Recalling the Visit of Soon-to-be Saint to Mangalore

April 24, 2014

On April 27, 2014, Pope Francis will declare two of his predecessors as saints. Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II will be canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday, a day dedicated to the celebration of mercy as instituted by Blessed John Paul II.

People from all over the globe, Catholics in particular, will celebrate this momentous event. Closer to home, the canonization of Blessed John Paul II has been met with a great deal of excitement. His canonization has special significance in the city of Mangalore.

On February 6, 1986, the then Pope John Paul II graced the port city of Mangalore with his presence. It was the first time a Holy Father had ever visited our great city.

The late Bishop Basil of sacred memory announced the news at a meeting during which I was present. Bishop Basil made several assignments to various committees in anticipation of the visit. At his request, I worked with the department of law and order to ensure that the Pope would be safe and secure during his visit to our city. We were to receive him at the Bajpe airport following which there would be a welcoming reception in a nearby venue.

Monsignor Alexander D’Souza took on the task as event coordinator. Blasius D’Souza took over the responsibility for transportation and Paul Rodrigues took responsibility for housing. I recall warm memories of my daily trips to the Bishop’s House and commuting between Kodialbail and the office of the Superintendent of Police. Kasturi Rangan, then superintendent of police, attended to all that was necessary for the safety of the Pope. Of course he worked in conjunction with the Head Quarters from Bangalore.

The Podium for the reception of The Holy Father was decorated and beautified by the students of St Agnes College under the able direction of Rev Sister Aloysius - the then Principal. St. Aloysius also organized a team of young ladies from St Agnes College to do the symbolical Aarthi.

Special photo identity passes were issued from Delhi to thirty-five people. I have saved mine as a memento of the day when I met a great man A SAINT. February 6th arrived and it was my privilege to dine with the dignitaries at the Bishop’s House after which we drove to the airport. Several of us were there to meet him at the tarmac. Finally the great moment arrived and Bishop Basil introduced Pope John Paul II to me. As I shook the hand of His Holiness, I uttered the carefully rehearsed words, “Viva Il Papa,” “Long Live the Pope.” He shook my hand with great warmth and flashed a beautiful smile. Little did I know that I was shaking hands with someone who would one day become a saint. That moment will be etched in my memory forever.

On April 27, 2014, we in Mangalore will join millions of people of good will everywhere as we celebrate the canonization of two of our former popes. The canonization of Pope John Paul II will have a special meaning for us as we remember the visit from him two score and eight years ago. Indeed, the soon-to-be Saint John Paul II will always have a special place in our hearts and in our prayers.



By Joe G Gonsalves
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Comment on this article

  • Joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Thu, May 01 2014

    Just to clear a doubt - Mother Teresa is yet to be d a saint.

    People in India look forward to the occasion when she will be counted among the saints.

    Joe Gonsalves


    Thu, May 01 2014

    When was Mother Teresa d a Saint?

  • Shankar , Mangalore

    Thu, May 01 2014

    Francis D'Souza,
    Mother Theresa ia aleady honoured with Sainthood. Blessed Joseph Vaz is yet to be.

  • Adrian, Mct, Oman

    Mon, Apr 28 2014

    I totally agree with you. People pull out specific scriptures from the bible to prove that they are right and others are wrong but they are missing the overhaul content of the word of God. We thanks & praise God for the Two Saints in St.John XXIII & St.John Paul II and invoke their blessings on each one of us.

  • Alok, Bengaluru

    Sun, Apr 27 2014

    Mother Theresa is already d saint,
    Blessed Vaz will be soon a saint.

  • Sunil D'Souza, Mangalore / Mumbai

    Sun, Apr 27 2014

    Hey Henry Don't read the bible as a rule book.....rules can be interpreted in many ways that are in line appealing to our mindset and needs....sometimes try asking God and you will have the answer......I know your views reflect the so called new born or new life Christians......I dont say your ways are wrong but you need to be a bit broad minded and humble to accept someone as a institutional leader (Pope) ......if you are really connected to Christ then you will not go in the wrong direction.......and please dont fragment the society into more bits and pieces.

  • A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.

    Sun, Apr 27 2014

    Pope John Paul II was a saint with great visions. He broke many walls of separation in between the Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches. Also, played the key role along with President Ronald Reagan and Margret Thacher to knock down the ungodly communism from the world.


    Sat, Apr 26 2014

    What about sainthood for BLessed Mother Theresa?


    Sat, Apr 26 2014

    The word of God, which reads as follows..

    1TIM 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

  • Fredrick Correa, Pernal/Mumbai

    Fri, Apr 25 2014

    Dear Francis D'Souza, Milagres, Mangalore. There is no set date for canonising a saint. Blessed Jospeh Vaz and Mother Theresa are in the process. Once a person is d Blessed, the faithful can officially request for intercession through him/her.

  • C D Pereira, Mangalore

    Fri, Apr 25 2014

    I feel privileged to have joined in towards making appropriate arrangements at the Bajpe site which resembled the pictures of places in the Holy Land where Jesus Himself spoke to the gathering multitudes.I was also able to get approval for positioning a Govt owned largest water tanker filled with drinking water to help quench the thirst of that day's large congregation.We did have a feeling that the visiting Holy Father was someone very special...may he intercede for all of us here in Mangalore & the region...We remember also the Leadership of Monsingor Rev fr Alexander D'Souza who was the Chief Coordinator of the public programme.Mme Louella Lobo will also be fondly remembered for her unique poetic & literary contribution, that only her immense talent & generosity could have provided.we ardently invoke Almighty's benevolence in choosing Pope John Paul II as a saint very soon.

  • Ronny, Udupi

    Fri, Apr 25 2014

    GOD BLESS OUR CITY.Anxiously waiting for the Moment JOHN PAUL II to be d as saint.God's Blessing s will shower through saint to our state city Karnataka/Mangalore.

  • Francis Dsouza, Milagres, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 24 2014

    What about sainthood for BLessed Joseph Vaz and Mother Theresa ?

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