Parishioners celebrate priest's birth centenary

Fr Sylvester Monteiro’s birth centenary was marked by his fond recalls at the concelebrated mass presided over by the Bishop of Mangalore  Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza at Bondel Church in Mangalore on Monday.

Speaking on the occasion, the Bishop paid rich tributes to the qualities of head and heart of Fr Monteiro. He said that as a student of  Fr Monteiro at the Seminary, he learnt lessons from him in one year which stood him in good stead ever since.

Preaching the homily at the thanksgiving mass, Fr Joseph Martis, Rector of  St Joseph’s Seminary, recalled his happy and enriching experience as teacher and then as a co-professor with Fr Monteiro.

Rector of St Aloysius College Institutions Fr Joseph Rodrigues SJ, presided over the post- thanksgiving Mass programmes in the church hall and unveiled and blessed a 7-foot tall glass-fiber statue of Risen Christ, mounted on a 7-feet tall marble-clad pillar installed by Fr Monteiro’s family as a centenary memorial to him.

About Fr Sylvester

Born on October 8, 1912, Fr Sylvester joined Jesuit Novitiate on July 11, 1934 and was ordained a priest on November 21, 1948.

He was assigned to St Joseph’s College, Bangalore, where he served as Minister of the community, Vice-Principal in 1957 and he came to St Joseph’s Seminary, Mangalore, as Professor of Philosophy. In April 1959, he was appointed Rector of St Aloysius College and its Principal.

From 1961 to 1966, Fr Sylvester guided as Provincial, the Karnataka Jesuit Province, taking part in 1965 in the Jesuit General Congregation, in Rome, which integrated insights of the Second Vatican Council into the Jesuit Way of Life.

After handing over the leadership as Provincial, Fr Sylvester returned to St Joseph’s Seminary in 1970, where for 24 years he spent himself in the formation of hundreds of priests and a few bishops, as Professor of Philosophy, Spiritual Animator and Counselor, Section Minister and several other priestly ministries, especially for priests and religious, and writing spiritual books in Konkani, Kannada and English.

When the seminary administration was to be handed over to the diocesan clergy, Fr Sylvester opted for St Aloysius College, where, except for two years as Chaplain to the Sisters of Queen of the Apostles at Vamanjoor, he spent his last four years as animator of the Jesuit community, as friend and guide of several lay people, and above all as writer of spiritual books.

Beyond his public persona of a no-nonsense priest, Fr Sylvester was an earthy, compassionate man.

Most of his private time was devoted to study and writing on spiritual matters till he passed away on November 18, 2000.

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