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Tribute: Fr J P Tauro - a 'people's priest', now in Heaven

Tribute: Fr J P Tauro - a 'people's priest', now in Heaven

Editor-in-chief, Daijiworld Weekly

Mangalore, Feb 12: It was exactly four years ago, we decided as a family to return to our homeland after being abroad for well over a quarter century. The reasons were many and very demanding. Upon our return, the first task on our mind was to source a prestigious school for our daughter’s admission. Everyone we approached suggested the name of Lourdes Central School for two reasons, one, the school was affiliated to CBSE and second the school offered Konkani as a optional subject which many felt is the best transition for my daughter who studied French under British Curriculum.

Very soon we found ourselves standing outside Lourdes Central School with a prior appointment to meet the Manager. I had requested my good friend Rohan Monteiro to accompany me for moral support. Recognizing our presence - in particular looking at Rohan - the Manager a ageing priest exclaimed in top of his voice – “There comes the silent donor” and then he called his second in command to join us for a meeting.

At the same time the priest started looking at me with a twinkle in his eyes and I could sense the reason behind that look. He knew me quite fondly and I knew him as a 'people’s priest' when he was the chaplain of the Church at Mukka, near Suratakal in the seventies. It was Fr J P Tauro, one of the very few priests I trusted and respected in those days.

Exchanging pleasantries after a span of thirty plus years he asked me “where did you disappear?”

I told him I was in exile and I am glad I am back to his city. He turned to Rohan and said – “This man is very dangerous, but he is a nice person”.

I told him – “Exactly like you. You can be as dangerous and a good person at the same time.”

When I explained to him about the purpose of our visit he was not enthused at all. His face was bereft of any human emotion. “I am extremely sorry,” he said, "I am not here to help you. We have a waiting list which exceeds 150 students and I am not a person who can be easily convinced.”

Before I could say anything Rohan signaled me not to react. We left the place.

As we got down the stairs, Rohan told me – “He is a different kind of a priest, your job is done.”

The next day my daughter was called for an admission.

It was exactly thirty plus years ago both my friend Mick-max (then sub editor of Navabharata, the Kannada daily which was highest in circulation) and I (a struggling junior correspondent with ‘Praja Prabhutva’) went to meet this gentle priest, then a young and energetic social worker, who had made the impossible, possible. He had just set up a multipurpose welfare society in Mukka, ‘Mukka Welfare Society’ which was to be the role model for all societies that came to being elsewhere in the diocese of Mangalore. He had added many wings to the society – fisheries, poultry farming, agriculture and horticulture and community development. He was the first priest to consider the loan from non-Christians to pursue fisheries as a profession. Our task was to write about his mission in our respective journals so that others get a message.

“Don’t write about me” – the Chaplain had admonished us. “Write about the society so that others are inspired to do the same in their parishes,” and we did do the same. Many young priests in those days were inspired by the co-operative movement. The other priest, as I recall today, was as young and energetic as Fr Tauro. It was Fr Peter Noronha, now retired, who was then the parish priest of Katipalla Church. We had seen both these men digging pits for laying banana plantains. According to the people who knew them closely – “They did not build the churches, they built the parishes.”

Upon the sudden demise of the ‘people’s priest’, many called me to confirm the news is true. My best friend Leo Rodrigues from Abu Dhabi was on the line. “Is it true? That Fr J P Tauro is no more?” there was pain in his tone. Then he went on explaining me, how as  a young parishner at Mukka, he was like a altar boy to Fr Tauro, the spirit and human touch behind a person of his stature, how he shunned the worldly comforts and luxuries of life and so on.

“I met him just a few days back and he was only complaining about pain in his leg after a fall” he was pouring his emotions towards a priest whom he loved and revered the most.

I am sure there are many who are lost for words upon the sudden passing away of a priest who was a sage, a Samaritan but at the same time a good friend who did not gave you a feeling that ‘he was nice to you’.

The last time when we visited the home of Little Sisters of the Poor we came to know that Fr J P Tauro has come to stay there after his retirement. Unfortunately he was not around. We decided to come again to meet him, but soon he was shifted to Vianny Home. That visit was not to be. Now he is gone, from out our sight but not out of our minds.

