Fr. The Spiritual Host



My dad, Jacinto, was orphaned at Nivim in Carona-Aldona while barely four months old, when his mother succumbed to the epidemic which ravaged Goa in 1917. Circumstances forced him at 6 years to explore Mumbai and fend for himself in an adult world.

At 14, he ventured into a business partnership at Bangalore which ended in a fiasco. Four years later he sailed to Kuwait and was docked with KOC for 32 years, where he retired at 50.

My mother Maria Magdalena, being the eldest among her siblings, was solely responsible for all the outdoor farming activities with her father. She matured and was groomed in management, while her father took care of all the related matters pertaining to the household, village, and Church.

While my father was foresightful, my mother was insightful. He took risks while she stabilised matters.


A prized opportunity was at his beck and call to enhance his status through a loaded proposal in marriage, but my father was enamoured with my mother and preferred her to all other wealth in silver and gold. In love, he sacrificed and readily risked facing the consequences. My mother too had many offers but accepted and reciprocated the love that my father had for her notwithstanding the sacrifice involved.

Challenges faced.

My family had to put up with all kinds of ostracism, harassment, rejection, and taunts. For nearly 20 years my elder brother and sister had to face the worst consequences of it till the birth of my younger brother who changed the situation simply by his lively and exploring nature.

Though the negative experiences were not welcoming at the human level, yet they contained an inner formative dynamism at the spiritual level as inspired and evoked by the values of Jesus. It is true that convictions get formed through such negative experiences and here’s one of them, "God brings good out of evil." This entire experience in some way could have prepared me and my sister to respond to God’s call to religious life.


Miraculous Birth

After giving birth to her second child my mother experienced certain complications which made it difficult for her to bear children. After 10 years, on August 8, 1956 my coming into this world was a one in a million chance despite my mother undergoing a perforated appendix operation.

That was not all – In 1967, I had a near death experience at the age of 11 after contracting hepatitis and was then reborn and gifted with new life.

Such profound experiences create refreshed scripts which govern one’s thoughts and behaviour. Right through my infancy reliance on providence was instilled through set times of prayer not only by my parents but also by my older siblings. This created in me a desire for God and formed the foundation of my constant communion with Jesus.


Being airlifted from Goa to Kuwait was totally novel in 1960, but this is exactly what my dad desired for my mother and me. Initially it was my fantasy world becoming real. Seeing the little houses, cars and buses moving through the streets of Mumbai and the ships sailing in the sea from up in the air was an exhilarating and fascinating experience. Change of place also brings about change in one’s perception and transforms one’s personality. This experience and studying in Kuwait thus shaped me.


As an altar boy at the age of 7, I wanted to serve at most Masses than any kid could possibly do. In winter as darkness fell earlier, most boys were afraid to venture out, and so I took the chance to serve at the evening Masses as well.

One night was traumatic. To my greatest surprise, the light failed and while returning home, I fell into a long trench full of pipes and water. It was pitch dark and so I sought the Lord and cried out to Him: "Save me, Lord." It was challenging, but eventually I was able to see even in the darkness and with great courage and tact I climbed back to the road and got back home.

Arabian horse races were an experience I desired to have at 8 years. Soon after serving the 8 am Mass, I walked a great distance to the racecourse with an older friend, without informing our parents. Little did we know that the races were beginning late that afternoon. By noon, there was a strong wind and it soon turned into a sandstorm. Hungry, without money, and no water, dried up our spirits, but the races kept us going through it all.

There was a police search because our parents and neighbours suspected kidnap. There was only one person who let the cat out of the bag. The one who was afraid and had refused to come along with us. The search party with relatives, friends, and neighbours finally spotted us at 4 pm. And oh, what a thrashing. My dream was not fulfilled but I did see some beautiful big horses. That was sufficient for all the risk and trouble we took to make our dream somewhat come true.

The return journey in 1964 from Kuwait to Goa via Mumbai was by ship and a terrific event to remember. It took days! And the rocking, though enjoyable, made the stomach churn and throw up. But there was also lots of fun and appreciation from fellow passengers. The transitions were difficult from Mumbai to Goa by ship and from the harbour in Panjim through a big sailboat to my native place Nivim which is in Carona-Aldona and we docked on the banks of the river close to my house.


