‘Ad Multos Annos’-B’day Wishes to Fr Richard Coelho, Director of FMCI– Looks Too Young To Be 60!

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‘Ad Multos Annos’-(In Latin it means ‘Many Happy Returns’) Birthday Wishes to Fr Richard Coelho, Director of Father Muller Charitable Institutions, Kankanady-Mangaluru(FMCI)– Looks Too Young To Be 60!

Mangaluru: “The priesthood is the love of…..Jesus,” said John Vianney, the 19th-century French priest who is now the patron saint of the Catholic clergy. This ideal to lovingly serve the faith community, is the central focus of the Church’s ordained ministry, according to the catechism. For Catholic Christians, priests are mentors, teachers and friends who celebrate both the ordinary and special events in their lives. Therefore, it is important to find the right priest to share these moments with you – and for that matter, Fr Richard Aloysius Coelho is the right example.” The Son of Man comes not to be served, but to serve,” Jesus said, and, after washing their feet, told his disciples to do what he did. Serving people is what Jesus did, and doing what Jesus did is a privilege – and that’s what Fr Richard Coelho has been doing since his ordination, and now as the DIRECTOR of a renowned and prestigious health care institution-FATHER MULLER CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS (FMCI), MANGALURU, not only in Dakshina Kannada, probably in the entire Country.

For the baby boomer generation, the 60th birthday is a landmark day, in other words turning 60 is a BIG DEAL. It is not only a day to celebrate over half a century of wisdom gained in living, but it also brings you with it a host of never experienced physical constraints and reality checks about getting older. It is not only a day to celebrate over half a century of wisdom gained in living, but it also brings you with it a host of never experienced physical constraints and reality checks about getting older. People who say age is just a number have never turned 60 years old. And for that matter, Fr Richard doesn’t have wrinkles at 60 years old. fr Coelho may be turning 60, but his spirit is forever 30! That means he is still young, just celebrating the 30th anniversary of his 30th birthday. Father, you may have turned 60, but you are still a wonderful work in the making and an inspiration! Enjoy your day! All I can say is that turning 60 for you is merely an arbitrary number; you are as young in heart and spirit as you ever were and always will be! Life is a banquet at 60, so have a brilliant birthday! It’s good to see you in shape at 60 years old.

Standing Left to Right Dr Robert,  John, Helen, Dr Benedicta, Nancy.
Sitting. Fr Richard, Mother Philomena, Father Salvadore, Lucia.
(As per seniority wise: Lucia, John, Nancy, Helen, Fr Richard, Dr Robert, Dr Benedicta. 4 girls and 3 boys)

You have reached 60 amazing years of life and been an inspiration to everyone around you. Hoping the next 60 years are just as good. Bask in all your life experiences and the beautiful memories you have had for the last 60 years, and with many more to come! Fr Richard Coelho is truly an inspiration to many people, young and old, in his daily interaction with doctors, nurses, staff, among others. The inspiration one gets from a humble person’s declaration of humanness and frailty is taken from the Scripture’s words: ” Man does not live on bread alone but by the words of God.” Fr Coelho is a terrific man to know both personally and professionally. He never ceases to amaze anyone with his knowledge, but mostly his humility. He’s very, very well-loved. He’s different. He’s got an openness and a natural way of talking to people.

His Pastoral charity is very much focused on the miserable, flight of poor, needy and sick. He is of the mind of Pope Francis who says “if all people are God-given gifts to us, then the poor are special gifts”. Since FMCI has always helped the suffering poor who come to Father Muller hospital for treatment, Fr Richard has been very compassionate towards the poor and the needy by being kind, sympathetic and generous towards them in their needs. The sick are his beneficiaries. His vision is to become a good human person and to share goodness with others, to build a society of love, Peace and Joy, truly believing in the FMCI motto “Heal and Comfort”.

