posted Sep 6, 2018, 10:15 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 6, 2018, 10:31 AM ]

Silent Sabino

Sabino was silent right through his life, and as silently on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, he left the company of his near and dear ones. Young Sabino was appreciated by his professors because he was always simple and silent. Silence was the hallmark of his life.

Sabino joined our class in the seminary at Parel on June 13, 1958. Most of us had joined soon after completing our SSC, whereas Sabino had completed his first year of college at Chhabildas. His parents, along with his brother and his five sisters, made it a point, month after month, to come all the way from Amboli to see Sabino on 'visiting Sundays'. His devout parents, made a pious Catholic home to nurture the seeds of priesthood within him. Brother Sabino was always found entering the classroom with a broad smile on his face, and that endeared him to one and all —his professors as well as his classmates. No wonder Fr Jean Marti, our spiritual director, was quite fond of Sabino, and kept in touch with him even when he was transferred to St Patrick's, Deolali.

Sabino was ordained on December 20, 1967. St James Church, Agashi was the first parish where he began his pastoral ministry in full swing, and became quite popular among his altar boys and the youth. There were no organised 'youth groups' in those days but the youth always kept close to the young priests, and any time Sabino wanted any work to be done, the youth rallied around him. The late Fr Archibald Gonsalves, his first Parish Priest, was a well-known confessor in many of the neighbouring convents in Vasai, and was always found at the pews of the parish church along with his breviary. It was from this pious priest that Sabino received his basic foundation in priestly spirituality.

The golden era of Sabino's pastoral work was seen at St Sebastian - Marouli, Our Lady of Egypt - Kalina, St John the Baptist - Thane and St Michael - Mahim. Under the leadership of the late Fr Salu Rodrigues, Sabino unassumingly organised novenas in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Wednesday after Wednesday. This humble pastor, said Bishop Rodrigues at the funeral, worked in 12 parishes. Bishop John divided 50 years of his priestly career and pastoral life in this way: three parishes of Vasai, three parishes of Dharavi Island, three parishes of Mumbai as the Parish Priest and on the staff in three parishes. The parishes in Vasai were Agashi, Papdy and Ghas; Uttan Palle, Dongri and Gorai were the parishes in Dharavi Island; Marouli, Our Lady of Egypt, Kalina and St John the Baptist, Thane in Mumbai. He was on the staff at Mahim and Vakola. The parish of Vile Parle fondly remember his youthful priestly activity.