Jeppu, Mangaluru, Karnataka 575002


March 27: For the first time in the history of Mangaluru, the Jesuit priests of Fatima Retreat House, Mangaluru hosted a programme called “Celebration of Life” , where the Jesuit community expressed their gratitude to men and women who have dedicated their lives in selfless service of God and humankind in various capacities- and also assured them of their recognition, support and accompaniment in their retired life and evening years. Therefore, “Celebration of Life” a get together for Senior Priests, men and women Religious of the Diocese was held on Saturday, March 16, from 9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m., where nearly 225 priests and nuns joined in the celebrations, filled with fun and frolic.

“Ageing is not ‘lost youth’, but a new stage of opportunity and strength”- there is no age limit when you are capable of doing things which you did while young. And for that matter, the nuns who outnumbered the priests at the celebration were not showing any signs of ageing, but were bubbling with enthusiasm, and energy, and were all geared up to make the best use of the programme, specially hosted for them.








Fr Melwyn Pinto SJ the Superior & Director of Fatima Retreat House, whose initiative of hosting this event with love and gratitude towards the Senior priests and nuns of the Mangaluru Diocese was highly applauded by everyone present for the occasion. A job well done, Fr Melwyn! The “Celebration of Life” made the oldsters feel special. It was a very good opportunity for the religious Seniors, to bring back their younger days, and try to bring out the best in them. Even though participants looked old, they were still feeling young from within, thereby showing that there is still young life during senior life.

The programme began with a prayer followed by welcome address by Fr Melwyn Pinto SJ- Director of Fatima Retreat House, where he on the lighter side of vein said “Look at all these pretty nuns gathered here, with happy and glittering faces, which seemed like they just got back after a extreme make-over at the beauty parlours!” The programme was inaugurated by lighting the lamp by chief guest Dr. Ms Thangam Varghese, Cosmetic Surgeon, Mangaluru, joined by Prof. Edmund Frank, Founder & Trustee, Sylvester and Tressy Frank Foundation, Rev. Fr. Jerome Stanislaus D’Souza SJ, Provincial Superior, Karnataka Jesuit Province, Rev. Fr. Joseph Martis, Rector, St. Joseph’s Seminary, Mangaluru, and Ms Phyllis Maria D’costa- the Director of UXCEL, Mangaluru.






Chief guest Dr Thangam Varghese speaking on the topic ‘Secrets for successful ageing’ said, “Success means different things to different people. Among the main categories of successful aging: social well-being, psychological well-being, physical health, transcendence, and environment and economic security, but the most is the spirituality. Spiritual feelings will lead you to a successful ageing. Remember you are not old, the best of you is yet tom come. Feel young, and keep up the good work that you are entrusted with”.

Following a session on ‘Yoga for good health’ by Yoga teacher Ms Veean Srinivas, where the “Youngsters” did some yoga movements lifting their hands, moving their bodies etc, Fr Joseph Martis, the Rector of St Joseph’s Seminary in his humorous speech on the topic “Ageing-a Gift and a Task” kept the audience glued to their seats listening to his deliberations. He said, “Old people still bear fruits. Look at the old trees, they still bear fruits. Just like a broken candle when lit can still give brightness, similarly in old age when your body is not perfect, you still can do things and show light. Old is a task, it’s also a gift, since we are close to the Lord. Also silence is the best language, while ageing. Society may discard the old, but God does not. Old age could be and should be taken positively. Old age is also in many cases moments of great achievement. Enjoy your old age and keep yourselves busy” added Fr Martis.

Unveiling of the portrait of “Smiling Jesus of Xavier” was done by Fr Stanislaus D’Souza SJ. The portrait is that of Jesus smiling from the Cross as found in the Chapel of the Castle of Xavier, Spain, the birthplace of St. Francis Xavier. Each member in the audience received a printed card of the portrait. This was followed by Entertainment, where a skit on “Life is a Journey” was performed by a group of young men and women. The star attraction of the programme was a solo performance by Master Allen Rasquinha, who wanted to follow in the footsteps of Rev Fr Denis Rasquinha SJ, the former Headmaster of St Aloysius High School (now at Fatima Retreat House), said in his mono act that he wants to a priest, then a Bishop, a Cardinal and then a Pope- which received a loud applaud from the audience. Allen was helped by his sister Lisa. Yet another Konkani dance performance was done by Miss Gayle Rodrigues.





Fr Stanislaus D’souza in his presidential address said, “They say History, like “His Story” in men’s case, but today when I see a large gathering of religious nuns, it should be “Her Story”? We should be all thankful to these devotional nuns who are serving Christ and Church to the best of their abilities. Never think that you are old, life is still young with many of you. Enjoy your life to the utmost and don’t fear of death. Death can come to a young person also. You are all lucky to reach such a age, where you have accomplished many things in your life. Keep up the good work that you all are entrusted with, and may God bless you all”.

Prof Edmund Frank also in his speech thanked the priests and nuns for their tremendous contribution to the Church all these golden years of their lives. Sr Lidwin Sequeira of Holy Spirit Convent Bajjodi also expressed her thoughts on the occasion. Prof Lawrence D’costa, husband of Ms Phyllis D’costa introduced the chief guest, and Fr. Maxim Misquith SJ from Fatima Retreat House proposed the vote of thanks. The programme was professionally compered by Fr Cyril Raj SJ also of FRH. Ms Phyllis Maria D’costa also read a citation which was supposed to be presented to Former Bishop of Mangalore Diocese Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’souza, but due to other engagement couldn’t make it to this programme – the citation was a poem written by Ms Phyllis on the great work and service done by Bishop Aloysius D’souza.

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” had said George Bernard Shaw. These “Young” bunch proved to be exceptionally energetic, bubbly, enthusiastic and full of fun throughout the programme- Truly “Vintage Religious Revelers”!

(Edited from the report by Alfie Dsouza, Team Mangalorean.Com)

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Jeppu, Mangaluru
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