Pio Esteves tracks the selflessness that was the hallmark of Fr da Cruz's service to mankind for several decades
Fr Nuno da Cruz, a diocesan priest of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, hails from Cavorim, Chandor. He was ordained a priest in 1955 by the then Patriarch, Dom Jose Viera Alvernaz at the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa.
On October 2, 2015 Fr Nuno celebrated the diamond jubilee of his priestly ordination and is presently enjoying his sunset years of his priestly life in the Clergy Home, Margao.
Soon after being ordained a priest, Fr Nuno’s pastoral services rendered in various parishes and institutions include his dedicated and selfless work in churches and seminaries. His first appointment came in 1956 when he was appointed at Our Lady of Snows parish church, Raia in Salcete taluka.
Within six months, Fr Nuno was appointed prefect at the Minor Seminary of Our Lady, Saligao, in Bardez. His next appointment followed as an assistant to the parish priest of Our Lady Mother of God parish church, Saligao.
After dedicated service in the parish for four years (1957-61), Fr Nuno was appointed as the director of discipline in the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, where he continued for almost seven years (1961-68). “Ït was a challenging and equally enjoyable task to be a role model for many aspiring to be priests and many have been groomed for priesthood,” he says with pride in his heart.
Fr Nuno’s next posting came as a chaplain of Our Lady of the Consolation of the Persecuted Chapel at Tropa, Siolim in Bardez taluka. After three years, despite all odds, he elevated the chapel and raised it to the status of a church and continued there as the parish priest for two years.
Noting his zeal and enthusiasm, besides his extra-ordinary qualities, Fr Nuno was appointed the parish priest of St Francis Xavier Church, Korgao, Pernem and continued his services there for five years.
As a parish priest, Fr Nuno’s eight years of service (1978-86) is also traced at St Bartholomeu’s parish church at Chorao, in Tiswadi taluka. From Chorao, he was appointed as the parish priest of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception parish church at Moira, where he was also appointed as the manager of St Francis Xavier High School, Moira.
Fr Nuno remained in Moira for seven years. In 1986, he was given an additional charge as the parochial administrator of the neighbouring parish church of Bom Jesus, Nachinola.
From Moira, Fr Nuno was transferred to St Anne’s Parish church, Parra, where he served the faithful for another seven years. “Then a request followed to the Archbishop that services could be continued by remaining in the parish as ‘Priest on the Staff’, he revealed.
The first parish which was given to Fr Nuno was the Parish of Holy Cross, Santa Cruz. He continued his services there for almost eight years ((2000-2008). The next posting followed as an Óficio to be at the Holy Cross parish church of Verna, where he served as ‘Priest on the Staff’ for four years.
In 2012 Fr Nuno was asked to stay at Sts Philip and James Parish Church in Cortalim, where he served for a period of four months. It was his last parish, after which he retired from active service and chose to remain in the Clergy Home at Porvorim for three years (2012-2015).
At present, Fr Nuno is enjoying his sunset years of his priestly life at Clergy Home in Margao and continues helping people in various needs.
“During priestly duties at Corgao,”recalls Fr Nuno, “ït was more of innovation and promotion of vocations to priesthood and religious life, besides patronizing Indian music in Liturgy”.
Fr Nuno as a pastor was not only interested of his Catholic folk, but took keen interest in visiting the wards of Hindus and Muslims. One of his greatest achievements in Corgao was the plan to construct a new cemetery close to the parish church as the existing one was far and people had difficulty to visit the grave of their relatives.
Fr Nuno’s humble request to Gurunath Desai and the Hindu landlord’s willingness to donate land speaks about his approach, will power and motivation to do something good for his sheep.
After parishioners were trained to play tabla, petti, ghumot in the liturgical celebration and for the first time Indian music was adapted in various services, the Hindu community was enthused to hear Indian music and it gave rise to a more closer cooperation and collaboration of all socio-cultural activities in Corgao.
Besides being a man of inter-religious dialogue, Fr Nuno was also a promoter of vocations and due to his initiative, Corgao had its first Diocesan priest, followed by many youngsters joining priesthood at a later stage of life.
Be it in the field of education or in services at the parish level, Fr Nuno has always taken a step forward, working towards the growth and development of those entrusted to his care and guidance.