14 Obituary

posted Jul 5, 2018, 10:29 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 5, 2018, 10:29 AM ]

Fr. Felix Rebello

Infant Jesus Church, Jogeshwari was packed to capacity with people, all sad at heart, while they bade farewell to a much loved priest, Fr Felix Rebello. Bishop Allwyn D’Silva, along with four other bishops and about 50 priests, concelebrated the funeral Mass. The following obituary is based on the sermon preached by Bishop Agnelo Gracias at the funeral Mass:

Death is something inevitable. The words of a hymn in the breviary express that so well: “No walls of stone can man defend when you thy messenger dost send.” To all - bishops, priests, nuns and lay people - at some point or other, God’s messenger will come. What is stunning, however, is the suddenness with which at times God sends His messenger. Death sometimes comes so unexpectedly. This is true in the case of Fr Felix: he left without saying ‘good bye’.

Three aspects of the life of Fr Felix stand out:

First: A passionate champion for the environment: Fr Felix was truly passionate about ecology. He would promote different initiatives in parishes where he was posted: a compost pit at Pokhran, children’s eco-clubs in Jogeshwari, and so on. He wanted to enthuse people about saving the environment, and he created resource materials for this purpose. He had 40 PowerPoint Presentations to bring about awareness amongst church groups and housing societies; eco-quizzes and puzzles for children – all part of what he called GEM - Green Earth Movement. He would write letters to The Examiner. His last letter was in The Examiner issue of May 26, entitled ‘IJC Green Initiatives’. He would send regular e-mails. His last e-mail, with regard to pollution in coal mining was on June 25, just three days before he died! The book of Revelation gives a vision of the new heaven and the new earth in terms of greenery: the river of life, the tree of life bearing twelve kinds of fruits, and so on. Fr Felix strove to make that vision a reality. He could be considered the Mumbai counterpart of St Francis of Assisi, the patron of ecology.