Pilar, Nov 20: “Venerable Agnelo, took Jesus as his model and strengthened his relationship with him through prayer and served the poor and the needy, thus became an inspiration in our journey of faith,” said Archbishop Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão, Archbishop of Goa and Daman.
Cardinal Ferrão who is also the president of Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, was delivering a homily on the theme ‘Walking together, in the footsteps of Ven. Agnelo to our sanctification’ at the Eucharistic Celebration to mark the 96th Death Anniversary of Venerable Agnelo De Souza at Pilar hillock.
Pilar is a village in Goa, India, some 10 km from the state capital Panaji. It is on a hill top and has a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea and the mountains all around.
The Prelate, presided over the Eucharistic celebration along with Archbishop Anil Couto (Archbishop of Delhi), Bishop Alex Dias Sfx (Bishop Emeritus Diocese of Port Blair), Fr Nazareth Fernandes Sfx (Superior General, Society of Pilar), Fr Joseph Fernandes, Sfx (Central Delegate Superior, Pilar Society) Fr Randall Barretto Sfx, Deacon Denzyl Pereira Sfx, Deacon Lelwin Pereira Sfx, Deacon Randall D’Souza, Sfx, Fr Steven D'Souza, vicar general, Society of Pilar and 45 priests as concelebrants.
Cardinal Filipe Neri, is a one of the members of the Section for Fundamental Issues of Evangelization in the World (New Evangelization) of the Dicastery for Evangelization and the Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Via.
“Our journey of faith begins on the day of our baptism as we become the children of God and living temples of the Holy Spirit,” said Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrao. Reflecting on the narrative of Jesus' companionship on the road to Emmaus, the Cardinal underscored the willingness of Jesus to accompany individuals in their trials and urged the congregation to embrace this companionship. Encouraging a deeper connection with Jesus, he stressed the importance of spending time with Him, engaging with His teachings, and actively participating in Eucharistic celebrations to enrich one's spiritual journey.
Archbishop Ferrão commemorated Venerable Agnelo, noting his strong communion with Jesus, love for Scripture, regular participation in the Eucharistic Celebrations and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He also highlighted his role in imparting these values to his community, which were instilled in him by his parents.
He emphasized the increased responsibility toward the needy and the impoverished when one experiences Jesus, urging the faithful to extend their faith journey by embracing others as siblings, drawing inspiration from Venerable Agnelo's altruistic service as a pastor in Siroda, Kumta and Sanvordem and spiritual guide at the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol.
Cardinal Ferrão urged the congregation to emulate Venerable Agnelo's compassionate service, calling for a community reflective of a Synodal Church that demonstrates care for marginalized groups, including the poor, distressed, migrants, and those on society's fringes. He called upon the faithful to pray continuously for the canonization process of Venerable Agnelo, presenting him as a model for living a life rooted in love and charity.
Archbishop Dominic Lumon (Archbishop, Imphal Archdiocese, Manipur) presided over the English Mass and other Masses throughout the day were presided over by Fr Ivo Fernandes Sfx (Director, Fr Agnelo Seminar, Batim) Fr Edson Fernandes (Parish Priest of Nagoa-Salcete), Fr Milton Rodrigues Sfx (Professor Fr Agnel College, Pilar) Fr George Nandiyala Sfx, Fr Francis Rosario Sfx and Fr Nelson Sequeira (Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol).
Speaking on the occasion Fr Nazareth Fernandes Sfx, superior general of the Society said devotees often inquire about the process of beatification. The process of beatification is a lengthy process and the miracle which was attributed to the intercession of Ven. Agnelo, and was sent to Rome, is now studied by the doctors.” Fr superior general said. He recalled what he had informed last year that the process of the case had begun. He requested the devotees to pray unceasingly during this period.
Fr. Ivo Fernandes Sfx (Director, Fr Agnel Seminary, Batim) was the liturgical commentator and Fr Diogo D’Souza Sfx (Professor, All India Mission Seminary, Pilar) animated the liturgy. Fr Russel Fernandes Sfx (Director, Pre-Novitiate, Pilar) led the liturgical choir. Fr Joseph Fernandes Sfx (Central Delegate Superior) thanked all.
Thousands of devotees flocked to Pilar hillock to seek blessings of Venerable Agnelo.
Venerable Agnelo de Souza, a priest from the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman and a distinguished member of the Society of Pilar, was born on January 21, 1869, in Anjuna. The process for his canonization is presently underway in Rome. Novena masses, conducted in both Konkani and English, took place from November 11 to 19, dedicating each day to specific intentions such as youth, family, priests and religious, children and vocation, civil leaders, mission, sick, environment, and laity. These novena masses were also conducted in Hindi, Tamil, and Malayalam. Night Vigil was conducted by Bro. Edmund and his team of Crusaders of Jesus with Mary.