Herald: ‘Apostolado do TRABALHO’ true to his charism

‘Apostolado do TRABALHO’ true to his charism

24 Mar 2019 06:08am IST

Report by
Sr. Molly Fernandes sfn

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24 Mar 2019 06:08am IST

Report by
Sr. Molly Fernandes sfn

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All of us are called and chosen for a specific mission and has an exclusive role to play. As actors performing at the workplace, in the field, the kitchen, minus the audience! God the author and director, the omnipresent has his army to take shots and edit them and keeps ready for the release! Called from all eternity, to be anointed and preserved for mission, Fr. Faustino De Souza, took the manifesto of Jesus (“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord”) very seriously, committed himself and set forth for the mission.  

From the onset of undertaking his ministry as a deacon and then as assistant to the parish priest, a Chaplain, and later as a parish priest, he had the joy of having seen the face of Jesus. Of having touched and felt Jesus in the brothers and sisters whom he catered. He made the manifesto of Jesus, “anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed..” a reality. 

What was Duler, at the time when Fr. Faustino went from Guirim on weekends to cater to the needs of the people? Were they not the poor whom Jesus referred to in his manisfesto? The broken-hearted? The captives? The blind? St. Francis Xavier’s Chapel, a haunting place, a jungle with wild animals and the people - the poor anawins. What was the good news he gave, even later as a Chaplain to the people? Was it not healing of wounds and deliverance; liberation and freedom from the clutches of sin and shame? Was it not reviving the culture of life and defeating the plans of the evil one!

How about the then Sancoale of 1934? Anointed and committed to his mission Fr. Faustino was not interested in building the structural church; he was not interested in renovating his parochial! His comforts!! He was least bothered about the facelift of the four walls. His heart and soul was immersed in the saving of souls; in giving life to the hopeless; in rejuvenating the fallen faces. His heart went out to those under the influence of liquor and the victims of the tactics of Satan. His heart moved to the illiterate.

Fr. Faustino’s evangelizing mission was prophetic. He received from the Holy Spirit a special sensitivity for picking up the signs of the times in the Church. He had a prophetic vision of the needs of the Church - one of the needs - Religious - to work in the diocese and intuited how to meet them. Where he not only was successful in bringing back the religious but gave the Diocese its first own religious (congregation) who professed their Vows on 16th June 1935, though canonical erection was cleared, on 3 September, 1947, by the Sacred Roman Congregation it was delayed!) Fr. Faustino with a prophet’s vision knew the ills of society. This made him live his evangelizing mission paying close attention to the signs of the times.

The personal Charism of Fr. Faustino was to ‘make the Master known’. He considered love to be the primary virtue of the missionary of Christ because the apostolic ministry is all an exercise of love. As he said: “Remain in Love and unity”. In him, love was dynamic. It converted into zeal and attained its fullness and perfection. Zeal in him was an ardent and violent love that gave rise to action. This was the same zeal that anointed, guided and motivated Jesus of Nazareth. He was filled with burning zeal, in establishing God’s Kingdom.

Zeal came, from his experience of deep friendship with Christ arising above all from the sacrament of the Eucharist and the long hours he spent before the Blessed Sacrament. Through intimacy with the Son, it opened his eyes and heart to contemplate and discern the evils that beset the Church and society. In his approach to Jesus and in understanding the paths to the world’s salvation, Fr. Faustino drew on the intense presence of Mary. He always contemplated and prayed the fifteen decades of the rosary on his knees; his loving and filial communion with Mary as he interceded through her.

For Faustino, prayer was the primary and greatest way to make the apostolate fruitful which is revealed in his saying: “when you are overburdened with work, pray more”.  His profound humility and obedience was pleasing to God as he instructed the sisters: “obey your superiors whoever they may be”; “humility is the root of all virtues. Be humble and God will be pleased with you”.

On the 44th Death Anniversary, the Holy Family Sisters at Sancoale Reminiscences With Gratitude Their Beloved Founder Fr. Faustino De Souza. The one who won the title of ‘O Apostolado do Trabalho’ – and was published on A VOZ DE S. FRANCISCO XAVIER in 1935 on its 12th June edition. ‘Trabalhadhor’ – a giant worker, was what the then Archbishop Patriarch Dom Jose Alvernaz addressed him. 

He having served the Arch Diocese in Anjuna, Guirim, Duler, Rachol and Sancoale, as a pastor for 56 years, more than a half century!. Among those 56 years, 40 years were as a Parish Priest of Sancoale from where father’s earthly journey came to an end and gracefully returned to the Lord on 26th March 1975, to share in the resurrection of Christ. It was in the late evening of the Wednesday of the Holy Week at 8.30pm. Though his nephew late Dr. Wilfred de Souza tired all the means possible to revive him.

The timing of Fr. Faustino’s death was meaningful. It came to end just before two days before Good Friday. The funeral could not take place because of Holy Tridum. The mortal were brought to the Mother house for public homage and remained in the mother house. Many were moved to tears and large crowd, people from various places came to put a last glimpse and go back being blessed by him. The Easter joy interspersed with the sorrow of parting, at the requiem mass, offered at Sancoale on Easter Sunday. The cortege with father’s mortals, left for Anjuna, to be buried at his birth place.

An incident that took place on Maundy Thursday, the night after Fr. Faustino passed away. The people of the village of Sancoale had a water reservoir where the villagers had decided to gather for fishing on 27th March. Early that morning the news of Father’s death reached to the people and immediately, the villagers cancelled their fishing activity. Then on 28th March, the next day after they received the news, the dead fish was seen floating all over the water reservoir. It was due to the pollution caused by the chemicals from the factory. The poisonous affluent had percolated through. The villagers exclaimed: ‘father saved us! even after his death he keeps protecting”. This made the people of Sancoale, believe that from heaven their beloved Parish Priest would continue to watch, protect and intercede for them. True to his vocation, Fr. Faustino accomplished his Mission – making the Master and His love known through the anointing and commissioning of the Mission!!!
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