Monday, 30 December 2013

Sermon on St. Francis Xavier and Feast of the Province of Mumbai by Fr. Tony

The “Feast of the province  “in the past chiefly focused on the exemplary life of the patron saint (of Mumbai), St. Francis Xavier ,seen as a missionary model for imitation .Traditionally ,it was also a day of Gratitude and appreciation of the person and performance of the provincial superior and therefore a celebration centered around an individual ,hence ,Provincial Day or at the Local level ,Rectors day .Now that this official annual celebration has been termed “province community day “ is there any shift of emphasis or significant t change in the understanding of this particular festivity in our present Salesian context? I should think so.

I believe the provincial community day more often, a provincial community evening is not a mere social ritual celebration restricted to a devout Eucharistic liturgy and a sumptuous dinner fellowship, in the provincial house or any one community of the province .Rather, in post Vatican terms, it is the theological understanding and experiencing the Call to be and live in community which is rooted in the divine Community of God ,the Holy Trinity . It is in fact first and foremost, a spiritual fellowship.

The Provincial Community day may be a considered an annual “community building exercise “fostering a genuine oneness of heart and mind among the confreres of the province .May I observe that the “Province “is not only a legal term to demarcate territorial boundaries .To be a member of the Salesian congregation , we enter through the canonical doors of a province. Our belonging is always registered through the process of selection, admission and profession in a province .In the congregation we all are members of a provincial community.
It is important to know that we “belong” to any local community of formation or where we exercise our assigned ministry .Our loyalty to the congregation is expressed through our deep sense of belonging to the province .In fact; a confrere needs official permission and motivating reasons to shift from one province to another. This principle is vital to the healthy life of the provincial community and must be clearly explains to novices and young Salesians .Recalling this principle by jour senior Salesian is perhaps even more important .Polarization and disintegration of the provincial community takes place when confreres develops a greater belonging to local community that belongs to the province.

Most important requirement is our initial formation particularly, is to learn to live a happy and committed Religious Salesian life as a good community person. What does that mean: It means:
ü T o have a strong sense of belonging to the province
ü Not as guest , a stranger , a boarder worst still as a prisoner
ü But as one called by God to belong to a religious family /community

To belong means to feel at home:
ü In a  communion with God as mystics of the spirit
ü In a community with leaders who are servants of the young
ü In a community of Prophets of fraternity , I bonded in mission
ü In a vowed commitment to obedience poverty and chastity for the sake of the Salesian Mission                                                                                                                               
To be a community in Mission consecrated to God by the evangelical Counsels means to live:
ü A life of Obedience , not servile but enriched with dialogue and willing cooperation
ü A life of poverty not sunk in penury but lived with joy of sharing our whole life ;
ü A life of chastity not closed in on itself, but steeped in a selfless and unconditional love. 
To be a community of the beatitudes means to be:
ü Acceptable and accepted by others
ü Forgiving and patient with each other
ü Mutually supportive and trustfully loyal to each other in the community 

Celebrating our province day honouring our patron should also make us attentive to the missionary stirrings in our Salesian vocation. Rather than extol the missionary zeal of St.Francis Xavier and describe his evangelical shift from, an eminent professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne University to a wandering proclaimer with unquenchable zeal for the Kingdom, I choose instead to briefly reflect on the criteria for discernment of a Salesian missionary Vocation .

