by Dr. Carmo Azavedo

          Francisco Monteiro was a lineal descendant of Jose and Maria-Helena Monteiro who were honoured with a "brazao"(coat of arms) by the Portuguese King Dom Joao VI in 1802. He  himself was conferred the title of Monsignor by Pope Pius XII in 1957 but he cared little for such honours, preferring to be called simply Father Chico or rather Padre Chico . He suffered a lot on account of his political ideas, maintaining that he was a Portuguese citizen, even after Liberation, refusing to quit Goa or report to the police as a foreigner every six months, particularly when on losing his case first a lower court and then Judicial Commissioner's Court, even with a Queen's Counsel sent by Salazar, all the way from London, to defend him. He was first imprisoned in the Aguada jail and then transferred to Patiala. But this suffering did not at all embitter him.

           Eventually allowed to return to Goa through the Holy See's intervention, he had to vegetate for a dozen years or so, confined to the four walls of his palatial mansion in Candolim, without being able to hold any official position. Eventually rehabilitated and appointed Director of the Clergy Home started at Alto de Porvorim in 1967. He worked tirelessly for the well-being of the aged and disabled priests entrusted to his care and took his work so much to heart, frequently coming to the Goa Medical College or Menezes Polyclinic in Panjim or Remanso Hospital in Mapusa with them for first aid or in emergency cases.
It was after having rushed by motorbike under the scorching sun to bring a doctor to attend to another priest in distress that he himself collapsed from a massive heart attack.

           A true and dedicated friend, he never allowed ideas, political as well as religious, different from his own, to come in the way of his friendship, and even though I bitterly criticised him for his stand on the citizenship issue as a journalist, he remained on the most friendly terms with me, even when his friends and my enemies tried to create bad blood among us.

           Perhaps a bit old fashioned in the context of the innovations brought about by the Vatican Council II, he stuck to the traditional Roman collar, always donning an immaculately white cassock.

           In these few lines I pay my humble and heartfelt tributes to this exemplary and devout priest, a dedicated social worker and above all a truly good man, overflowing with the milk of human kindness.

Dr. Azavedo, now in his 80s, has been a prolific writer for decades on Goa’s history and related issues. He is considered as Goa’s grand old historian.  -Dr. Eddie D'Sa 

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