04 Sep 2017 05:46am IST
Remembering the man of many talents and initiatives, Fr Francisco Xavier da Piedade Rebello, Goa’s first Auxiliary Bishop on his 125th Birth Anniversary
MARGAO: A solemn mass, in remembrance and dedicated to the first Auxiliary Bishop of Goa, Fr Francisco Xavier da Piedade Rebello, fondly known as Bishop Rebello, will be celebrated at Bishop’s Palace, Altinho on Monday morning.
Bishop Rebello was born in Margao on September 4, 1891 and was ordained priest on September 26, 1915 at the historic Rachol Seminary that still produces some of Goa’s finest seminarians and priests.
Having served in Mumbai, which was then under the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, post-liberation, Fr Rebello, who was popular also served under four previous patriarchs. On July 16, 1966 he was named by Pope Paul VI as the Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman.
Bishop Rebello’s desire for hard-work and dedication was evident from the fact that in a short of stint of five years he initiated thirty-three schools and seven colleges under the Diocesan Education Society - institutions that still stand tall even today, educating thousands in Goa.
Despite achieving so much, after taking over at the age of 75, he finally stepped down on June 28, 1972 primarily due to his advanced age.
Bishop Rebello trained under his uncle Fr Ganganelli Rebello and both have roads named after them. While Bishop Rebello has a road outside Ravindra Bhavan in Margao named after him, the parallel road in Modsai was named after his uncle, who guided him and gave him his priestly education at Rachol Seminary.
Before he resigned from priesthood, Bishop Rebello offered his pastoral cross made of gold to Pope Paul VI, as a token of his filial love and devotion to the Holy See of Peter in Rome.
Ironically, his tenure as Bishop was at a difficult time, when Goa had just got liberation and that also earned him the title of being the first Bishop of Goan origin.
After years of dedicated service and sacrifice, he relinquished his position, to be succeeded by Bishop Raul Gonsalves in 1972. He finally bid adieu to Goa and the world and returned to the Lord on July 07 1975.
Known to be loved by all, without many critics, Bishop Rebello is remembered as a practical human being and a great visionary, who aspired to raise the bar of education. Today, his niece Maria Esther Abranches from Verna keeps alive his memories and the memorable work done by Bishop Rebello.
Recently, the street outside the Ravindra Bhavan, named after Bishop Rebello was in the news when an MLA proposed to rename it to Cultural Avenue, unaware of the existing name and history behind it.
Earlier, on July 07, 1976, on the first death anniversary of Bishop Rebello, Margao Municipality Councillor Giotoma Contocco proposed to name the street after Bishop Rebello as the distinguished son of the city and barely two months later, on 13 September 1976, a resolution was passed by the MMC councillors, and Jose Antonio Gomes Coutinho, the then acting Chief Secretary accepted the resolution.
A man of many talents, Bishop Rebello was also known for his innovative initiatives and financial astuteness, when he took decisions at crucial times, including managing the sale of properties in Dhaka, Bangladesh and managing the funds that came for the Archdiocese from Padroado and his subsequent visits to Rome. He was also involved in effectively managing the sale of land to CIBA at Old Goa to fund the Church in Goa during a period of low returns.