Criteria for discernment of Salesian missionary vocation Ad Gentes, Ad Exteros, Ad Vitam
       I.            Persons involved in the discernment process at (4 )various levels 
1.     The Candidate: evaluation ,accompaniment by a spiritual guide ,of the confessor
2.     The community where the confreres lives : Rector ,formators
3.     The provincial and his council
4.     The general Councilor for the missions   

     II.            General criteria vocational discernment
Three essential aspects :(1)Right intention (2)Free decision (3)necessary qualities according to Vatican ii(Ad Gentes 25)the suitability of the necessary virtues if the missionary ,other than the specific lay , religious or priestly vocation, are the following :
1.      A certain moral strength to overcome difficulties of the mission ;
2.     Patience ,understanding, humility ,charity in order to discover authentic values in other religions :L
3.     Supernatural spirit to make mission more than something merely philanthropic and social  ;
4.     A clear witness and a sign of witness to all non –believers ;
5.     Communion and obedience in the common apostolate, under the guidance of the local bishop.
In our Salesian experience in general, we distinguish four fundamental qualities on order to start a serious discernment of Salesian missionary vocation:
1.     Spirit of faith and rootedness in Christ , because the missionary must proclaim Christ ;
2.     Capacity for community life , because normally on e will be a part of an intercultural community;
3.     Capacity for self-emptying (kenosis)and sacrifice , because his is a ;life of gratuitous service ;
4.     Robust personality, good health, with the capacity to learn languages.

  III.            Counter indications of the missionary vocation ad Gentes
A.    The search for adventure and simple desire to change the pace where one works;
B.     Urged on by third person; parents, confreres, friends…
C.     Escape from one’s own relational, personal and vocational problems…
D.    It is to be absolutely avoided sending a confrere missionary who has problems fitting into the ordinary community life in his province of origin. Once sent to another culture, he will normally find more demanding environment, which would not be helpful in solving his problems.
  IV.            Insufficient elements
1)    It is not enough to be a good confrere and a good Salesian; the missionary vocation is a new call not common to every Salesian in the congregation.
2)    It is not enough to have some vague wish to work for the poor youngsters in the poor setting ….
3)    It is not enough just to be enthusiastic about the missions, since this may not last long if this does not mature by developing concrete attitudes
    V.            Specific criteria for discernment ( for the candidate , rector and th council )
ü Good health , human maturity , and psychological balance
ü Relational capacity , sense of responsibility in th mission , community , community –oriented person
ü Capacity to adapt to adapt to the local and the Salesian culture ,to the culture different from one’s own
ü Personal prayer life a life centered on the Eucharist
ü Respect for others(lay mission partners ,the young ),for the different cultures ,religions
ü Commitment to the new country and culture and culture ad vitam ,leaving everything for the kingdom.

May Jesus Christ missionary of the Father at this Eucharist, through his body and blood nourish our Salesian vocation transforming is into genuine community minded and zealous missionaries and may Mary foster in us a deep sense of belonging to God and the congregation for the greater glory of God and the salvation of youth ,especially the poor       

Monday, 11 November 2013

Missionary Week at Divyadaan, Nashik

In view of the Salesian Mission Day (SMD)2014, the community of Divyadaan celebrated the Missionary Week from 4th November to 9th November. The traditional Salesian Mission Day (11th November) was anticipated due to the celebration of the community day. The Missionary group of Divyadaan helped the community with variety of prayer services focus on the missionary zeal in the community.
The Missionary week began with the Holy Eucharist on 4th November. Fr. Savio D’Souza, the Rector, preached on the theme of the Mission Day – “We are the Others”, sharing Christ’s love with the migrants. He explained the different aspects of the migrants all over the world and how Don Bosco himself was a migrant during his boyhood and Christ who came as a migrant to the world leaving his heavenly abode. The inaugural prayer service put the community to be oriented towards the missionary dimension of the Salesian apostolate.
On 5th. Nov. a short documentary on the Salesian mission in Angola from the Missions department made the community meditate on the need of Salesian mission around the globe.  The Holy Mass was presided over by Rev Fr Paul Olphindro SDB, the Vice Provincial of Silchar Province who spoke about the nature of Salesian Missionary as the one who is with Jesus, Don Bosco and the people of the missions. The community was blessed with the visit of Fr. Fabio Attard SDB, the General Councilor for Youth Apostolate. His presence and talks added more fuel to the fervour of the missionary week.
Keeping up the theme and the message of the SMD, a Missionary Rosary was dedicated for the migrants from each continent. The Missionary Rosary was designed by Archbishop Fulton J Sheen in 1951 that dedicates each decade for a continent.
There was also a conference on New Evangelization from a veteran Salesian Missionary of Africa, Rev. Fr. Tony D’Souza SDB, who is the confessor of Divyadaan. He urged the young Salesians to give attention to the faith formation in the ministry. He also shared his mission experience in Africa and the evangelization in the different counties in Africa.
An adoration service was also conducted to thank the Almighty for the missionaries who worked in this sub-continent and also for the missionary vocations from different parts of the country especially for the missionary aspirants, pre-novices and novices.