In mid-December, the village convent school for girls "Rosa Mystica" admitted boys in transit to their primary section. We were four boys in the third standard among the girls. But for most activities -- altar serving, concerts, singing, acting and class picture - I was in the limelight – to a certain extent the hub around which all these activities revolved.

Home to school was a 3-km one-way walk. Like a shoal of fish, a group of youngsters were led in prayer by my sister to and back from school every day. My mother’s custom was to pray the Rosary on our knees after dinner. Despite the resistance, the impression left an indelible mark in my sub-conscience.

The desire to pray was further enhanced in the fourth grade 1965 by a nun who taught in the boy’s school in our village. She encouraged us at break time to visit the chapel. All the kids of our division would race to the chapel and mutter a prayer and then disperse for rest and snacks.

While studying in a boarding school in 1967 run by the Jesuits from Grade 6 to 11, there came an itinerant animator of the Apostleship of prayer, Fr Wenish SJ, who culled a deep impression into my heart on how to relate to God. He spoke about writing letters to Jesus. He said that if one truly repented and asked Jesus’s forgiveness, He would definitely not refuse to clean us up. And to amend one’s life in the future one had to always receive the holy communion daily. It sank into my life over the years. Hence, with no coercion from my mother but on my own I would wake up early morning and walk 2 kms during the holidays just to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion.

While mingling with my school mates, I always spoke to Jesus silently in my heart telling Him that even if I did wrong, I didn’t intend it, but it was only because of peer pressure.


Upon graduating from school in 1973, I felt like a fish out of water, when from my village I had to pursue studies partly walking and partly travelling by bus to college. I could not cope with the situation and decided to take up this challenge my own way. I planned to earn money in Dubai and later study on my own in the US. When would the visa come and when would I leave to initiate my dream was uncertain. In the meantime, I did what I enjoyed. Fishing, exploring, speaking to people in various professions and praying.

To my great amazement, I noticed that a thought began to obsessed me, namely that I should pray at all times. It was months that covered up this prayer journey. Initially, I prayed the simple pious prayers, namely the Our Father and Hail Mary aloud. After realising that one cannot pray continuously the whole day but only for an hour, I gave up the idea in despair. But the thought nagged me again after a while – pray continuously. This time, I prayed those familiar prayers under my breath and not aloud. It had no improved effect. Just an hour, and then, after a good rest I could begin again for another hour. This went on till I realised that it is impossible to pray continuously. A long time elapsed, and the thought plopped up in my consciousness again and started pushing me. This time, I decided that it will be at the breath level that I will pray my familiar prayers. I experienced a half-hour increase in my prayer timing. I decided to pursue this method till I mastered it. But eventually, it did not work the way I thought that it would work. There was again a lull in my praying even at the breath. I was now convinced that it was impossible to pray at all times.

Then came the "eureka" experience when all of a sudden one day I realised that I was gifted to pray at all time the Our Father and Hail Marys in my head without ceasing. I could do all my activities and yet pray. A two-tier level of activity with being fully present to both. It became clear that what the Scriptures say can be accomplished only through begging for God’s grace to be activated in my life. On my own, I can do nothing but with God, nothing is impossible.


While awaiting my visa in 1974 to Dubai, one night in a dream I struggled with a voice telling me that I was meant to be a priest. I just refused to entertain the idea. But I spent three days in prayer, fasting and receiving Holy Communion, to confirm what this was all about. At the end of it, I visited a few Jesuits, whom I knew while studying in the Jesuit boarding school, to gain some clarity about the Jesuit way of life and if it was the place, I would fit in according to God’s plan for me. My plans and God’s plans! What was I really deigned to choose? In my mind, I fixed, which would come first is what I would decide as the future course of life.

On July 5, 1975 I was to leave for the Jesuit Novitiate training at Desur, Belgaum. I reached the next day because the bus in which I was travelling broke down on the ghats. I reached St Paul’s School, Belgaum at 11.30 pm and they accommodated me for the night. Early the next morning, I made my way to Xavier Training College (XTC) by truck because the only bus going to the place had left early in the morning. I had to carry my luggage on my head and trudge a 3-km walk to ecstasy (XTC) to live my life therein for the rest of my life.


