REMEMBERING FR. CHICO MONTEIRO . . .
A Tribute by A.X.E. Gomes
Reminiscing my earlier days at the age of 13 as an intern of Lar de Estudantes, I rejoice to remember the tiny yet eloquent frame of Pe. Chico Monteiro. From 1959 to 1962, I was lucky to have a formation period filled with moral values, lovingly sowed and watered through the watchful smiling face of Fr Chico at Lar de Estudantes.
Three years at Lar were just an overnight sojourn considering the length of my living now at 54 years, and yet I do remember every moment of that life orbiting around Fr Chico as nucleus, shaping up all the aspects of my life, from studies to sports , from reprimands out of childhood pranks to corrective measures for a value based character. It was Fr Chico, Fr Chico all around us during those days for about 100 interns. The old building of the Lar was not sufficient so he single-handedly started building a new one - the present edifice which portrays volumes of his hard work as a testimony. We used to see him on top of the roof slab scaffolding, battering the hot sun with a "Khaki" helmet, penetrating his eagle eyes into the crevices where the cement mix was being poured. One could see his agility, directing the masons or surveying the construction drawings. As we look now at the plaque cemented at the entrance of the Lar, in his honour, only those of the yesteryears know the sweat that he poured amidst toils and tribulations to erect this modest building of the Lar de Estudantes. He attempted to make more than a house - a home.
During my first days of joining the Lar, Fr Chico spotted me as a future football goal-keeper, more for reflexes, when accidentally I saved a penalty shot. From then, it was training and training all the way, personally supervising directly on the football ground. He was a coach par excellence, stopping the game during training session at every wrong move only to improve and imbibe the skills into the blood stream of the incumbents. He created a football team called Brazil which won many a laurel to the Lar and through the team-mates imparted sporting values to the society at large.
Fr Chico was my true mentor of the highest order. If I did anything