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A life in history that refuses to be relegated to history

As Fr Nascimento Jose Mascarenhas slips into the next life, he leaves behind a tremendous sense of loss to the Church in Goa and society at large. Yet, in this hour of darkness, we can see a star shining bright. Its golden glow gives us hope as we see a powerful legacy left by Mascarenhas. His monumental work in the field of Church history, coupled with a towering, humane personality, has left a mark in every Goan heart.
As a man of letters, Masarenhas was a prolific writer and researcher. His colossal work of collecting and documenting data has made his contribution invaluable to historians of the future.
Some of his best books include The Proclaimers God’s Kingdom from Goa to Lisboa, Mormugao’s Rich Heritage, Follow Me Series: Parish Priests of the Parishes of Bardez, Parish Priests of the Parishes of Ilhas, Parish Priests of the Parishes of Salcete and Mormugao, and The Land of the Sal Tree. Notably, despite having health issues that included heart problems, Mascarenhas’ commitment and passion for writing and research showed no decline. He literally hopped from the hospital bed to his writing desk several times, showing admirable resolve and grit.
Born and brought up in the village of the Sal tree, which we call Saligao, he received his initial education from Saligao Union and Mater Dei Institution in the same village. He then joined the minor seminary in Saligao and later, the patriarchal seminary at Rachol. He was ordained priest on April 26, 1970, at Vasco da Gama.

Mascarenhas served the Church in various capacities in different parts of Goa, including Panaji, Guirim, Chinchinim, Porvorim, and in recent years, Loutolim, Moira, Rachol, Mapusa, Vasco da Gama and Margao.
Although death has taken him away from us, his mammoth volume of work refuses to fall into silence. It stands tall and proclaims all that one needs to know of the Christian History of Goa and Goans. In fact, without Mascarenhas’ prodigious acumen for history, the precious documentation that he has produced would have been lost in the mist of history.
While we lay this great servant of Goa and the Church to rest, we pray that God grants him eternal reward for his labour. We also hope that the generations to come will follow his inspirational legacy and produce Goan Christian history that will enrich our society. For, only by following the trail of this great servant of Goa and Christianity will our grief and sorrow be transformed into strength.
The writer is a professor at Rachol Seminary.

 

This article was first published on 9th Jan 2017 on times of india

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