A Faithful and Humble Servant of the Lord Fr. Samran Anwer (1988-2020)
By: Fr. Amjad Yousaf
Our heavenly Father called Fr. Samran Anwer to his eternal home at the untimely age of thirty-three on June 06, 2020, while he was serving actively as the Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s Parish Gujranwala, in the Archdiocese of Lahore. I strongly believe, though a man like others, the death of a priest is always felt differently and profoundly. May be what St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, was inspired to say about priesthood, can help us understand this mystery: “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see a priest, think of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And still in the words of St. Ambrose, “He made them (priests), the vicars of his love.”
To my mind, here is the key to understanding the idea that in losing a priest, definitely, we have lost not only a human being but also a vicar of Christ who manifests in a unique way God’s love and mercy, as observed by St. Ambrose. The loss of a priest is also a loss of the unique way a priest exercises his power conferred on him at his ordination, to administer the sacraments because “the power of the priest, is the power of the divine person, for the transubstantiation of the bread requires as much power as the creation of the world,” as St. Bernardine of Siena remarks.
This unique power is exercised by administering the sacraments, preaching his Word, blessing people and places, communicating God’s love and mercy. A Priest is called Alter Christus, or another Christ “a servant of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God’. (1 Cor. 4:1) He is ‘the minister of Christ, an instrument, in the hands of the Divine Redeemer’ (Pius XI, Ad Catholici Sacerdotii). He exemplifies Christ, the High Priest, in a unique and singular way. So, at the passing of Fr. Samran, we have experienced the loss of this particular manifestation and exemplification of Christ as a priest.
I have no doubt that Fr. Samran, at a very young age, followed Our Lord Jesus Christ, who during His earthly life never exercised His power to dominate others but served them in humility and love, understood the Lord’s call to serve the weak and the poor in love and humility. We are certain as many more can bear witness to it, that after his ordination on August 26, 2016, Fr. Samran served the people of God in humility and meekness of heart, as a compassionate and faithful servant in the vineyard of the Lord.
I can still remember meeting Fr. Samran for the first time, a pleasant and enthusiastic young seminarian, a happy and determined youth and one could easily foresee what he would be in the future. While discussing and exchanging ideas on different matters, I found him a person without any pretence, a person who, in humility, accepted his limitations and believed in gradual self-improvement. After his priestly ordination, he kept the same spirit to live his priestly life in humility, serving the people of God. My conviction is that his love for the sacraments and great devotion to Mother Mary always helped him to be an authentic vicar of God’s love here on earth among his brethren.
Dear Fr. Samran, we all miss you but at the same time strongly believe that now you enjoy the fellowship with the saints, in unending union with God and Blessed Virgin Mary. Rest in peace, my dear brother and pray for us all. Amen.
(The writer is the Editor in “The Catholics: Lahore Focus”, a monthly newsletter published from the Archdiocese of Lahore)