16 Obituary

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 6:04 AM ]

Fr Francis Mascarenhas – a man of the Beatitudes (1942 - 2018)

When we first heard that Francis Mascarenhas closed his eyes on Nov. 15, 2018, the first reaction, for many of us, was to turn aside from our work, and spend a few moments in silence. It was not necessarily to pray for him, but to recite the 'Beatitudes' - the spirituality that thoroughly epitomised his life. Francis (or Masca, as we fondly called him) was poor in spirit, pure in heart, meek and compassionate, but the word that most described him was "authentic". That would be the most apt characteristic of his personality.

Born in a farmer's family at Chulna, Vasai, Francis was gifted with a brilliant analytical mind. In the seminary, we called him 'Shankaracharya', not just because he did his philosophical dissertation on the concept of "maya" in Shankara, but chiefly because he had clear, logical reasoning, and often was called upon to explain to his fellow students the abstract and difficult ideas of philosophy. Francis loved to teach, and exhibited a tremendous zeal for the education of students, with a special predilection for catering to students from a poorer background. Education was his special charism. Francis was a much-in-demand Principal of several big schools in Mumbai and Vasai: St Joseph, Uttan, St Ignatius, Jacob Circle, St Michael, Mahim, St Thomas Baptista, Papdy and St Aloysius, Gorai. No wonder that he is fondly remembered by thousands of his students.