By H.R. Alva, Maria Advertisers - Mangalore
Rev. Fr. Alexander Faustine Lobo, a dedicated Priest, an Educationsist, a true worker for peoples cause, who is the present Parish Priest of St. John the Evangelist Church, Pangala Parish, Shankerpura and who completes 70 years of his life on 12th Dec. 2003. He has served as a teacher and a Headmaster/Principal for over 25 years at various parishes of the Diocese of Mangalore. During this period he conducted "Gurukul" (where students stay with Guru or teacher and gets education) form of education and helped many a students to pass out SSLC.
Several of these students either from Kundapur, Bolkunje, Moodubelle or Rosaio Educational institutions are well placed in life and today also gratefully remember Fr. Lobo for his help and encouragemnet. During Get-togethers either in India or Abroad words of gratitude/appreciation towards Fr. Lobo are always in abundance.
Fr. Lobo was born in Barebail, now in the Derebail Parish Mangalore on 12-12-1933 to Mr. Marian Lobo and Mrs. Piad Lobo. He had his early education at Bejai School and High School at Padua School. He joined the Jeppu Seminary for the priestly education.During this period he studied at the St. Aloysius College for B.Sc. and at the Government College of Education, Mangalore for B.Ed. He was ordained on 2nd March 1959. Much after this he got M.A. from Karnataka University, Dharwad through correspondence course.
Fr. Lobo has served as an Assistant Parish Priest at Milagres Parish, Kallianpur and then at Puttur as Warden of St. Philomena Educational Institutions. He served as Asst. Parish Priest and Headmaster of the High School at Kundapur for 7 years. While he was at Bolkunje(2 years & few months) he started the High School and while serving at Moodubelle( 7 years) he founded the Junior College.He served at Rosario High School, Mangalore for 9 years. The present school building was his dream come true.
This is all before his retirement from teaching. Wherever he has served he improved the situation not only of the school campus but also he gave more importance towards the studies of student folk. His modus operandi was that first he selects the students especially facing SSLC Public Examination who are backward in studies. He gathers them at the School or Church campus after School hours and make them to study. He himself was present at these study sessions and giving special coaching to the needy. The result - even hopeless student also passed in the public examination. There are hundreds of such examples.
During Fr. Lobo's days at Rosario Jr. College I was staying at St. Christopher Hostel which is at the same compound. At that time Rosario School's performanxe was not good, just about 35%. Almost from January Fr. Lobo's "Gurukula" would start. The day starts at 5 am. Morning study session upto 7-30 am. Then regular classes and in the evening sports, games etc. Again from 6 pm to 8-30 pm studies. Afterwards special coaching for the academically poor students in the subjects like Mathematics, Science, English etc. Students who had been selected will be served food(on expences sharing basis) and in some cases shelter too at the school/Parish house.
This was continuing till the Exam day. And the Result - Almost all students succeed in the exams and for the institution better result - almost 98%. Being an eye witness myself and inspired by the selfless work of Fr. Lobo I wrote an article in the 'MUNGARU' Kannada daily(now non-existent) and it was published on 18-2-1986 under the title " Rosario High Schoolinalli Gurukula".
Recognising all these services of Fr. Lobo to the society and to the education field Government of Karnataka bestowed upon him " State level Best Teacher Award - 1990"
This is all before his retirement from teaching service in 1991. After that Fr. Lobo served as a Parish Priest at Madanthyar for a short term and served at Allipade for 7 years. At Allipade he supported and encouraged the Religious Sisters to start a High school. He took the leadership of Church renovation. He also started a Computer Centre.
Since 27 May 2003 Fr. Lobo is the Parish Priest of St. John the Evangelist Church, (Pangala Parish), Shankerpura, which is famous for Jasmine cultivation(Pangllache Kalle). Pangala Parish is having nearly 5000 people in about 750 family units. There are 3 schools - St. John's Higher Primary School, St. John's High School and St. John's Academy(English Medium Primary School). People are of hard working nature. At least one is working in the Gulf countries from atleast half of the total families. People are of co-operative nature too and go along with their paster.
