13 Obituary

posted Sep 7, 2017, 1:42 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 7, 2017, 1:42 AM ]

Homily preached at the funeral of Fr Joseph Vincent

St Paul in the first reading (Rom 8:14-23) reminds us that God sets us free to be His children. Enabled by His Spirit, we call God "Abba, Father." Fr Joseph Vincent enjoyed this relationship with God, and helped others to grow in this relationship. Through his interactions and the spiritual guidance he gave, he invited people to have a childlike trust in God, and share in the life of the Trinity.

St Paul states that as children of God, we are also heirs of God. As heirs, we inherit the riches of God's Kingdom - peace, love, truth, justice, grace and holiness. When society speaks about freedom, it emphasises the options one has to have more possessions or to find pleasure in things. But for a Christian, the freedom that God gives leads to a realisation that nothing else matters. It is because the person has found that treasure of great price that gives meaning to life and animates one's whole being. A disciple of the Lord has found his/her heart's desire, namely, God himself revealed in Christ. Fr Joseph Vincent lived a life of simplicity and detachment. He knew where his true treasure lay, and so he was free from anxiety. This was seen in his jovial spirit and cheerful attitude in all circumstances. He was fondly called 'Maharaj' right from his seminary days. It was probably because of a role he played in one of the seminary dramas. Whatever the reason and the circumstance, Fr Joseph Vincent knew who his true King, Master and Lord was. He lived his life in obedience and dedication to God, loving and serving God his King.

Fr Joseph Vincent served in ten parishes in the Archdiocese of Bombay - Jacob Circle, Dadar (W), Goregaon (E), Parel, Kurla, KanjurMarg, Thane, Dombivli, Powai and Pestomsagar. As he proclaimed the Word and administered the Sacraments, he helped people encounter Christ and experience the freedom that God gives. Through listening to the sharings of people, he sensed the "smell of the sheep". He realised their problems and reached out to those in need. In his ministry, there were two areas to which he gave special attention: (i) He was the Spiritual Director of the Kerala Catholic Association, animating their activities and helping its members to grow as disciples of the Lord. (ii) He also realised that there were many people suffering and in pain, due to illness, and so he focused on the health apostolate. While he was at St Paul Church, Parel, he came in contact with a number of people through his visits to the many hospitals in that area. He had earlier done a course in alternative medicine, and with his knowledge of home remedies, he did his bit to reach out to those in pain. St Paul (in the first reading) speaks of Creation groaning and longing for the revelation of God. Fr Joseph Vincent heard the groans of the sick, and brought to them the consolation and healing of God.


Remembering Fr Ashlyn Fonseca

For those of you who knew Fr Ashlyn well, you would agree that he was jovial, fun loving and caring.

For those of you who didn't have the pleasure of knowing him well, you'd still know that he was calm, kind and generous.

Over the years, Fr Ashlyn had been posted at nine parishes. Our family has always noticed that the parishioners of each parish were even more fond of him than the parishioners of the previous parishes. It's because Fr Ashlyn, as generous as he was, was also a gracious receiver. He was constantly learning and bettering himself, so he could serve God and the people better than before.

Fr Ashlyn was a beacon of calm, never showing signs of fear or stress. Even when his room was ransacked and robbed, and he was beaten up, he always displayed a calm and soothing face, accepting God's will.