Mangaluru: “Fr Ronnie Prabhu always had kind and encouraging words: “You are doing a great job, keep up your good work.” said one professor of St Aloysius College; “Fr Ronnie Prabhu did not die of old age, but of sickness and excessive hardship he willingly undertook for the love of God. Masses have been going up for the repose of Fr Ronnie’s soul not only here but practically everywhere around the globe” said a clergy; “The Father lived a very holy life on earth, and remembering that, I am consoled as God has called him to rest. But he is still near us, and we all have an advocate in heaven. He will do much for Jesuit community and for us from above’ said one close friend of Fr Ronnie.
“He was so humble and would not like much publicity, but we are the people who need such publicity for our own imitation and consolation. I have no doubt that Father Ronnie will be honoured in heaven. He died as he lived, a man of God. A great loss to the Jesuit community and all of us. But we do not know the mind of the Lord. Fr. Ronnie will be on the Throne of God- I am glad that we have a very powerful intercessor before the Throne of God” said an elderly lady who had close association with Fr Ronnie Prabhu for decades.
These kind words of sympathies and many more were heard from colleagues, students, well-wishers and friends of Late Fr Ronnie Prabhu before they entered the Eric Mathias Hall at St Aloysius College for an Inter-Religious prayer service/Condolence Meet for the departed soul of Rev Fr Ronnie Prabhu SJ on Monday, 24 August. Dr.Vinaya Hegde, Chancellor of Nitte University, Yenepoya Javed of Yenepoya Institutions, and Joe Gonsalves, close friend of Fr Ronnie from Mangaluru, among many others were present to express their condolences.
The condolence prayer meeting began with welcome address, followed by a Bhajan by Fr Denzil Lobo-Rector of St Aloysius College accompanied by St Aloysius College music group. Fr Francis Almeida delivered the formal prayer, which was followed by lighting of the lamp by Former Bishop of CSI -Mangalore Diocese, Rev Fr Furtado along with Fr Denzil and Fr Francis Almeida.
In his condolence message addressed to the audience, Vinay Hegde said, ” Hearing Fr Ronnie’s death news was very distressing moment in my life. We were college mates at St Aloysius in 1950, and we spent time together. During centenary celebrations of St Aloysius College in 1980, I was very much involved in it, along with Fr Ronnie Prabhu. During our college days, I remember Fr Ronnie being very disciplined and religious, and I had a feeling that he would be a priest- and I was right. He had a friendly nature and always smiling- and for the first time I saw a Jesuit priest so social and always mingling with the society. Fr Ronnie did bring a change in the outlook of a priest”.
” I feel sad to inform that due to high fever I couldn’t go to Bengaluru to attend Fr Ronnie’s funeral, but when I had called him when he was bedridden and asked how he was, he said that he was quite young like our college days. Fr Ronnie will always be a role model for me. Surely, the Jesuit community will miss him, his colleagues will miss him, and the whole community of friends and well-wishers will miss him- but Fr Ronnie Prabhu will always be in our hearts. May his soul rest in peace” added Vinay Hegde.
Joe Gonsalves in his condolence message said, ” Fr Ronnie was a close friend of our family, and he had graced so many of our family functions. My heart is sad to note that a great family friend is no more. He charmed everyone with his smile and jovial talk-he was an extra-ordinary person with great personal qualities that has endeared all of us. In Fr Ronnie’s death I have lost a great friend, and the Jesuits have lost a great champion. But Fr Ronnie’s spirit will always remain with us forever. Someone as special as Fr Ronnie will never be forgotten. He will remain in our hearts forever. May his soul rest in peace”
Yenepoya Javed recalling his college days at St Aloysius paid rich tribute to Fr Ronnie Prabhu, and in his condolence message said, ” Fr Ronnie Prabhu was always smiling, most humble, very spiritual and very much loved by students of St Aloysius College. He was friendly with students and had made a difference in students lives as their mentor/rector- by walking with them, journeying together with them, interacting with them at the most special moments of their lives, the greatest joys and the deepest sorrows. Therefore everyone at St Aloysius respected and adored him as a religious leader, a devoted priest, a religious educator of and as a true role model. He was always courteous and ready to assist any student in need regardless of their religion or way of life. We all should follow in Fr Ronnie’s footsteps to be better citizens. Sadly missed, may his soul rest in peace”.
Professor Dr Ravindraswamy and two students from St Aloysius College namely, Anup Veigas and Ajzal read verses from Bhagavageetha, Bible and Quran respectively. Dr AM Narahari-Registrar at St Aloysius College, Professor Charles Pais-Registrar at St Agnes College, and Prof. Rajshekar-Registrar at Nitte University also shared their memories and their associations with Fr Ronnie Prabhu in their condolence messages. The vote of thanks was proposed by Fr Swebert D’Silva- Principal of St Aloysius College, and Dr Alwyn D’Sa- professor at SAC compered the religious condolence meet. While the crowd paid floral tribute to the portrait of Fr Ronnie Prabhu, Fr Denzil Lobo along with the Asha Kiran Brothers rendered the concluding hymn.
The life story of Fr Ronnie Prabhu is so inspiring when we hear so much negative news about the priesthood. Like so many faithful priests, Fr. Prabhu lived his priesthood with all his heart, not seeking any recognition, yet, he light shined bright for all to see. Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen