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A man of extraordinary kindness, generosity, love

Frs Leslie Tang Kai (left), Steve Duncan (right) and other clergy carry the coffin to the hearse.

The extraordinary life and service of Fr Rudolph ‘Rudy’ Mohammed was celebrated February 23 at a funeral Mass at the St Theresa’s RC Church, Woodbrook. The faithful came from far and wide to join family and clergy to remember a man who embodied “kindness, generosity and love”.

His sister, Doreen Mohammed, delivering the eulogy, told of incidents in which he suffered physical pain and disability: he was severely burnt, but he faced this with the resolve that would make him a good priest, mentor, teacher, administrator and project manager. “He did all this while living a life of chastity,” she reminded the hundreds gathered to remember him.

Also sharing in the eulogy was family friend Patrick Tam, who announced that Fr Rudy would usually spend half of whatever he had on charity and went to needy families in Arima with “a brown bag” full of what they needed, “giving his time and resources….”. He said at the end of Fr Rudy’s life, he was still “showing us what we are made of” and further described him as “a champion to many of us in this church when we had none”.

Close friend Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Harris CSSp preached the homily. He indicated that Fr Rudy would open his presbytery to anyone who needed him.

Having known him from childhood and as a Fatima College non-Catholic student who desired to become a priest, Archbishop Harris said one of the most important lessons he learned from Fr Rudy was that “a priest should never be concerned with being unclean because he touches the lepers of society. Anyone, anywhere could come to him.”

He said that because of the above tendency, people said all “kinds of things” about Fr Rudy but he was not deterred and instead remained a kind, gentle person who was open to everyone.

Announcing that funeral services are not for the dead who have already met God but for the living who are attending, Archbishop Harris urged everyone to imitate Fr Rudy in the way life is lived, letting virtue exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees in sincerity of life instead of “doing things for show that people will say good things about us”. He said that mindset leads one to live an opposite life when people cannot see.

He urged remembrance of the new commandment in loving the lepers of society as Christ loved them and not being afraid, like Christ, to be called “a friend of prostitutes and sinners” and that fear of being considered “less than” would be removed.

Archbishop Harris also petitioned those gathered to resist the temptation to have the “other gods of money, pleasure and comfort” and instead to see Christ in all persons.

He said because of such an extraordinary life, he believed that Fr Rudy was already with God because he “loved deeply” and recognised God in all people and loved God in them.

The Final Commendation was performed by Vicar General Fr Martin Sirju and Bishop Clyde Harvey of St George’s-in-Grenada, who said Fr Rudy touched many lives and that one should be thankful for that.

Speaking to Catholic News, friend Declan Tam said “I believe he was one of God’s true servants on earth, someone you could go to with any kind of trouble.” This sentiment was echoed by National President of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Rudolph Boneo, who fondly remembered Fr Rudy in his role as spiritual director of the Society.

He said Fr Rudy was committed to regular Masses at the Society and the radio programme on Sundays. “We have fond memories of him as director,” he said, adding that Fr Rudy taught them how to deal with hurricane relief and proper use of gifts donated to the Society.

Peter Telfer and the Mawasi Experience did a special tribute during the liturgy. – EH