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From Daijiworld News Network in Bijai (6.30 pm)
Pics Viju Manglaore & Praveen Tauro

Mangalore, Feb 5: Thousands flocked on Sunday, Feb 5 evening to Bijai church to pay homage to Fr Bernard L D'Souza, until recently parish priest of Tannirbavi church here.

Fr Bernard had passed away on the night preceding February 4. His mortal remains were kept for public respect from 2 pm onwards in Bijai church. He was laid to rest in the cemetery of Bijai church at 5.45 pm.

Bishop Aloysius D’Souza of Mangalore led a host of over 200 priests in concelebrating the funeral mass. A large number of religious and laymen including a good number from his earlier parishes had come to pay homage. Fr Walter D’Mello gave the homily extolling the virtues of Fr Bernard.  Pangala parish priest Fr Alexander Lobo gave a touching condolence speech.

The priests included Fr Charles from Hazaribagh parish. On behalf of Fr Bernards family, his brother and Mukka parish priest Fr Harold C D’Souza thanked everyone for attending the funeral and assisting in whatever way possible. This kind of crowd that gathered was not seen for a long time, which was an index to Fr Bernard’s popularity and spiritual leadership.


A Tribute from M P Rodrigues, Dubai:

It was 2nd of November, 2005 – All Souls Day.  The tombs in the cemetery in front of Bijai Church were decorated with flowers of all hues.  It was nice to feel that the dead were not forgotten but remembered with love.  I went to the parish office to seek the address of a person who I was told on his death bed.  I had gone looking for him in the Senior Priests’ home located in St. Antony’s Asylum and I was told that he had shifted to his brother’s house in Bijai as he was unable to look after himself.  The parish priest of Bijai, Fr. J.P. Tauro, directed me to the house and entering the house I found the man, a semblance of his earlier physique, emaciated but strong in will, suffering but cheerful, on death bed but resigned – Fr. Bernard D’Souza.

My entire vacation was spent in Fr. Muller’s hospital at the bed side of my younger brother who was also battling for life.  But it was worth finding time to visit this suffering priest with an indomitable spirit, a person many a time misunderstood.

My association with Fr. Bernard started when he invited me to teach liturgical singing in Pompei parish where he was the parish priest during his sabbatical of one year.  He had completed his Masters with a rank and was doing his B.Ed stationing himself in the Pompei parish.  He did not allow his studies to undermine the parochial work.  Under the crust of a disciplined man, I found a sympathetic, charitable and outgoing heart.

Fr. Bernard was a strong willed person, a man of conviction and a man of action.
St. Joseph’s Junior College in Bajpe, Pompei College in Kirem and Bijai English Medium High School are testimonies to his never say die attitude.  He instilled discipline in his students and those who misunderstood him during their school days came to thank him later when they started reaping fruits of a disciplined school or college life.

There is no perfect human being on earth.  Every one commits mistakes.  But many a time people are judged uncharitably and the brighter side is never taken into consideration.  Fr. Bernard too was many a time a misunderstood person.

“God gave me excellent health for 68 years” he told me three months ago, “and it is but right I should suffer something for him”.  He was given only a short time to live but survived two years through strong will and resilience.  May the Almighty grant his soldier with eternal peace and happiness.


Mangalore: Fr Bernard L D'Souza (70) Passes away


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