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Fifty Years Of Dedicated Service

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

A few days ago I wrote about Fr John Cajetan Felix D’Silva, who celebrated his Silver Jubilee as a priest. Let me now tell pay tribute to our three Golden Jubilarians – Fr. Almir de Sousa, Fr. Thomas de Sousa and Fr. Casimiro D’Mello – who were ordained priests in December 1960, and celebrated their 50 golden years of service to God and His people in December 2010.

Rev. Fr. José Isidoro Almir Mérulo de Sousa from Grande Morod, Saligao is the son of Ripon Caetano de Sousa and Maria Conceição Albertina Vás. He was born in Saligao on 17th January 1934 and baptised in the church of Mae de Deus on 2nd February in the same year.

He concluded his theological course through Rachol Seminary in 1960 and was ordained priest by Patriarch  D. José Vieira Alvernaz on 18th December 1960 in the chapel of the Seminary of Our Lady, Saligao-Pilerne. He celebrated his first mass in Saligao Church on 28th December 1960.

Fr. Almir’s Appointments:

  • 1960-61: Prefect of Discipline at Saligao-Pilerne Seminary.
  • In 1963 he was sent to Rome for further studies where he got his Doctorate in Dogmatic Theology. He also attended the Catechetical-Pastoral Course at Lumen Vitae in Belgium, and in 1979 he did a refresher course in Biblical Theology.
  • Through Portaria No. 27-69 of 7th March 1969, he was appointed member Secretary of the newly formed Diocesan Centre, Old Goa.
  • He headed the Liturgical Committee in the centenary year of the Mae de Deus Church (1873-1973), in 1972-1973.
  • 1974-80: Professor of Pastoral Institute, St. Pius X, Old Goa and Secretary of the Diocesan Catechetical Centre.
  • 1980-89: Parish Priest of Santo Estevam, where he put into practice many new ideas such as the new method of Catechesis, Small Christian Communities, Parish Pastoral Council,etc, and started the Parish bulletin named Santo Estevamchi Zap.
  • In 1984 he represented the Diocesan Clergy in the Pastoral Council and was also representative of Panjim and Piedade Deaneries for the Vocation Commission for Diocesan Clergy of the Archdiocese of Goa & Daman.
  • November 1985: In-charge of the coordinating committee of the organisation of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Goa from February 5-7.
  • Member of the Priests’ Senate and Representative of Parish Priests in the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
  • 1989-93: Transferred as Vicar of Verna Church and also appointed Dean of Verna Deanery for a period of three years. Started Basic Christian Communities, Parish bulletin, Parish Council, etc.
  • 1993-94: Professor of Pastoral Institute, St. Pius X Institute, Old Goa, and Secretary of the Diocesan Commission for Liturgy as well as President of the Diocesan Commission for Biblical Apostolate.
  • 1994-2001: Director of the Pastoral Institute St. Pius X, and also ex-officio Member of the Priestly Council. He was appointed Coordinator of the Committee in charge of the preparation and organisation of the Episcopal ordination of the new Bishop Filipe Neri Ferrão.
  • He is the President of the Diocesan Commission for Liturgy.
  • 2001-10: Appointed Parish Priest of St. Elizabeth’s Parish, Ucassaim.
  • 2010- : He is authorized to reside at the priests’ residence of Holy Cross Church/Shrine and to assist the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Bethlehem Parish, Bambolim.

Fr Almir celebrated 50 years of Ordination with Holy Eucharist on 28th December 2010. The Mass  was followed by a get-together at Lourdes Convent High School Hall. The toast on this occasion was raised by Dr. Rufino  Monteiro from Santo Estevam.

Fr. Almir is also a good preacher and prolific writer. He wrote in Aitarachem Vachop, Don Bosco, Panjim from 1953, and in Renovação, Vauradeancho Ixtt, Rotti, Anuário do Seminário Patriarchal de Rachol, Rays, Porzol, etc. He has also written various catechetical books widely used in the archdiocese of Goa & Daman, contributed homilies in Amcho Sevadhorm, and published a booklet on the Rosary at the time of the death anniversary of his mother.

