Brother Ronald F. Drahozal
Brother Ronald F. Drahozal, CSC (Congregation of Holy Cross) died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, at Dujarie House, Holy Cross Village, Notre Dame, Ind. He was 80 years old.
Brother Ronald was born Nov. 14, 1937, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of Frank G. Drahozal and Mary L. (Pisney) Drahozal. He graduated from St. Ludmila Grade School (1951) and St. Wenceslaus High School (1955). After one year at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, he answered the call to dedicate his life to the work of the Brothers of Holy Cross. He took his final vows in 1958. He graduated from St. Edwards University, Austin, Texas in 1961 and was assigned in 1962 as a missionary in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). There he began teaching at St. Gregory's School, but became aware of a massive drug addiction problem with the adults and children in the country.
In 1988, Brother Ronald opened BARACA, the first drug rehabilitation facility in Bangladesh. It began as a three story house in Dhaka with about 100 patients. More space was soon required, so a halfway house was added.
In 1994, after leaving BARACA, he opened the APON Rehabilitation Center. This grew into a large three building facility outside of Dhaka, consisting of a male dormitory, a female dormitory and a vocational training building. The site was called APONGAON (APON Village). Again the patients numbered more than 100 and with an additional 40 to 60 young boys, grades one through five, included as students.
Brother Ronald's rehab program was patterned after the twelve-step program used by Narcotics Anonymous and proved to be very successful. He has been invited to speak at many drug-rehab seminars in East Asia, the Philippines, Italy and the United States.
Most of the cadre at APONGAON are former rehabilitated patients. It is estimated that as many as 3,900 people have gone through the program, with many becoming successful businessmen and family parents.
In recognition of his work, the Bangladeshi government gave several awards to Brother Ronald including his two most cherished, a "HERO OF BANGLADESH MEDAL" and dual-citizenship of Bangladesh.
In early 2018, Brother Ronald's age and health forced him into retirement at the Brothers of Holy Cross Columba Hall in South Bend, Ind. His next move was to return to the heavenly Father he had depended on during his life's work.
Brother Ronald was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his brothers, Robert (Norine Wenthold), John (Sharon Strang) and Donald; and his sister, Lori (Donald) Neblung; several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Services will be Monday, Oct. 22 in the Dujarie House chapel with viewing from 9:30 a.m., funeral Mass at 11 a.m. (EDT), and burial in the Brothers of Holy Cross Cemetery. A memorial celebration of Brother Ronald's life will be held in Cedar Rapids, details to be determined.