Call and Foundation

Scripture tells us that God takes the initiative to accomplish His plans for each one of us. We fit into the greater maze of His plans for the world. All He wants is our cooperation. He keeps preparing us through all the experiences of our being with Him or not. At hindsight, I am convinced that He was preparing me for my calling of what I am to be on planet earth. He was providing me occasions to format me for being in relationship with Him constantly.

On the second day at the initial formation centre called the Novitiate, while assisting Brother Max Demler, I was led through a little pamphlet to unite myself to Jesus at the breath. "Like the branch cannot bear fruit unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. With me in you and you in Me you can bear fruit that will last but apart from me you can do nothing." These words from the Holy Scriptures transformed my life still deeper and made me gradually over the years conform to His ways in me.

Experimenting on this relationship method, I discovered that without saying the word Je-Sus, I began to remain united to His name at every breath in and at every breath out. He was helping me to build on and deepen what He had already evoked in me about praying at all times. By begging for the grace to remain united to Him at every breath, I made my whole day and all the activities a communion with Jesus at each breath. Whenever I was unable to live consciously of Him at the breath, I took it for Him remaining faithful to me at each breath. Jesus is the foundation on which I have grown all these years of my life.

This way of being in communion with Him is not mechanical or an obsessive-compulsive pattern. I have consciously to be at it. When one is gifted to love then all types of risks are possible without counting the cost. The process of loving God with all one’s heart, mind, body and strength and neighbour as oneself had been initiated and it continues in me till the present moment.

New Exposures and Opportunities

Within a year the milieu of the novitiate changed, and this helped me to situate my growth among more novice contenders pursuing the same end, namely "finding God in all things and all things in God.". From Belgaum to Mumbai in 1976 was a welcome transition and a breather to incorporate more experiences. There were plenty of occasions to be challenged and grow steadily in what was begun in me. Every novelty helped in adding new dimensions to what was initiated in me. I was convinced that "God brings good out of evil." It meant that I was open to any happening in my life and that God had permitted it for me to be formed for being the person that I am in Him. Contacts and encounters were galore and very conducive to growth.

After my novitiate in Belgaum and Mumbai I welcomed the move to situate myself in Ahmednagar in 1977 with great openness. Cultural perceptions, language differences, cuisine, customs added so much more to my being present to persons of other outlooks. It drew out the best in me in the measure I gave myself to interact with persons, situations, and incidents. Self-confidence in being my unique self, took shape in me.

At an Ecumenical gathering, groups singing at the college bolstered my ability as a singer for I was singled out from among my companions as impressive. With great zest I learned to play Indian as well as Western musical instruments, and pursued music, singing and conducting choirs in English as well as Marathi for Church liturgical participation.

Several convictions kept singling me out as unique in the group and there were lots of initiatives and lessons that I learnt. At the spiritual level I continued to deepen in the unitive way with Jesus and I integrated all my activities through Him. Foresight and insights were gifts but also inheritances from my parents that helped me also to emerge as a leader capable of structuring effective programmes for groups. Most people, children and adults, found it easy to gel with me, to open up their hearts and share their inner negative and positive experiences. They liked being with me because they went back positive, encouraged, and affirmed in their personality.

Because of my union with Jesus, I was not daunted in sickness or health. There was a consistency of pleasantness which pervaded my being that when I was really sick, the doctors were amazed at the external composure and commended me for it. I had a serious relapse of hepatitis A. Though I was admonished not to appear for my exams in Bhopal, I took the risk to go through it in that difficult situation because it was my final chance to evade the new syllabus which was coming into action the following year. A month was needed to recover in hospital and there was a lot that I learnt from the bed rest. Though I was very young, I was recognized as a good listener and one who united people together. At the end of my recuperation period, I had to make a long lone train journey to Pune and find my way to the new Community at Loyola Hilton in Pashan.

