15 Obituary

posted May 16, 2019, 2:43 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 3:17 AM ]

A Priest steeped in the Word and Spirit

Funeral Homily

May 7 was Fr Roland's birthday. We knew that Fr Roland was getting weaker, but we would have liked that he celebrate his birthday with us. God's ways are not our ways. He called him to celebrate his new life in His heavenly kingdom.

God works with a mighty hand, if only we would allow Him. Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, in the Gospel passage just proclaimed, we often do not recognise the Lord's presence. Fr Roland reminded us to trust in God, and believe that the Lord Jesus is there healing, transforming and saving us. Fr Roland would confidently pray that the person be healed, even when persons were in the ICU or on their deathbed. And God did heal! Fr Roland sought to bring reconciliation in families, between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. Sometimes it seemed impossible that there would be a change. But Fr Roland knew that the Lord would find a way. He believed that the Spirit is constantly at work, setting us free from evil. Fr Roland was a warrior for Christ against evil in all its forms – vices of any kind, oppression by the evil one, hurts and resentment of the past, unwillingness to forgive, complacency and laziness, corruption in society and injustice against the poor – in each of these, he believed that while we need to make our efforts, we are to invoke the Spirit of God, as Paul reminded us in the letter to the Romans. The Spirit sets us free and makes us children of God, co-heirs with Christ.

The Spirit helped Roland to discern his vocation in Kuwait, even while he was leading the prayer groups there. He was a person already involved in the life of the Church from his youth in this parish (St Anne, Mazagaon). His association with the Jesuit priests and their activities was preparing the ground for God to work in a mighty way. When he joined the Orientation Year at the Seminary in 1990, we were happy to have someone quite older than us in our batch. Some of us affectionately called him, 'Uncle.' And God taught us so much through him – as he recounted his faith experiences in the Gulf, as he reminded us of the importance of prayer, as he wrote down reflections and summaries, even though we found it difficult to figure out his handwriting and his abbreviations, as he confronted us when there was disunity or lack of forgiveness. Roland went a batch ahead, and was ordained in 1997. He had just one year of very fruitful parish ministry at Sacred Heart Church, Santa Cruz, and then returned to the Seminary to teach courses on Spirituality, to guide the Orientation batch, and to be a Spiritual Director. From 1998 onwards, he has been at the Seminary, except for a year in Bangalore for a Spirituality Course. This Spirit-filled leader was called to guide the Bombay Service Team of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Fr Roland conducted Retreats and regularly led people in praise and worship at meetings and Night Vigils. He chaired the Healing and Deliverance Committee, and was also actively involved in the Power to Lead programme. He was God's instrument as he urged people to bear the fruit of the Spirit, as he himself did. Fr Roland was not perfect; he did have limitations, but he worked on them, and offered these limitations to the Lord, so that even in his weakness, the power of God was at work. The victory is the Lord's.