Padre Chico:  A Tribute to a friend

by Rudy D'souza

It was indeed a privilege to have known Padre Chico during the first fifteen years of his life and to be counted as one of his friends.  He belonged to what we say is the 'Old School'.  A gentleman to the core, the likes of which the world is in need of but which sadly is dying out.  There are many good qualities this man had, but I would like to touch upon only a few.

Short in stature, he had an iron will and eyes of steel.  Yet these very eyes melted when he looked down with love on all with whom he came in contact with.  He was deeply convinced of what he said.  He had the courage of his convictions and did not mind differing with people, even though he would get on their wrong side, because he was a man of principles and never compromised specially in matters of faith and morals.  For this reason there were a few who misunderstood this man of God.  He was never malicious and if he felt that he had hurt someone, he was the first to make his peace with him.

There were times when he was ignored and even maligned, yet he never held any grudge against the person concerned, but tried to see their point of view and made an effort to be extra good to that particular person.  There were times when he was forced to lose his temper with people when correcting them, but his temper never lingered on, for the purpose of his temper was to show his disapproval of the wrong done and nothing more.

He was spontaneous in his appreciation and would applaud at any event, be it a good move in football or any other sport, a good speech and even when listening to music or looking at a TV serial.  He would clap like a child to show his approval and say "Bravo".

Accounts were not his cup of tea, be it in dealing with money or in doing good deeds, and he gave freely with his head.  He placed everything above monetary matters.  He knew that in the eyes of God, for the old priests under his care, what mattered most was love and dedication which he gave freely and selflessly for which their hearts are filled with gratitude.

He was overjoyed to meet people and had a constant smile on his face.  The name of Jesus was always on his lips.  He invoked his name when he wanted to praise the Lord, when he was happy and also in trouble.  It was this name he called upon when he was dying"JEZU MHAKA PAV, JEZU MHAKA VHOR was his final prayer and when he said those words five times his "Jesu" did come to take him to his eternal reward.  The likes of him we will never see again.

          Padre Chico was to the inmates of the Clergy Home what Mother Theresa is to the inmates of "Nirmal Hriday" of Calcutta.  To him success was not measured in power or for tune or fame.  His was a life of service to others.  Always demanding the best of himself, living with honour, devoting his talents and gifts for the benefit of others, these were the measures of success which he cherished.  His life's motto can be summed up as ,'TO LOVE AND TO SERVE".

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