A week of mission orientation in this post-novitiate community culminated with the concluding Eucharist in the morning and in the evening with the prayer service. During the concluding prayer service a video on the theme ‘We are the Others’ from the mission department was screened along with the prayer for the Mission Day. All the brothers appreciated the programme of the missionary week  and found it both informative and inspiring .   

Saturday, 9 November 2013

We are the Others

From a ‘Sleepy eye’ to a ‘Roving eye’ to make a difference:
A reflection:  we are the others

From the life of Mother Teresa we glean this incident of Christian love.
“On her rounds in the neighborhood she came upon an old lady who was very sick and consequently always in a bad mood. She lived alone in a small room under a staircase in a very pitiful condition. When Mother Teresa first came to meet her she was greeted by the ire of the old woman. However she stuck on. All she did was light a candle in the dark room and sit in silence by the side of the old woman. She did this daily. Even when she couldn’t come she would send two sisters who would tidy up the place and light a lamp in the dark room.”
This is what I mean of moving from a ‘sleepy eye’ to a ‘roving eye’. A sleepy eye is a congenital disease which is progressive and results in losing sight in that eye. You end up seeing or noticing nothing. On other hand a ‘roving eye’ is a term first used for pirates on the high seas. With their telescopes the scanned the horizon never missing a detail, taking in everything not being selective.
If I were to extrapolate this ‘sleepy eye’ and ‘roving eye’ to our lives, with a little  introspection we would realize what we ‘see’ and pay attention to has its affirmation in our basic attitude.
We would be like ‘Dives’ of the Gospel. The rich man who never noticed Lazarus the destitute outside his house, or we could be a surveyor who takes heart-moving pictures, makes statistics of the poor in the world and end up with an award for himself. Can we make a difference? Can we be courageous to act?
Let us not be those who take a panoramic view of structures but zoom in close to people’s lives. Look into the favelas of Brazil, the ghettos of the U.S., the barrios of Cuba, the bastis of India.
This year’s theme for the Mission is “WE ARE THE OTHERS”, to increase our awareness of migrants. It aims at making us realize that we too are wayfarers in the journey of life. That what problems migrants face are synonymous to our own problems. The problems such as displacement due to war, unemployment, social ostracization, even ethnic violence are some that cause people to leave their homeland. Sometimes we deem to turn a blind eye to all that happens with the feeling that it is another’s job to fulfill. It is not ours to demand justice and equal rights for them. We may feel ‘who are we?’
 Yet the moment we realize that we are the others equity or egalitarianism will not be a criteria instead they will be the outcome or consequence. The ideal that will permeate will be the “Golden Rule”. With charity at its very substratum which grows form a humility where we don’t put ourselves down but we uphold  the need to go out and help. A famous quote speaks thus, “A Christian must not stand at the threshold of the door waiting to be invited, but must go out and be like yeast whose very presence permeates justice, truth, and charity.
Yet how would this be. It would only come to pass if we NOTICED, SAW AND DECIDED TO ACT, thus the analogy of the ‘sleepy eye’ and the ‘roving eye’. Jacque Derrida would say to spur us into doing something for another it take ‘madness’ at the moment of the ‘decision’ a madness that disregards all absolutes and make a choice to do something for another. Although this is his own bent of thought I would like to juxtapose it with something I read in Teresio Bosco’s biography of Don Bosco.“The undivided heart that does not know half measures, faces the challenges of reality, and transforms human patience into Christian impatience. To the timorous promptings of ‘Common Sense’ it answers with enthusiasm. The saints have common sense, and lots of it, but we always notice it afterwards (post factum) their behaviour looks like madness, but is instead a great act of faith in God and in human beings not a passive faith awaiting everything from heaven, but a faith springing from vision and from adventure, a faith that goes on the offensive. Don Bosco was animated by this kind of faith rooted in love.”  Hence the need to reach out to those in needs thinking as if they were our own.
Thus we would have to keep our eyes open and be courageous to help, come what may. Jesus said ‘give without counting the cost.’ In today’s jargon I reckon it would be ‘cost effectiveness’. He said if someone asks you your coat give your shirt as well. But then we would think that this would make the other rich and myself poor. However have you thought of it that the person edified by your generosity in turn gave away your coat (now his) to one more impoverished than himself and thus you’ve helped not one but two persons. Your roving eye made a difference. Just like Mother Teresa when she made a difference in that old lady’s life, by lighting a candle in that dark room every day. She had lit the candle of hope in the heart of that destitute lady.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness, for in sharing its flame with another candle the brightness is not halved but doubled.
Cl. Nathaneal