Next time around, whenever we will meet at all, somewhere beyond our imagination, I am sure he will say without any emotion on his face – “The dangerous man, but you’re a nice person.”

And I look forward to hear those words, in love, in perfect affection.


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Comment on this article

  • vinod prabhu, bendur

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    dear sir thank u for ur reminder abt fr.j.p.tauro wat a person he was...but we fellow bendurians have forgotten him a lot,,,compared to other parish ppl wer he served ...its just we have failed to respect him

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  • Melwyn Lobo, Bejai/Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    I remember the opening words of the Book of Steven Covey" 7 habits of highly effective people". In the chapter "Begin with End in Mind", he says " Imagine you are dead and people are at your funeral.What you want them to talk about you at the moment". The author has rightly summarised the life of Fr.Tauro,his achievements and the response of the people. A truly " People's Priest". RIP

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  • Antony and Celine DMello, Kadri-Bendur Church/Abu Dhabi

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    It is indeed true Fr. JP Tauro was a humble, down to earth priest, with few words, a gentle smile and a golden heart. Our interaction with Fr. Tauro was in late 90's when we moved to Bendur church as new parishioners got introduced ourselves to him who was so happy to visit our apartment and bless the house and pray on all the family members. He was always ready to listen to people. Even in our last visit to him at The Convent of The Little Sisters of The Poor though he was in pain he still prayed at us individually which we will never forget. May Almightly grant him Eternal Peace.

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  • Rohan Lawrence Sequeira, Bejai Mangalore

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Dear Sir, You are right he is a down to earth , simple and gentle priest. He can not be convinced easily. His trust on us was a priceless. His career as priest is unquestionable. Dedicated in his service, he never expressed his sorrow. I was close to him , visited him frequently, but never he complained about any discomfort. Our spiritual guide who shaped our life is no more. He is my mentor , i am proud to say that. I thank God for giving chance in my life to meet priest like Fr Tauro. I miss him a lot. I just planned to meet on 11th of Feb after i visited him in December. It was too late for me. But his life and death was a noble one. I really miss him.
    Rohan & Leena , Bejai

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  • Leena Latha Sequeira, Bejai Mangalore

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    You are right sir, he was really a good priest. A upright and straight forward priest. We miss him a lot today. He lived his life as he preached. He was impartial and noble. Very simple personality he was. His visions will bring light to us one day. We miss great priest. 'People Priest'. Leena & Rohan

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  • CGS, Mangalore

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Fr.J.P.Tauro was a man of few words
    but of noble deeds.He reached out to the needy and the poor irrespective of their caste and creed.Certainly he was a Pepople's Priest.Thank you Hemacharya,
    for your loving tribute and respectful homage to Fr.J.P.Tauro.

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  • L N Rego, Bendur

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Dearest Hemacharya i commend your Article.We had tough time at Bendur when he was the Parish Priest.I consider this time as Black days due to several issues and church Politics.Later, our mutual understanding bought us closer and i saw a true Human spirit in him. May his life inspire many religious personalities to emulate simplicity, Humbleness and a touch towards the needy.

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  • Max and Jessie Rasquinha, Managalore, Dallas/Houston, Texas

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Thank you, Mr. Hemacharya, for your kind and inspiring tribute to late Fr. J. P. Tauro.

    In addition to the tribute, you also shared with us your own story of life having moved to Mangalore after a gap of several years. Education of our children become the most important part of our life, aand your gratitude towards late Fr. Tauro is a testemony of the fact that he was indeed a "people's priest".

    When we moved to Bijey many years ago, and when we were the only occupants got our appartment ready in the entire building 12 floors, we went to Fr.Tauro and requested him to please come and bless although the place was full of construction and the elevators were not even available for use. Fr. Tauro willingly came and blessed the house, and blessed all of us in the family too. May Fr. Tauro rest in peace.

    Thanks for your valuable words and feelings for our community.

