2013-01-08 04:55:53 UTC
Fernando do Rego <fernandodorego at yahoo.com>
pens a tribute to his brother Fr. Vasco do
Rego, SJ, on the latter's 88th birthday,
today, January 8, 2013.
Do you remember what happened on January 8, 1924? As per our
Goan traditions, three packets of crackers were strung
together and set alight by our father near the breadfruit
tree given to our brother Joao Filipe by our grandfather
Roque Correia Afonso on August 24, 1915. Why? Because
another son had been born and he was baptized Vasco Jose de
Santa Filomena do Rego.
I remember that evening of November 21, 1953: our
mother was fully conscious that she was about to be
called back by the Lord. At her request , Fr.
Giuseppe Moja s.d.b. gave her the sacraments in
full consciousness. Then she started blessing each
of us and she told our father, "A blessing to my
Renato... a blessing to my Vasco." He was in Paris
and you in Eegenhoven, Belgium. As a witness of
those unforgettable moments, I send that blessing
to you again... And when one day, when I went to
Eegenhoven, your friend Fr. Delcuve s.j., was in
the garden awaiting me and praying with the Bhagwad
Gita in French!
And when our father died, Mana Celestial wrote after her
return to Bombay: ?I can't forget those moments, when the
four sons carried the coffin of our father: two priests and
two laymen" and as I sat in the van, Fr. George de Sa s.j.
approached and told me, "Fernando! Congratulations!! Both
of your parents are in the Paradise." In fact our whole
family is in the Paradise and I joined all of them to pray
for you when you complete 88! And send to you the most
What have you done along these years? I would need 88 pages
to relate! But I will restrict to some important facts of
At the moment, you are in the Ishaprema Niketan (the Home of
Divine Love) founded by the Late Mataji Nirmala, who herself
is today in Paradise, which was also the departing point for
our brother Joao Filipe when his daughter Helena (now Aruna
Tai) was by his side. More can be read about this in an
article in Portuguese and English written by a visitor, our
friend Pedro Mascarenhas and the orphans who grew there have
reached as far as Sweden.
For 16 years, you were the Rector of the Bom Jesus
Basilica and many VIPs visited like Indira Gandhi,
Margaret Thatcher, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre
Trudeau, President Mario Soares, the Russian and
Indian cosmonauts and even Pope John Paul II...
And now you are carrying forward an initiative of Fr.
Valerian Gracias (later, Cardinal) in Karachi, the Dor
Mhoineachi Rotti (The Monthly Bread), the same Fr. Gracias
who blessed our sister Celestial's marriage to Gilbert
Saldanha on April 14, 1941 and ordained as a priest our
brother Renato on the January 12, 1947 at the Church of
Navelim, after which he celebrated his First Mass on the
January 19, 1947, his birthday!
Your apostolate was not restricted to Church and chapels; you
were a big friend of people of other faith like Ramachondr
Naik, Bakibab Borcar, Manohar Sardessai. Bakibab raised the
toast for our wedding on October 17, 1965 (this was perhaps
the first time that a Hindu raised the toast at a Catholic
marriage, and our cousin Joaquim CA was our best-man and our
nieces Marina and Carmen Saldanha, the bridesmaids), and
again for our silver wedding, Manohar had a poem and Jose
Velho Pereira entertained with music.
You went to Lisbon at the invitation of Fr. Jose Bacelar sj
to deliver a talk in the Universidade Catolica and at the
invitation of Dr. Sergio Mascarenhas, you delivered a
lecture at the Fundacao Oriente, not far from our home, and
you were also there at the centenary celebrations of our
neighbour and friend Aleixo Manuel da Costa.
I recall you went with me to the Xavier Centre, founded by
our friend Dr.Teotonio Sousa, for a lecture by Fr. Rudi
Heredia SJ some months back and returned in the car of our
friends Majid and Naz Siddiqui, he a Muslim nd she a Parsi.
Can we forget the great gift to the Church of Goa that was
given by our uncle Pedro Correia Afonso, the very first
President of the Konknni Basha Mandal when he translated into
our mother tongue, the Psalms, till the last days of his life
and then left to you to finalise the Stotram?
Incidentally, it might be worth also recalling here that our
grandparents Roque and Claudina Correia Afonso had seven
priests amongst their 52 grandchildren: Aleixo & Paulo
Cordeiro (one an apostle in Lisboa and the other in Bombay),
Jacinto Pelegrino da Costa (a missionary in Cabo Verde), the
brothers Roque Correia Afonso and John Correia Afonso (both
Jesuits), Renato and Vasco (the first a secular, and you? A
Jesuit!) the only one with us to continue his apostolate at
this time. And two of almost same age: Fernando CA, a great
friend of mine, today no longer with us, and me waiting for
my chance! He was one of the many lawyers in our family and
me an agriculturist like his son Pedro and his grandsons
Joaquim CA and Tony CA.
And how many doctors? I remember just these: Mario Cordeiro,
Claudio Rocha Pinto, Cesar Rocha Pinto, Joao Filipe do Rego,
and Mimi do Rego (Silveira), Claudina Ca Po, Ines Maria Po...
Our family roots are in Aldona from our father's
side and in Benaulim from our maternal side. What
is Benaulim? I quote our friend the late Bernardo
Pinto Pereira in his Lagrima de Saudade (Pg 40):
"Essa aldeia minha, nasceu assim Batizada com o um
nome lindo: Benaulim com muitos tontos e loucos
Talves mais loucos do que tontos." (This village
where I was born and baptized, with a lovely name
Benaulim has many fools and madmen....)
At 88, I feel you are neither *tonto* nor *loucos*. Am I
right? The old saying states: "Si cum Jesuites... cum Jesu
non ites." (If you go with Jesus don't go with the Jesuites.)
May Ignatius Loyola forgive me, because I myself owe much to
the Jesuits, from the time when I was in the St. Mary's High
School (Byculla-Bombay) and at the famous St. Xavier's
College (Bombay), and to you.
I close with our prayers & good wishes for your apostolate
Amchi porbim tuka... Parabens a Voce... Happy Birthday...
Joyeux anniversaire... Mog assundi Fernando. Those who wish
to convey their wishes (in Konkanni, English, Portuguese,
French, Marathi & Hindi) directly to Fr. Vasco do Rego s.j.
you can contact him on vascodorego at gmail.com or phone +91 020 635 3363.
Fernando do Rego is a senior citizen, based at 143,
Fontainhas, Panjim 403001 Goa. Ph +91-832-2226353
An earlier recording of Fr Rego and his work on Konkani
Konkani audio: http://archive.org/details/FrVascoRego
Goanet Reader is edited by Frederick Noronha fn at goa-india.org