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Inaugural Prayer Service - Missionary Week 2013


Hymn: This is My Commandment ...

11 November 1875 is a great milestone in the Salesian congregation. The first band of missionary Salesians were bid farewell in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, Turin. The small step taken before 133 years towards one country in sowing the seed of faith made the same seed to be rooted in 135 countries. This great day in the congregation is commemorated as the Salesian Mission Day. “The radical witness of leaving one’s own country and culture for the sake of the gospel and the young is our best image of Don Bosco today.” Blessed by the Father with the grace to give especially to the young, we the Sons of Don Bosco in India are the first beneficiaries of the Salesian Mission who are entrusted with the ‘seeds of reviving’ the missionary spirit in every confrere, every member of the Salesian Family. May this missionary week in our community fill us with the zeal that our early missionaries possessed.
Praising the Lord:
 Response:   We praise You, Lord, for Your glory.
1.      Almighty God, we praise You for You are our creator.
2.      All powerful God, we praise You for Your enduring love.
3.      Abba Father, we bless You for Your faithfulness throughout ages.
4.      Merciful Lord, we praise You for Your everlasting word.
5.      Gracious Lord, we bless You for Your prophets and missionaries.

Reading from the Biographical Memoris Vol.XI, 358 -360. (1st Missionary Expedition)
            Sending missionaries to the various parts of the world was an uppermost thought of Don Bosco in founding the congregation.  He himself wanted to become a missionary. The missionary love of our father, Don Bosco this year prompts us to open our hearts to the care of migrants in our societies, our vicinities, our institutions etc. And in ‘sharing’ Christ’s love with migrants, the Salesian mission day invites us to proclaim to the rest of our brethren the theme, ‘We are the Others’. Don Bosco was a migrant; at the Moglia Farm, he was a farmhand. As a tailor and an attendant at the bar, he was a migrant at study. Away from home, in the city of Turin, he was a migratory among his little lost migrants themselves. In the same way Our Blessed Lord was also a migrant who left his Heavenly abode and came into the world as one among us. Thus the Salesian Mission Day, 2014 with its special focus on the migrants and the Salesian Mission in Europe is an open invitation for all of us to identify ourselves with the others of little hope.
Hymn: I give my hands… 
Response: Make us Your Instruments O Lord.
         We pray to God our father, author of every plan of holiness, that He may point us the path to holiness He has chosen for us.
         Grant the Missionaries courage and forbearance in the moments of difficulties and turmoil that they may gain strength when they are weak through Your guiding hand in their mission land serving Your people.
         We beseech you for the migrant youth around the globe and the missionaries who are involved in the apostolate for the migrants.
         As we are geared up towards the bicentenary birth of Don Bosco we pray for our congregation that the charism of Our father and founder, St. John Bosco may be carried to the ends of the earth by the salesian missionaries.
         Through this missionary week we pray that the zeal for the mission may make us effective in our apostolate and our in everyday life.
Our Father…