While the rest of my companions were holidaying during the summer, I was gathering together the people who were disheartened by the exodus of Jesuits from the community that had previously created a great impression on them. Right through the two years 1978-80, it was a great experience in being formed as an instrument of the Lord. The people we served acknowledged that I had a pastoral heart and they could confide in me as God’s very presence.

I learnt a lot about life. How encouragement can develop a desired talent even if one is not gifted. That frustration can set in if one focuses on expectations. That consistent long hours of hard work can attain a breakthrough in the area of specialisation. That deeper most loss experienced by a person can be healed through emphatic listening done through union with Jesus. Empathy with those less fortunate can empower one to surrender the opportunities which are for self-gratification. Centering oneself on God through Jesus can be the most exhilarating experience of wholistic growth. Gifts bestowed by God were blooming into talents with every opportunity that came my way. And this was my experience in the two years I spent at Loyola, Pune. With gratitude I willingly moved to a year of language studies in Mumbai.


Within five years in inter-religious mingling, a lot more talents were discovered. There was an ease with which as a Jesuit in 1980 I could organise an event with the least amount of tension. The realisation that all human beings are imbued with the presence of God and the reverence one ought to have for His indwelling in them who are full of talents in an extraordinary way. The experience of God’s providential care when in a train accident we were saved and unharmed.

By then I was naturally other-centred and could communicate non-verbally the sympathetic presence which would help others bond with me and grow into their uniqueness. His presence was deeply inebriated and could be experienced tangibly by others. My joy was in self-giving through Him without seeking any reward, a lesson which my mother had inculcated in me.

I learned to love the other as myself. But I was still raw and discovered that at the deeper most level I was enslaved to expectations. Prayerfully I took risks and God always let me have the experiences which would form me to empathise with others.

While there were many areas in me that I risked growing in 1981, there were also areas in me which I was afraid to explore. There were silly and stupid things I said and did, but God was always good and merciful to me. With this plethora of wonderful experiences of life, I was now ready to philosophise about life and I was sent to Jnana Deepa, Pune for philosophy.


Though the external looks of my long hair and beard were seen by all as impressive, I however felt an inner desire to get back to the normal ways in outward style and appearance when I started philosophising in 1982. Never had I ever memorised, but now a new method was demonstrated at the first lecture and I took up the challenge to implement it when I was selected to play Chanakya in the ancient play Mudrarakhshasa.

Acknowledged as a professional actor, the bar was raised in all the areas of my life. Evil had played its pranks in me, and I was not able to deliver in every field. However, there was no compromise on my priority, namely my relationship with Jesus.

Every afternoon, while others rested, I spent an hour with Him and kept surrendering my limitations and struggles with ego self at the deeper level. I felt that I was in bondage but I was just who I was meant to be.

I was convinced that the first impressions count to cut out one’s image so subtly the evil could keep me bound by it and not allow me to grow in areas which I should actually be growing and making an impression for being used as an instrument for His greater glory.

Though some insights have remained in me, "We cannot step into the river twice," evil can still enslave us and make us live in desolation for the rest of our life. There are dilemmas one has to reconcile with, that while on the one hand one is moving forward, one is actually stuck and moving backwards.

Within two years 1982-84, the time had come to move on from the kind of idealistic to the pragmatic existence at the Regency stage in the formation of evolving into a Jesuit. Here is where one gets the space to practice what one has learnt and live in the reality of a community with all its limitations and foibles.


Not only was I convinced but I also believed that an excellent structure of formation can bring out the best of talents in and among the students. Tremendous self-confidence was built in me through the two years 1984-86 at Dyanmata, Sangamner.

Leadership, structural planning and implementation, deeper presence to the inner abilities of the students, empathy towards the boarders, and many more insightful observances that matured me to move on to the other stage of formation, namely, theologising upon all these God given gifts and talents.

With the demise of my mother, I felt severed from my home, village, and the past. Though I was always away from home from the age of 11, she had kept me rooted in the life and development of the village and my family. From then on, I felt like what Jesus had said, "foxes have hole and birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay His head," a person who has no place to go. Rooting myself in Jesus was the only stability I had to rely on. And with this came the move to theologising on my life experiences.