Among the books authored by Fr Almir are:

  • Tumchea Bhurgeanchem Povitr Snan (1997)
  • Amcheam Somudaiamnim Utor ani Jivit (1997)
  • Amcheam Somudaiamnin Utor ani Jivit-1 – Matev (2000)
  • Amcheam Somudaiamnim Utor ani Jivit-2 – Marku (2002)
  • Sasvot Adharache Maiek Noven ani Nhov Budvar (2002)
  • Magnneacho Turo-1 – Ghorabeank Soiro ( 2003)
  • Magnneacho Turo-2 – Vattsureank  Sangati (2003)
  • Magnneacho Turo-3 – Piddestank Ilaz (2003)
  • Magnneacho Turo-4 – Dukhestank Buzvonn (2003)
  • Somiachem Jevonn (2003)
  • Magnneacho Turo-5 (2004)
  • Amcheam Somudaiamnim Utor ani Jivit-3 – Luk ( 2004)
  • Amcheam Somudaiamnim Utor ani Jivit-4 – Juanv (2007)
  • Magnneacho Turo-6 – Emausache Vatter Utracho Uzvadd (2007)
  • Magnneancho Turo-7 – Ie. Povitr Atmea (2007)
  • Mis: Bhavarthacho Somorombh ani Jivitacho Maz (2008)
  • 50 Magnneacho Turo (2010)

Fr Almir is the recipient of the “Thomas Stephens Konkani Kendra Konkani Dharmik Sahitya” award for 2009, as well as the V. Ixtt award at Pilar.

References:

‘Maiecho Ulo’, Mae de Deus Church Bulletin, Saligao, January 2011; Arquivo Paco Patriarcal; Arquivo Paroquial da Igreja de Saligao; Archive of Pastoral Institute, St. Pius X , Old Goa; Renovacao.

=========================================

Rev Fr. Thomas Justus R. J. de Sousa from Demelovaddo in Saligao is the son of (late) Eustace de Sousa and Lucy Maria de Sousa. He was born in Karachi on 21st December 1932.

He joined the Seminary of St. Pius X at Goregaon in Bombay and concluded his theological course in December 1960. He was ordained sub-deacon on 19th December 1960 and Deacon on 20th December 1960 with demissorial from D. José Vieira Alvernaz, Patriarch of Goa & Daman, and ordained priest (with demissorial) by Valerian Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, on 21st December 1960. He celebrated his first Mass in Bombay in December 1960 and then in Saligao in May 1961.

Fr Thomas’s Appointments:

  • 1961-62: Curate at Chorao and teacher of  Sao Bartolomeu School, Chorao.
  • 1962-64: Curate of Socorro.
  • 1964-65: Curate of Bicholim.
  • 1965-71: Chaplain of Gauncavaddo (Siolim) and the Religious of Holy Cross Convent, Siolim.
  • 1971-72: Executive Administrator of the Cathedral Chapter properties, Quepem (Deão de Quepem)
  • 1972: Chaplain of Mitras de Caranzalem.
  • Nominated Ecclesiastical Assistant of the Catholic Student of the University (Unit CSU).
  • Assistant to the Procurator of the Archdiocese at Paço Patriarcal.
  • 1984-86: Parish Priest of Tropa de Siolim (Soddiem).
  • 1986-90: Parish Priest of Assonora.
  • 1990-97: Parish Priest of Pomburpa. Appointed Dean of Aldona Deanery . Principal of St. Elizabeth High School, Pomburpa.
  • 1997-2003: Parish Priest of St. John the Evangelist Church.
  • 2003-06: Parish Priest of Batim. Relieved of the said post at his request for reasons of health.

Fr Thomas now resides at Demelovaddo in Saligao. He celebrated his Golden Jubilee of Ordination on 31st December 2010, with Mass at Lourdes Convent Chapel followed by a reception in the same convent school.

He has been chosen as Member of the Council of Priests of the Archdiocese of Goa & Daman for four separate terms. He compiled the First Directory of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman in English, in 1971. Fr Thomas is a prolific writer. He has written a number of articles in Renovação (Goa) and The Examiner (Mumbai).As Dean he compiled the maps of the various parishes of his deanery. He was in the service of the Diocesan Society of Education, Panjim, from 1971-77 and was also a member of the National Advisory Council of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India from 1981-84).