Concluding Prayer:
O God, the source of everything that is good, by giving the ardent missionaries You direct us in the path to salvation through your servants especially through the missionaries. Enlighten the missionaries to sow the faith once again with the same enthusiasm in the hearts of all Christians. May we too find this special vocation in our apostolate. We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ Amen.  

Missionary Anthem to Conclude: Be My Witnesses.


In view of the Salesian Mission Day 2014 with the theme "We are the Others", the community of Divyadaan has geared up with the Missionary Week from 4th November to 9th November with different activites. Fr. Savio D'Souza, the Rector begun the missionary week with the holy Eucharist.

Saturday, 2 November 2013


“Admiration leads to imitation” – this phrase is relevant in my missionary life in Africa. The source of my admiration rather inspiration to be a missionary in the large continent was Rev. Fr. Tony D’Souza SDB, who led the Province of Mumbai and also of the Province of East Africa as Superior In-Charge and then Provincial. He was able to see in me a missionary in the vast continent where he once served. His persuasion and my admiration for him made me to imitate him as an African Missionary. The missionary expedition was set and my journey to Africa came true. My mission was assigned to the place in South Sudan, Juba, as it is called now.
To give a brief narration of the situation, once the largest country in Africa, what we knew as Sudan are now two independent republics, Sudan and South Sudan. They remain a microcosm of the larger African experience offering a diversity of geography, histories, cultures, livelihoods, religions, and languages. Sites of both horrific hostilities and extraordinary peace making, the two Sudans continue to compel their citizens, neighbors and the international community to consider fundamental questions of nation-building, governance, justice and peace. Sudan has experienced through two rounds of devastating civil war since 1955, which have undermined the institutions of governance and various infrastructures. An estimated 2 million people are believed to have died in the fighting or as a result of conflict-induced famine. Around 4 million people were displaced from their homes. Both Sudanese Government forces and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) stand accused of serious human rights violations. However, Sudan brought to an end the second civil war in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A (Sudan’s People Liberation Movement/Army). Since then Sudan and South Sudan have been engaged in the effort to reconstruct the economy and governance institutions.

Knowing the story, we travelled from Juba, to Wau either by UNICEF or military planes. The only possible means was military aircraft because of the threat from the rebels. Yet, travelling in a military craft itself could not give guarantee for the safe landing and so we were asked to acknowledge that we take the risk willingly by signing a document.

Dei gratia, our journey was safe in reaching the military aerodrome. Now, to reach our destiny, we had to join the local people in a small truck. The indigenous people were happy to see a new ‘Abuna’ (means priest in their language). From Wau to Tonj where we had our mission station was about 100 km or it seemed so as there were no roads and one had to find the beaten path through the forest.

Journey in the middle of the thick African forest was not a smooth-sail but was a joyful experience with the simple people. Unfortunately it did not last long. The truck stopped all of a sudden on account of machine gun fire all around us, when we looked out we were surrounded by rebels or a mob of robbers. Along with the fear my heart felt sorry for the young who supposed to have pen, had gun in hand. They certainly seemed trigger-happy youngsters, ready to pull the trigger any time. My prayer was, ‘Dear Lord, I have come to be a missionary and I will die even before becoming one.’ Fr. James SDB, who had been guiding us, was able to converse with the gang leader in Dinka the local dialect and they left us. But the trauma within me was unforgettable. I even questioned whether my missionary life was going to an end before I could begin. The rough delinquents were respectful to the priests and they neither did harm nor rob our belongings. I was happy that my collection for the missionary works was spared.

