ASIA-OCEANIACOLOMBO - Fr. Dalston Forbes, OMI: 1926-2010
On January 21, 2010, former General Councilor for the Asia-Oceania Region, Fr. Dalston FORBES, entered eternal life. He served as a member of the Central Government from 1972 until 1978. Prior to that service, he was the second Rector of the National Seminary in Ampitiya, Sri Lanka.
His funeral Mass took place on January 23 at St. Joseph’s Juniorate Seminary, Kohuwala. Presiding at the Mass was the provincial of the Colombo Province, Fr. Clement WAIDYASAKERA. The homily was preached by Fr. Leopold RATNASEKARA. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo presided at the final prayers of commendation.
A joint message from Fr. Wilhelm STECKLING, Superior General; Fr. Oswald FIRTH, Assistant General; and Fr. Federico LABAGLAY, General Councillor for Asia-Oceania, gives a good summary of the many talents of Father Forbes and the esteem with which he was regarded.
Dear Father Clement,
In Father Dalston Forbes, we have lost a friend and a confrere who has been a source of inspiration and a tower of strength, both to the Congregation at large, when he served as a General Councilor for Asia, and more particularly to Sri Lanka, where he was a wisdom figure especially during moments of national crisis. We recall the important role he played as General Secretary of the Major Religious Superiors Conference in Sri Lanka where he labored to make Vatican II a living reality in the local Church.
He was one of the first Rectors of Our Lady of Lanka National Seminary who was born and bred on Sri Lankan soil. There he was revered as a prophet and a ‘Guru’ of contemporary times. The hundreds of priests and religious who benefitted from his knowledge and wisdom will continue to remember him for the intellectual guidance and spiritual nourishment they drew from this prayerful man of God.
We are aware that Fr. Dalston was a man of many talents and interests. As a philosopher, he was a seeker of the truth. His theological insights were well grounded on the Word of God and teachings of the Church. And living in a country which was till recently riddled with a thirty years war, to which he was always very sensitive, he was a keen political analyst and champion of peace and national harmony. He was a person whom both clergy and laity would consult, trust and listen to. That brotherly and consoling voice will always be remembered by all those who knew him and loved him.
The Congregation which he deeply cherished will miss him and Sri Lanka will feel his absence. But Dalston belongs to the Lord, and the Lord has now called him unto his own with these words: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!”
Adieu dear brother, we shall treasure memories of you in our hearts and our minds.