Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Remembering the deceased

Today, the 1st of February, immediately after the day we celebrate the feast of Don Bosco, we Salesians commemorate the memory of our deceased confreres.  We remember with gratitude and pray for those gone before us who, in their lifetime, added to the charism of Don Bosco and made the Salesian work more dynamic, meaningful and contextual.

And in the morning the first names that I remembered were that of Fr John Lens, Fr Ronald Menezes and surprisingly, Fr Mauro Casarotti.  Fr Lens is someone whom I knew since my childhood.  He was in the school where I studied, then when I was an aspirant, he was my rector and then all the subsequent years, while he was in the novitiate, I kept in touch with him.  Initially through letters and then in person.  Never knew anyone as down-to-earth as him.  His joyful and perfect detachment from all material things was amazing... made it look so simple.  Also liked his simple way of interacting with anyone, just anyone!

Fr Ronny, was my rector during my one year stay at Don Bosco School, Matunga.  I was a studying media and communications and he was of great help and inspiration.  I liked him for his straight-forward attitude and simplicity of life.  He also had a good way of relating to people and making everyone feel comfortable and good about themselves.

Fr Casa, was someone I first met while studying M.Ph. in Nashik. He used to come from Mumbai and spend a few days with us, helping out as the confessor.  Around him it was all fun and laughter.  He was the heart of any gathering and corridor talk.  In spite of the fact that in the early days he was provincial of two diverse provinces (Mumbai and Guwahati), he carried himself with such simplicity that a casual interaction would mislead one to think of him as a simple 'old man'. Later too while at Matunga, I would meet him often, and he was the same. Still at that ripe old age, he would be consistent with his work in the propaganda office.  Always kind, gentle, smiling and friendly.  He loved people.  One always felt comfortable being oneself with him. He had no pretensions and neither did anyone feel like putting on a mask in his presence. 

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