References:

Arquivo Paroquial da Igreja de Saligao; Renovcao; Arquivo Paco Patriarchal, Panjim; R. D’Souza, O Heraldo, Saturday 8th January, 2011, pg 4 ; Maicho Ulo, Parish Bulletin,Saligao Church, January, 2011, pg.11)

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Rev. Fr. Casimiro D’Mello from Sonarbhat in Saligao is the son of Silvestre Manuel António D’ Mello and Maria Aurora Athaide. He was born in Saligo on 31st October1932. Having concluded his studies at St. Joseph High School in Arpora, he joined the Bombay Seminary in Parel in 1952 and was ordained in the new Chapel of St. Pius X Seminary at Goregaon on 21st December-12-1960 by Valerian Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay.

He was Assistant at Rosary Church, Mazagaon and was appointed as Acting Editor of Udentichem Noketr, the Konkani Diocesan weekly. In 1964 Fr Casimiro was transferred as Curate to St. Francis Xavier Church, Dabul, and in 1965 he was sent as Assistant to Our Lady of Dolours Church, Sonapur. He also worked as Assistant Editor of Udntichem Noketr till its extinction. Its Editor was Fr. Marcelino Remedios another Saligaokar.

In 1970 he was transferred to Sacred Heart Church, Santa Cruz (Bombay). Here he worked for 13 years, concentrating on the less privileged members of the parish (and of other faiths) who lived in shanties, and helping them in improving their living conditions.

In 1983 he was nominated as Assistant  to St. Anthony’s Church, Vakola, and remained there for 10 years. Finally he was transferred to Victoria Church, Mahim, again as Assistant, where he stayed on for another 10 years. He retired at the age of 73, after putting in 45 years of dedicated service for the Archdiocese of Bombay. At present he is residing in Saligao at his sister’s place, the late Mrs. Ida Figueiredo of Donvaddo. Fr Casimiro continues to celebrate Mass every day, at St Anne’s Chapel nearby.

Fr. Casimiro has always had great love for the Konkani language and has left no stone unturned to help anyone desirous of publishing books in Konkani. Despite knowing the difficulties involved he sacrified his time and meagre earnings to ensure that Konkani publications saw the light of day.Two such books that Fr. Casimiro published were written by Professor Joaquim António Fernandes – Konkanni Nad Xastr (How to write Konkani in Roman Script) and Goenchem Xettkamot (Farming in Goa). These two books were used in the seminaries of Bombay and Goa to teach reading  and writing in Konkani. He also supported other similar publications financially, and has been a strong voice in the propagation of Konkani literature.

His social concerns and work amongst the downtrodden – Christian or otherwise – in the various parishes that he was based in over the years, remained largely unsung. However, in recognition of his  work, the Maharashtra Government appointed him Special Executive Magistrate(SEM). Any poor person who knocked at his door never returned empty-handed.

Fr. Casimiro D’Mello’s has always been a benefactor of the village of Saligao, the Saligao Church, and and its various causes. The Goan Review”, Mumbai’s only Konkani-English family mazagine, had named Fr Casimiro “Man of the Year” in 2001.

References:

Arquivo Paroquial da Igreja de Saligao; The Examiner, Bombay, 1964; Maecho Ulo, Parish Bulletin of  Mae Deus Church, Saligao, Goa, January 2011, pg. 11; The Goan Review, Vol 22 No. 1, Mumbai, January- February 2011, pg.30.

3 comments on Fifty Years Of Dedicated Service

  • Maria Quiteria Fernandes

    Thanks Father for the write-up on our beloved priests and the valuable work done by them. I had the previledge of being taught by Rev. Fr. Casmiro D’Mello when he was at Our Lady of Dolours Church, Sonapur. He taught me Maths and was excellent at teaching Geometry. I am sure all students (passed out in 1969) from Our Lady of Dolours High School, Sonapur will always remember father for his strictness which instilled a lot of good values in us. While I am now working in the Gulf I will try to visit father when I go on vacation to Goa.

  • fr.nascimento mascarenhas

    Dear Maria Quitéria,
    It was indeed nice to know that Fr. Casimiro D’Mello was your Maths teacher at Our Lady of Dolours, Sonapur and that he instilled a lot of good values in you and others. Praise God ! He is now in Saligao in Donvaddo. God bless you.
    fr. nascimento mascarenhas

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