A Great Soul

by Fr S.J. da Piedade 

I was dumbfounded when at about 1.30 p.m., on Oct 29,  I learned of the sudden demise of our beloved Director, Fr Chico Monteiro.  For seven years, I had benefited and all my companions of the Clergy Home of his constant service and of his joyous company, always with his smiling face. 

I can say without exaggeration that he was giving himself all for all in order to win them to God.  Such was the mission of Fr Chico and it should be the mission of every minister of God.

 Two persons who bear much fruit today and whom we greatly admire are Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  No matter how busy they are or how many important persons they have to see, they make sure that they spend time with the most important person of all:  JESUS.  I witnessed sometimes Fr. Chico at about twelve o'clock at night---in dead silence, praying in the chapel before the Blessed Sacrament.  Once, I asked him, "Father director, how many hours at night do you pray and how many hours do you sleep? He smiled and kept quiet.  His distinctive quality was charity.  We know that God will demand in the last judgment an account of the practice of the works of mercy and nothing more.  Fr Chico used to dress and wash the wounds of patients and even to give them bath.

          In the last seven years, there were some funerals in this Clergy Home and Fr Chico within a short time had to make all burial arrangements running to Panjim and Mapusa, sometimes without food.  He was following the advice of our Lord given to a privileged soul:  "In your prayers, give first place to the people who do you wrong, those for whom you feel dislike, those who do not please you, your merit will be doubled and will pre-dispose your heart to pardon and charity."

          He had, what is essential, a happy death.  And how can one be otherwise?  It seems that God allowed him a sudden death in order that we all, may be ready any time by prayer and vigilance to enjoy eternal happiness.

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