The tough journey was over as we reached our mission centre. The place was in middle of a forest and our mission was to serve the people affected with leprosy and the wages of war battered and bruised by gun fire or mines that had blown up much of their limbs. The rectory was a small room of tin sheets. As we were tried of the journey we went to sleep. Heavy bombarding of shells broke the midnight silence. I could see through my window the fire flares of bullets crisscrossing out in the open sky.

I went to sleep for the night but woke up on account of the continuous sound of gunfire and bombing. I slid on my knees to pray asking God to protect me and keep me safe. My companion on the other bed, was amused that I was on my knees and said, are you afraid, Godfrey, to which I said, it is ok for you, tomorrow you leave me and go back. I have to stay for the coming years. I need God’s help in this situation.

Amidst the humpty number of difficulties the consolation is the love and affection of the people. For the people we, the priests and religious, are God’s gift. To be the signs and bearers of God’s love through the mission for these people make us be assured of the right way of fulfilling God’s will for us.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Nathaniel Hawthorne's the 'great stone face' elaborates on an age old theme. People await the coming of the wise one who will lead them and bring an era of prosperity. In the story the people sought this 'ray of hope' in one whose physiognomy bore a marked resemblance to a rock formation. However, in a stunning turn of events quite contrary to the general feeling of an outsider taking the reigns of administration, 'Ernest' a common villager around whom the story revolves turns out to be the prophesied one.
'No prophet is accepted in his own country', says Jesus.To me a 'prophet' in today's jargon would be a missionary. Hence in one's perennial desire for a dynamic pastor one looks out to the horizon. As the old adage goes the 'grass is greener on the other side'. No wonder we would welcome an outsider in great pomp while the one who is among us we push to obscurity.
There was once a great feast in the village. The village leader declare that the feast being a community affair everyone was to contribute a minimum of one glass of wine to provide for the night's festivities. One miserly villager debated that if he put a glass of water into the barrel it wouldn't make a difference to the quantity of wine that would be there at the feast later that day, imagine the consternation of the chieftain when turned on the faucet of the wine barrel and out came water.
I fear this too may be our predicament if we don't 'pull up our socks', because Jesus commissioned us to go out and proclaim and not to await the Good News. Hence, we can gain inspiration from a quote by Zig Ziglar on our line of action, "If it is to be it is up to ME".

Nathaneal George.SDB

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

As the cardinals gather for the conclave in Rome which will begin tomorrow, it is but right that we as Catholics and seminarians, and moreover, as members of the missionary group offer them our prayerful support. The church as we know is under attack from various corners. In theses trying times the leaders of the church greatly need our prayers. Let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to be present with the Church through her powerful intercession. Let us also pray that the perennial presence of the Holy Spirit as promised by Christ may strengthen the church so as to be a credible witness of Jesus to the world of today.

Don Bosco tells his Salesians, “No efforts should be spared when the church and the papacy are at stake.” As missionaries, our mission is to be at the service of the church. Right now the church needs us. Let us support our mother Church by our prayers.

Nazarius Kharkongor.sdb.