The new way in of theologising in the context was a pioneering experience for all Jesuit professors and students because the Society had made a paradigm shift. I enjoyed it immensely. The exposure at the weekends to every nook and corner of the Ahmednagar mission filled me with awe at how God had worked through the Jesuits who enculturated themselves in a foreign country and worked for the downtrodden to give them dignity.

I could relate to Jesus’ manifesto of reaching out to those in real need. Convinced persons can influence others to arrive at their own convictions. The best way to learn is to teach. Towards the end of two years 1986-88 of regional theologising, I got the chance to simplify my theology and get a group of religious to reflect on their own God experience.

To my own unitive relationship with Jesus was added many dimensions and aspects from the western and Indian theological perspectives. Enriched with and deepened in what God had initially started, I was able to be present to many who lived a deep spiritual life and were desirous to go deeper still.

Moving to Pune after two years in Nashik was not stepping into the same old city and institutions but seeing anew all things on account of one’s own newness created through reflecting and studying on ones lived realistic experiences.


God had chalked out my path and seen to every detail of my life till the last year of the 14 years before ordination and it was truly a fantastic and marvellous pilgrimage. The Lord’s communion through the years of formation with Him in me and I in Him empowered me to soar as on eagles’ wings.

His presence consumed me and brought in a depth of attitude by which I was able to comprehend reality, persons, events, and relationships in a much wholistic way. Reflecting together at JD in 1988 our regional theology group enhanced my ability to integrate and assimilate the various components of theology and empowered the others in the group to benefit from it.

The assessment of my organisational ability was commendable, for the programmes that were tailored were a great hit. My dad was detected with cancer of the lungs. His death was imminent, and I had to anticipate my ordination March 18, 1989. In faith, these losses were gains for me because I was free to embrace the whole world as family.


From the next day of my ordination, I set 4.30 am as my priority for an hour with Jesus, the Lord of my life and there was no compromise. It set the tone for the day and every undertaking evoked a tangible experience of His presence.

From day one at the St Xavier’s Parish in Pune, five youth awaited my presence and from then on, a number of youth kept pouring into the parish throughout my stay there. Their collaboration made the impossible possible and towards the end of the two years 1989-91, the Bishop of Pune said, "though we will miss you, yet we know that through you, Patricio’s will multiply."

Every activity was studded with the presence of the Lord and the number of activities simply multiplied and increased. The afternoons were formative sessions where opportunities were provided for the youth to learn the guitar, hymns, songs, prayer, typing, games – indoor and outdoor, film appreciation, outings, visit to the home for the aged, and so on. There were varied prospects for in-put sessions on catechism for all levels, Sunday Mass and school in the afternoons, first holy communion and confirmation classes, acolytes, lectors, and leadership training, liturgies, retreats for the youth and school children, in-puts for adults on aspects of the faith and theology, counselling, confessions, and healing prayers and adorations.

The parish was bustling with activities and Church attendance doubled and tripled. The parish priest on his rounds to the homes of the parishioners only heard accolades about the new dynamic and inspiring assistant who was transforming the parish. The two years flew by swiftly and my next appointment was to the formation house in Belgaum Ecstasy, the place where I first started.


My return to XTC in 1991 after 15 years witnessed a totally disorganised, run down place, practically a jungle full of undergrowth and huge trees. As assistant with a small band of novices who were resisting their return to the province, we restarted the novitiate programme earnestly.

For two years, the novices were exposed to as many activities as they could possibly handle, to equip them for their future apostolate and ministry. I considered them lucky because we at our time did not get such vast training as they did at one time on a platter.

During the first six months, I noticed that I was drowsy most of the time. Then I thanked God, for in this way He was healing my burnout which had been caused during the parish activities. This time was also spent in reflecting upon how God had provided me with various experiences to further round up my personality.

Here in XTC, years ago, God had drawn me into intimacy with Jesus at every breath and now it was very deep and rich with many and varied experiences. It was now a time of forming others and I was led to the conviction that structures must be formed which produce the effects in the ones that God has chosen to be instruments for Him to use for His greater glory.

Through a process of discernment, it was agreed that a masters in spirituality in Rome and a masters in pastoral counselling in the US would be suitable training for me to be a director of formation at the end of it.


