Batista – memories of a much admired man of God
Ten years ago today, Norberto Rubén Batista was ordained a District Apostle. Only two years later he passed away suddenly due to heart failure. He was liked and admired by many in the Church in South America. A retrospective.
District Apostle Batista passed away on 29 September 2008. The funeral on 5 October was held by District Apostle Helper Carlos Roberto Granja. He travelled to New York (USA) directly after, where the District Apostles had gathered for a conference. Silence and contemplation descended on the District Apostles as Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber prayed for the bereaved family. On Sunday evening the Chief Apostle boarded a flight for Argentina, where he conducted a memorial service on Wednesday, 15 October 2008 and ordained a new District Apostle.
Norberto Carlos Passuni was designated to succeed the deceased District Apostle. In a very touching and emotional divine service, Chief Apostle Leber assigned the responsibility for the large district, which included Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, to the long-serving Apostle. “We submit ourselves under the will of the Most High, and lovingly and thankfully remember our friend who has passed away, but especially his wife and family,” Chief Apostle Leber had written in a letter to the congregations at the time.
A sad chapter in history
And it really was a sad chapter in the history of the New Apostolic Church in South America. Norberto Batista was loved and admired. He had a sense of humour and was a very friendly person. A pharmacist by profession, he had taken on the tasks of District Apostle with a great deal of enthusiasm and vision. District Apostle Carlos Roberto Granja was his assistant at the time.
Norberto Batista had been ordained a District Apostle following the retirement of his predecessor, Mario Fiore, who by then was 69 years of age. At the time, Mario Fiore— he received his first ministry in 1958 and then went on to become District Apostle on 12 April 1992—wrote about his successor, Norberto Batista, that he had come to know and appreciate him as a kind and loving person, who always acted within the parameters that he had been taught in the house of God.
A circle closes
District Apostle Helper in April 2005. Chief Apostle Richard Fehr, for whom this had been the last overseas trip, had performed this act in Buenos Aires. That Sunday still, Chief Apostle Fehr and the District Apostles in his company boarded a flight for New York (USA), where they were scheduled to conduct further services. And thus the circle closes: in 2005, following Norberto Batista’s appointment as District Apostle Helper, Chief Apostle Fehr flew from Buenos Aires to New York; in 2008, Chief Apostle Leber flew from New York to Buenos Aires, where District Apostle Batista had just passed away.
Only a short chapter in the history of the Church, but an emotional one.
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