired from presenting his popular morning show on Radio Veritas in 2018 due to his debilitating illness. For several years he suffered from progressively worsening chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), an acquired immune-mediated inflammatory disorder of the nervous system. The painful illness first robbed him of feelings in his fingers and toes, and progressively made all movement difficult and then impossible.
See also Southern Cross editor Günther Simmermacher’s personal tribute to Fr Blaser, published on Monday.
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