All activities would always flow from communion with Him, like the branch that cannot bear fruit unless it remains on the vine. The responsibility to get the passport and visa for Rome in 1993, and all other arrangements was laid upon my shoulders. A month’s stopover in Dubai with my brother and his family was a good start to find my way to new cultures, customs and structures. Rome was a great city and I thought of why Goa was called the Rome of the East.

On the first evening, I was able to visit St Peter’s Basilica. The visual illusion gave me a new dimension to think about and apply it to my own perception of things. It may seem naïve, but I just plunged into the Italian culture, customs and language by direct insertion into it. Foolish indeed, but it inspired many who like me had come to study at the Gregorian University. For the first time, I received a confirmation of His presence within me and like St. Ignatius, I could not stop my loud sobbing for the whole day. And with me were all the Italian people who had befriended me and I them. I took great risks and discovered life and the lessons it had to teach me. Not only to the North of Italy, but also travels to Turkey, Switzerland, France, Spain and Portugal made me absorb like a sponge whatever my exposure of these places could evoke in me.

Fond memories linger and keep enriching my perception of reality. Union with Jesus as perceived by Ignatius and his spirituality got embedded in me. Since I had come with the purpose of completing my studies in spirituality in Italy, I was not interested in the requests I received to work in a Jesuit parish. By then I discovered that people enjoyed spending time with me because I was present to them, and they felt understood and healed. With a rich Italian experience from 1993-95, I travelled to the US for studies in pastoral counselling.


Though I had burnt my boats and surrendered to the Lord my dreams, hopes and aspirations of settling in the US, the Lord now gave me a chance to experience my youthful desires. But this time, it involved studying to learn better ways of accompanying others and empowering them to take the reins of life in their hands.

Upon arriving in the US in 1995, the first month that I spent alone, the Catholics who attended the Mass were very good and friendly. They reached out to all my needs and made me feel at home. They helped me get a driving license and accompanied me in driving on the right side. I purchased a second-hand car and drove in the evenings through lonely forest areas to college and returned late in the night. These were new American experiences which I cherish.

I was not accustomed to the American study and exam styles, but I managed to master it in a while. Most felt at home to relate deeply with me. And whenever there were gatherings, someone or the other would easily get very personal and share their innermost experience and get healed.

In the second year 1996, I moved to a Jesuit parish and that too was a great experience. Faxes were sent to the parish priest about the touching experience at Mass over the radio which I would celebrate.

During the summer holidays, I drove to Canada and picked up a number of skills from the Jesuits at their Spirituality Centre at Gulph. I drove a lot in the US and visited many states. Catholic psychiatrists invited me and assured me of their support to stay back and practice in the US. So also, the parishes in Canada requested me to stay back and minister to the Catholics who were in need of priests like me.

I was happy anywhere because Jesus is the same everywhere, however, I chose to be faithful to the mission I was sent for, namely, to broaden my horizon in order to draw out the best in the novices that God wants to use as His instruments.

On my return journey to India in 1997, I made a stopover in Amsterdam. With a Eurail pass I covered practically all the major cities of Europe and saw the famous and interesting sites in each of the places. Since I was fully present to Jesus and in Him to all the places, it was for me a prayerful integration of the world sites in me.

Upon my return to India, I proceeded to Kerala for the final year of Jesuit formation, the tertianship which is the schooling of the heart.


Inculturated? Yes! Several people from various states in India consider me as one of theirs. One among them is Kerala. The tertianship was a great experience of integrating my entire life experiences in my intimate relationship with Jesus.

I became absolutely free internally during the month’s retreat. For the first time in my life towards the penultimate day I could sit in padmasana – the lotus posture for a whole hour. I was exposed to several ashram experiences in Kerala, including the retreat at the Divine Retreat Center which was in its nascent stage.

The practice of the gift of constantly living with the awareness of His presence within me and my presence within Him, became a reality that pervaded my whole being. I was convinced that we are born happy, and we need nothing to be happy. After five years of discovering how to remain open for God’s grace to flow, I was transferred to the novitiate to take over as the director of novices.