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  • joegonsalves, Mangalore

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Tribute: Fr J P Tauro - a 'people's priest', now in Heaven

    Editor-in-chief, Daijiworld Weekly:

    I read with great interest Stephen's account of Father J.P. Tauro. In my opinion any tribute paid to Father J.P. and any praise - I would say would be UNDERSTATEMENTS. He was a peoples' man and always fought for a just cause even to the extent of making himself unpopular. I knew him well when he was the Parish Priest at St. Sebastian's Church in Bendur and thereafter at The the Church in Bejai. It was a pleasure to interact with him and he indeed had that subtle humor hidden within him. Later on I used to see him at The Convent of The Little Sisters of The Poor and I have no hesitation in saying that he was anything but the earlier dynamic Father J.P. His last days he spent at Viani Home and he was just a shadow of old Father Tauro.

    I join scores of people in saying ADIOS to dear Father J.P. As rightly said by Stephen he is there in Heaven now. Let us not pray for him but let us pray to him for his intercession with The Almighty.

    Joe Gonsalves

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  • Sam Fernandes, mangalore/dubai

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    In the year 2000 my sis, had to change her base from Madras to Mangalore due to her health. My nephew wanted a seat for kindergarten & all schools had already closed their doors. It was that time some told me to meet Fr. J P, who was the parish priest of Bendur then. I met him & explained him the problem. At the end of my speech Fr. JP never spoke a work & just wrote something on piece of paper & handed it over to him. I was to meet the principal of St. Theresa’s School the next day with the paper. On reading the note the principal immediately gave permission to admit my nephew. If not for Fr. J P Tauro, my nephew would have lost a year.
    We have definitely have lost a humble man. May his soul rest in peace.

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  • m.d.acharya, udupi

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    He is great man and head master of st. marry high school . udupi

    i still remember my school days with father

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  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Very touching tribute to peoples priest. May his soul rest in peace.

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  • Wilfred R Pangla , Shankerpura

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Fr.J P Tauro, a very kind hearted,great preist, I have seen so far. Very sad to miss him....but surely he will remain in peoples heart forever.

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  • Capt walters, Mangalore / Panno Italia

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Dear Fr. Tauro,
    I am bidding a tearful farewell to you. "You lived your life in your own way" - Paraphrasing Frank Sinatra.
    It was an honor knowing you personally. I will cherish your memory forever.
    I think that the good LORD wants your presence in heaven because he needs someone special like you up there and he does not want any substitute.
    Adieus my friend and RIP Fr. J P Tauro

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  • Renny Lobo (Rodrigues), Gurpur Kaikamba/ Abu Dhabi

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Thank you Daiji and Hemacharya for a perfect tribute. About Fr.Tauro and on Mukka Welfare Association, his noble activities which I have heard from Leo Rodrigues, Abu Dhabi who will always praise Fr.Tauro to a very high level. How unfortunate I am for not able to meet this great priest, though we belong to the same Pompei parish, Gurpur.

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    Tue, Feb 12 2013


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  • Praveen, Kavoor/MUSCAT

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Role model...heard a lot about him & Thanks daiji for a wonderful tribute.

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  • Lancy Moras, Moushmi Creations

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Rev. Fr. Late J.P.Tauro will undeniably remain in our hearts. RIP to you beloved People's Priest.

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  • Cedric, Bejai / Dubai

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    So many priests have died, but I have not seen so many good comments in Daiji. Sorry, even though he was our parish priest, I did not know so many good things about Fr. Tauro. Very interesting to know about Mukka Welfare society and other good things done by him. May our Lord grant him eternal rest. May his soul rest in peace.

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  • Eddie Sequeira, Mangalore

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Thanks Daiji, thanks Hemacharya for a tribute so true. In very few words another facet of the 'people's priest' comes alive. First time I met this activist priest was when he was about to say goodbye to Mukka. People from there wanted me to paint a portrait of him, I suggested that I would prefer a proper studio photo for reference. Next day there he was in my small office, appreciating my art.. I took him to the nearby studio and got a proper photo, then painted three large portraits. That black & white photo is with me somewhere. Last year I saw him in the hospital. Amidst the suffering and pain, he was the same, a simple person, a small smile, soft words..truly a Saint...a role model for priests. May God rest his noble soul in peace.

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    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Nice article, thanks Hema & daiji. May Almighty God reward him with eternal bliss.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Clevin D'Souza, Pangal/Dubai

    Tue, Feb 12 2013

    Nice Article about a great prist.J.P.Tauro will remain in our heart for ever...The great prist ever in Mangalore Diocese..Very Lucky to know him from my childhood in Pangla Parish.

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