Friday, 8 March 2013

In today's consumeristic world the society tells us to be tough for might is always right. But as today's gospel portrays it, can we accept our faults and still be strong.
Ronald Vaz.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Fr. Mauro Casarotti S.D.B. (1917 – 2007)
The second of two sons, Fr. Mauro Casarotti was born on 17th May, 1917 at Casalbuttano, Cremona, Italy to Carlo Casarotti and Maria Generali. He lost his mother when he was barely a year and a half and was brought up by his aunt. His elder brother Romolo became a diocesan priest and was present at the canonization of Don Bosco. He brought home 2 volumes of the life of Don Bosco which the young Mauro read earnestly. Having just completed his studies to be a school teacher, he decided to give his life to Don Bosco as a missionary. He joined the Salesian missionary aspirantate at Ivrea and was later asked to go to Japan, but God had other plans for him. Two Salesians who were chosen to go to India felt sick and when the aspirant Mauro was approached to be their substitute, he jumped at the offer, not knowing the difference between India and Japan.
Fr. Mauro Casarotti, fondly known as ‘Fr. Casa’ lived with and learnt from Salesians who had actually lived with Don Bosco and he knew the Salesian spirit well and having a deep love for Don Bosco he attached great value to his own Salesian vocation. The Salesianity he picked up rubbed on to others especially those who came in touch with him. In Don Bosco’s time, a boy would think that Don Bosco loves him more than others, and in a similar tone, the pupils of Fr. Casa felt personally, the love and concern of a genuine father. He was truly a Salesian at heart who knew his father Don Bosco well and would recall several unpublished episodes in the life of Don Bosco which he heard from his superiors. He was not a static old timer of a Salesian, having attended the Special General Chapter in 1971, which called for a rethinking of Salesian dynamics, he had the ability to reflect on Salesian Spirituality and apply it in his own times. This wealth of Salesianity he imbibed he passed on to others especially during his years as formator. He was wont to say to young Salesians, “Once a Salesian, always a Salesian” and at other times, “Be a good Salesian, or no Salesian at all, Sempre con Don Bosco, always with Don Bosco”. Being a community man, he was dutifully present at community moments of prayer and was concerned about everyone in a very personal way, be they confreres or boys.
Fr. Casa often called himself a ‘failed missionary’. In his own words, “My original dream was to work in the Indian missions, riding on horseback with a bucket of water, baptizing people. But that was not to be”. However he loved India, the land of his adoption, as is seen in his decision to opt for an Indian citizenship in 1953 and his love for local vocations the fruit of which was his buying of the land in 1957 at Lonavla, a house which was to groom local youngsters for the Salesian life. He also picked up a fair bit of Tamil and Hindi. His pioneering and missionary heart saw him at the helm as leader in various capacities. He served the congregation as provincial of three different provinces, Calcutta, Gauhati and Bombay; and as Rector at Matunga, Yercaud, Lonavla, Panjim and Poona.
At a more personal level, he was deeply sensitive and emotional, discreet and kind. He was easily hurt by certain misgivings he saw and the comments he heard. However he was very fatherly especially to young Salesians. It is said that whenever he came to know that some young Salesians had arrived, he would leave his room, seek them out, and give them a warm embrace that was characteristic of him. He was deeply saddened at the misdoings of young Salesians, but would charitably forgive them saying, “after all, they are youngsters”. In his heart they knew that there was room for each of them.
As a confessor, he was a wonderful minister of God’s mercy. He was one who could easily empathize with a person’s problem and he sometimes seemed more moved than the penitent himself. One his penitent (now a Salesian priest) testifies, “He really meant a lot to me, one of the few confessors I was comfortable with. He was the incarnation of God’s compassionate and forgiving love. He would consolingly say, ‘remember you are a human being, angels are only in heaven”. Being aware of his own weaknesses, he was a confessor who dealt with his penitents at a very human level.
The Province of Bombay is indebted to Fr. Casa for his work of propaganda especially at the Shrine office at Matunga. He looked after the Italian correspondence during the later years of his life. Italian benefactors were often overwhelmed and touched by his warm and personal letters. He was a channel of Divine Providence. Having few wants himself, he would often be upset at unnecessary wastage and excesses by confreres. But having a large heart, he kept himself from corrections of this kind and suffered silently.
During the evening of his life, he became hard of hearing and would often spend his time in silent recollection and prayer. Bishop Valerian D’Souza called him a “wonderful fruit of the Salesian society”. Being a faithful son of Don Bosco whom he loved all his life, he breathed his last on 20th July, 2007. Aged 90, and having spent 68 years in India. A man so human and holy.
What we can take from the life of Fr. Casa, is his humanness, his gentle and kind ways and his deep love for Don Bosco. Having gone through trying times himself, let us remember his words in moments of uncertainty and doubt, “We are in GOD’S HANDS, and they are GOOD HANDS”.