My ideal of formation was envisaging the structural pattern which would motivate the novices to give off their hundred percent and, in the process, build up their self-confidence and self-image so that they would be pliable instruments in God’s hands.

This insight pervaded all the activities prescribed by the Society of Jesus to be accomplished during the two years of crucial formation of the novices. The system took care of motivating the newcomers and I inserted new elements which challenged them every six months but made the system stronger. Again, I felt that I had to start the programme all alone. From the novitiate, I began waking up and praying at 4 am.

It was very painful to surrender hundreds of acres of land to the government under land ceiling Acts. But I thought of St Ignatius, who said it would take him 15 minutes to attain his calm if the Society of Jesus was suppressed. There were several maxims which I culled out from my experiences and inculcated them in their outlook and perspective. Namely, "the more you give, the more you can give." The attitude of "attachedly detached and detachedly attached, "creates inner freedom. "To see clearly and respond accurately." That every moment is a new moment and to live fully in the present moment, "you cannot step into the river twice." To live the attitude of surrender - "God has given, God has taken away, praise be the name of the Lord." And "to see God in all things and all things in God."

Having done all things through, with and in Him, I felt a sense of satisfaction, that I gave off my best and that He did all the rest. I sought no reward from anyone, but in the self-giving itself was Jesus who brought lots of peace, joy, enthusiasm, and creativity. After spending these seven golden years 1998 – 2005, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I was ready to move on to form the laity, religious, and priests.


Moving to the Pedro Arrupe Institute (PAI) spirituality centre, which needed to take off and function well, I was instrumental in getting the place prepared for people who wanted to make their recollections, retreats, counsellings and spiritual directions.

An integrated prayer which combined the Jesus prayer at the breath with hattayoga for healing and well-being was implemented and it brought plenty of people to the centre. A live-in retreat during the Easter triduum was another element added to the spirituality centre and it kept growing every year from 2005 - 2009.

A principle which I kept in mind was to welcome a person on their terms when they are ready to come to the centre. People who needed space could find it in the quiet ambience of PAI. A new call to move into the frontier ministry dislodged me from PAI in order to explore new possibilities for forming the laity.

The director of Thomas Stephens Konkani Kendra (TSKK) proposed that I could do frontier ministry in Konkani moving into the parishes and schools from Porvorim. It was also a year in 2009 to learn Konkani and do the ministry. But it was not taking off. The people, however, started flocking for retreats, recollections, spiritual direction and counselling. And so, after a year, I was ready to move to the Basilica of Bom Jesus.


My presence at the Basilica of Bom Jesus is a witnessing of Jesus acting in and through me.

For 11 years (2010 -2021), the spiritual ministry from the Basilica is growing in leaps and bounds. I began a more Jesus-centered retreat called the Basilica Experience and many attended it. The Mass and the Novena was a great opportunity to draw people into an intimate relationship with Jesus especially during the Eucharist. The Mass itself became a retreat experience and it continues to be that way even now.

The need was felt to have a director for the Youth Formation Retreat and I was inducted into it (2013 -2018). Lots of new changes were made to Fr George’s three-day retreat. It was reduced to two days. More lay collaborators joined to counsel, take sessions and constantly reflect on reorienting the programme.

Within five years, the Rector’s responsibility was laid upon my shoulders. Though my friends and I thought that I was not cut out for administrative work, the Lord has done marvels through me. What was never done was made possible for the Basilica. The venue of the Novena and Feast has been modified with LED screens to help people participate in the liturgy. The government has been mobilised to provide more facilities for the devotees and pilgrims. The ASI is taking a more proactive role in the maintenance of the Basilica.

The Italian team assessed the Casket and the Mausoleum and indicated what interventions were needed to conserve the artifacts. The Italian from Florence came the second time sponsored by Guala Closures and touched up the bronze relics. The Chemical branch of ASI took up the restoration of the Mastrillian Casket and did a good job. The Covid-19 restrictions have moved the Basilica spiritual ministry to the cyber level, and it is benefiting thousands of people across the world. The basilica is now being virtually visited by all people who are receiving graces from the Lord through the intercession of St. Francis Xavier.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (AMDG) - For the Greater Glory of God