Raul Gonsalves, First Son of the Soil to Lead Church in Goa, Dies at 95 | Goa News


Panji: Raúl Gonsalves, the archbishop who led the Catholic Church in Goa for 37 years and was the first Son of the Soil to lead the historic Archdiocese, died on Friday after a brief illness. He was 95 years old.
Gonsalves, a native of Bambolim, served as Archbishop of Goa from 1978 until his retirement in 2004. He previously served as Bishop and Apostolic Administrator. For ten years (1994-2004), his eventual successor, Filipe Neri Ferrao, whom he consecrated bishop, was his auxiliary. After Gonsalves retired, he held the title of archbishop emeritus and maintained a low profile.
“He has made a very significant contribution to the life and mission of the Church in India,” Archbishop and Cardinal-elect Ferrao said on Friday, calling his predecessor a “zealous and courageous pastor of the Church of Goa.” . “The whole Church of Goa and Daman joins me in thanking the Heavenly Father for gifting Archbishop Raul to us and in praying for his eternal rest in the arms of our Risen Lord, whom he served so faithfully and generously.
Gonsalves, who led the Church through the uncertain waters it navigated after Liberation in 1961, has been credited with the financial reorganization of the Archdiocese, as well as the economic stability it enjoys today. He also constituted the first diocesan pastoral council and prepared a historic pastoral plan for the archdiocese, emphasizing the establishment of parish pastoral councils and small Christian communities.
Gonsalves was ordained a priest at age 23 in Rome. During his stay in the Eternal City, he obtained a doctorate in sacred theology and a license in canon law. On his return to Goa, he was appointed professor of theology at the seminary of Rachol, which he had attended during his formation for the priesthood. He then served as secretary at the apostolic nunciature in New Delhi.
In 1967 he returned to Goa and was appointed auxiliary to the apostolic administrator, Francisco Rebello, a position he held until his consecration to the episcopate two months later by Cardinal James Knox. In 1978, Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Goa and Daman and Patriarch of the East Indies. In 1986 he led the Church in welcoming Pope Saint John Paul II to Goa.
At the time of his death on Friday, Gonsalves had been a priest for 71 years and a bishop for 55.
“He faced and dealt with controversial issues, taking his time to decide, spending hours praying, discussing, weighing the pros and cons, before deciding and sticking to his decisions even in the midst of misunderstandings and disagreements. threats,” said Fr. Barry Cardozo, director of the Diocesan Social Media Center. “He was willing to do what he could and to leave in the hands of the Lord what he knew he could not do. These qualities kept him where a less gifted leader might have succumbed to severe depression, physical draining of energies, or even despair.
Gonsalves’ funeral will be held at Se Cathedral, Old Goa, the mother church of the Archdiocese, on July 4 at 4 p.m., Cardozo said. Until then, his mortal remains will be kept at the Chapel of the Foyer du Clergé, Porvorim, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for all those who wish to pay their last respects.


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