Fr. Lobo studied the parish within a couple of months. The major problem is of paths in the wards. There is a most urgent need of formation of 2-3 bye-lanes (atleast width of a truck road). With negotiations he succeeded in convincing the owners of the land in the formation of road in front of the church and another one passing through hithlu which was the long felt need of the people.
There was shortage of building and lack of facilities for the English medium School. Because of this, people were sending their children to the nearby schools. The other need was to construct a Centenary Memorial Auditorium which was promised while receiving donations for the Primary School Centenary Programmes before his arrival. The funds collected were just sufficient for the extention of school play grounds and other needs of the school. Fr. Lobo plunged into action.
There were no sufficient funds and moreover he was new to Pangala. But the need was urgent. In this situation he approached Mr. Lancy Mascarenhas, Proprietor of Lancy constructions, the reputed and Class I Contractor of Mangalore who has constructed many a reputed structures in and around Mangalore. During Fr. Lobo's Headmstership at Rosario he had constructed a beautiful building for the school for which amount was paid afterwords whenever received through donations. On the request of Fr. Lobo Lancy agreed to construct the buildings and provide facilities at Pangala too.
According to this agreement the building for English medium school was ready along with a separate section for Anganavadi (Kindergarten) school at a cost of Rs.15 lakhs. The computer section and furniture were provided with a cost of Rs. 5 lakhs. Fr. Lobo made a small change in the earlier plan of Centenary Memorial Auditorium. He widened the hall to 35 feet instead of the earlier 24 feet along with 8 feet veranda. Fr. Lobo's principle is while constrcting any building one has to look and think 25 years ahead. If Pre- University Courses are started any time they may also be accommodated in the same building.
The total area of this building is 7527 sq.ft. with an estimated cost of Rs.27 lakhs. The St. John's Primary School Centenary Auditorium, English Medium School Building and Anganavaadi were inaugurated on 19th May 2003 and blessed by Rt. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, Bishop of Mangalore. The Computer Section for School Children and for Public was inaugurated by Mr. Albert Wilfred D'Souza, Managing Director of Printania Offset Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, a Pangalite, an old student of the school and a major donor. Moreover for the completion of the stage Rs. 2.5 lakhs and toilets for High School another one lakh expenditure. So altogether the total cost of the building project is Rs.50 lakhs.
Everybody who visits Shankerpura appreciates Fr. Lobo for his projects. Within a year Rs. 12 lakhs amount was collected. Slowly funds are pouring in. Fr. Lobo expects that if every person who is working abroad donates a thousand Rupees a year for the next 5 years all the financial requirement will be fulfilled. Fr. Lobo has another dream. Starting of the PUC section. Nowadays the minimum required education is PUC. Moreover present Government is liberal towards starting of Educational Institutions. So this is the right time. I request Pangalites and well-wishers of Fr. Lobo come forward and fulfill his dreams.
A school band is started which adds colour to each and every programme of the church and of the school. Though Fr. Lobo is 70 he works like a youth. He visits families now and then. He graces the functions of the parishioners at the church campus or at their homes. He attends the Basic Christian Community gatherings at the wards(Vado).
I know Fr. Lobo from his Moodubelle days. He is an active priest. He works for the religious, social and educational betterment of the people. I wish all the best to him at Pangala. On this happy occasion of completion of 70 years of his life on 12th Dec.
I congratulate and wish him a long life, good health and peace.
It is appropriate, at this juncture, for his students and well-wishers to greet him.
Rev. Fr. Alexander Lobo, Parish Priest, St. John the Evangelist Church, Shankerpura P.O., Udupi Dist., Karnataka - 574 115, India.
Phone No: +91-820-2559865(Personal) / 2559048
[ H. R. Alva, Proprietor of Maria Advertisers, Mangalore and Former Vice-President of Pangala Church, Shankerpura]