The Late Fr. Rehmat Raja OP

A legendary Dominican by the name of Fr. Rehmat Raja OP was born on October 28, 1950 in Okara , Pakistan, professed on December, 08, 1970 and was ordained priest on April 20, 1976. He left for his home to the Lord, on August 05, 2020, at the age of 70 at St. Dominic’s Priory Bahawalpur. The news of his death devastated many of his fans, friends, colleagues, students and Christ’s faithful. He was a lovely friar and a dear friend.
He received primary education form his native village Chak 10/4-L Okara and passed matriculation from St. Thomas High School, Khuspur.He was inspred by fr. Amato Aldino OP(an Italian Missionary to Pakistan ) and he guided him to join the Domincan Order.He lived out his true identity as a joyful, humble, loving, affectionate and faithful servant. As a good shepherd he loved his parishioners scattered in the outskirts of Bahawalpur. Neither severe nor bad weather conditions nor ailing health, nothing could stop his studies, writing and pastoral ministry. He knew his sheep by names and they knew him. He served as a teacher, formator, preacher and administrator in different parts of Pakistan. He spent the biggest part of his life in Bahawalpur as an assistant pastor. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7), was his favorite text.
With the exception of native languages he was well versed in modern languages such as English, French, Italian, Spanish and German. Moreover, he had the knowledge of some ancient languages such as Latin. He had three master degrees (Social Sciences, English and Political Science). With the intellect so informed, he was a gentle soul. He was a rhetoric writer and orator. He knew how to use words to create required effects. He preached in different parts of the country at big occasions. He was the author of 17 books. Moreover he wrote a number of articles in different magazines, journals and periodical (Naqeeb, Shalom, Mukashfa, Acha Charwaha etc.) His writings demonstrate not only his simplicity of heart and mind but also Christ-like humility. As a preacher of mature thought he spoke with conviction and authority.
The soil of Punjab is still fertile and its mothers continue giving birth to sung and unsung saints and heroes. He was an icon of Punjabi culture and communion. He looked at it through the prism of spirituality and mysticism. He was hospitable, loving and caring. He would hardly let any guest go without food and drink. He got a good sense of humor and the children, youth and elderly would enjoy his company. He was a charismatic personality. He had the ability to convince people and to inspire them. He was a fatherly figure to the community. At times when the community ran out of money, he never complained. He always thought about the common good. He was a great champion of social justice. Apart from many other traits, he became voice of the voiceless especially the marginalized, exploited, suppressed and the abused. He loved the youth. He spent a lot energy and effort to organize the youth.
He was a great devotee of Mother Mary. He would recite the Rosary every day. He preached at various Marian conventions in Pakistan. He was an outstanding teacher and researcher. He loved studies and used to study 4 hours a day. He was in love with St. Dominic. He used to say, it is crucial for a Dominican to study at least 4 hours a day. His marvelous writings and solid preaching indicate , how assiduous he was.
Until he breathed his last Fr. Rehmat Raja OP believed and abided by the traditions of the Church and of the Order of Preachers. Very often he remembered the death anniversaries of the friars and celebrated masses for them. Therefore, it is a blessing to die as a Dominican because the friars of the Order of Preachers sing Psalm 130 at vespers and pray for the deceased brothers, sisters, relatives and benefactors.
On August 05, 2020, while the community at St. Dominic’s Priory observed a day of prayer in preparation for the feast of St. Dominic, Fr. Rehmat Raja OP breathed his last. His funeral mass was celebrated on the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord at St. Dominic’s Church Bahawalpur. The Bishop of the Diocese of Faisalabad, His Excellency Bishop Indrias Rehmat, presided over the mass while the Bishop of the Diocese of Multan, His Excellency Bishop Benny Mario Travas and the Prior Vice Provincial, Ibn-e-Mariam Vice Province Pakistan, V. Rev. Fr. Younas Shahzad OP, along with more than fifty priests concelebrated. Hundreds of the faithful, many religious and relatives attended the funeral mass.
V. Rev. Fr. Younas Shahzad OP in his homily paid a rich tribute to the deceased and described him as an exceptional person and dedicated friar. The late Fr. Rehmat Raja OP was laid to rest beside Fr. Hyacinth Putz OP, in the cemetery at Bhatta number two, Bahawalpur. The funeral mass received a huge media Ra