Transition, including its Search component, is an exciting and blessed process. It is an opportunity for the Spirit to be present in unique ways. It is an opportunity to see through new eyes, decide with a free mind, re-write the future without constraints. It is challenging and time-consuming, but it is an investment well worthwhile. It is frequently described as one of the most intensely gratifying ministries in the Church or Catholic institution., and I think the Bishop of Mangaluru Catholic Diocese Rev Dr Peter Paul D’souza had picked the right person to be at the helm as Director of FMCI- and Fr Coelho after taking up the Director’s post has shown his capacities and governance until this day. Fr Richard has all these abilities and has kept his promises to serve as a good, God-fearing priest and also as a Director of a great health care institution. I am quite sure that the fraternity at FMCI are very grateful to Fr Richard for his loyalty to the FMCI, his wonderful gentleness and humour, his smile and friendliness and for the wonderful things he has done so far for the fraternity of the hospital and those who came to FMCI for treatment and care..

An intelligent man with a great personality with a classic white beard, Fr Richard is also kind and gentle, cheerful and smiling, loving and caring; and he also represents humility and has a way of making his acquaintances feel equally important. People and students are attracted to him because he is kind, soft-spoken, gentle and friendly. He is calm, listens more-talks less. He’s an example to young medical and nursing students coming into the healthcare field and he sets an example to other people about how they should lead their lives. He lives a good life and he lives a life for others. He’s very self-effacing – he doesn’t garner the trappings of consumerism. He has a lot of energy and he doesn’t sit quite.

Fr Ajith Menezes (Administrator-FMMC), Fr Richard Coelho and Fr Rudolph D’Sa (Administrator, FMCI)

Born in a God-fearing and humble Catholic family to Salvadore and Maria Philomena Coelho, in Attur-Karkala on14 June 1961, Fr Richard who is among the seven children in the family grew up with sound Spiritual and moral values under the guidance of his devout parents and other family members. He was kept with a second name as Aloysius, since he was baptized on 21 June being the feast of St Aloysius, he completed SSLC at St Lawrence High School-Karlaka, and PUC at St Aloysius PU College, Mangaluru (178-80); 1980-83 did his BA in Philosophy; 1983-86 -Regency; 1986-88 -Theology (B Th) and did Post Graduation in DBM at St Aloysius College.

He joined the seminary on 30 June 1977 in Jeppu Seminary. He responded to the call of God to be a priest of God, to spend his entire life, which he considered a gift of God to be spent for God and humanity. He began his priestly ministry with love and joy. surrendering himself in the hands of Jesus, his Master. He was ordained as a priest by then Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese Rev Dr Basil D’Souza on 3 May 1988. From the beginning, he resolved to be committed to the mission of building community. He became an effective and shining instrument in the hands of God, for His glory and the service of the people. Therefore we could say that Fr Richard is shining at the age of sixty years in the Vineyard of the Lord.

From 1988-1990 Fr Richard was Assistant Parish Priest at Vittal Church; 1990-91 as Assistant Parish Priest at Madanthyar church; 1991-93 as Asst Director of FMCI; 1993-200 as Parish Priest of Nianad church; 2000-2001 as Director of Family Life Centre; 2001-2008 as Parish Priest of Udayavar Church; 2008-2010 as Parish Priest of Shirva church and Dean; 2010-2017 as Administrator of FMMC&H; and from 2017 till present is the Director of FMCI.T o whatever office he was assigned, he fulfilled his responsibilities and duties faithfully and fruitfully. While performing his priestly ministry, either administrative in an Institution or Pastoral in a Parish, he lived a servant spirituality of his Master Jesus, always available to people, under his care.

Whatever good you do, you should do it better than others who have done it- and for that matter, Fr Richard has gone beyond his limits in doing great things for the Catholic Church, its faithful and general public. Therefore he is appreciated by people who benefited from his services. Being an instrument of God’s mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation has  also been  significant in  his vocation. Fr Richard Coelho is a very calm and simple person, he listens more but replies less, is a quick learner, ever-smiling and always gives respect to others. He looks like a man of 30, with 30 years of rich experience in various fields. He is a man whom other young priests should follow in his footsteps, in serving the Lord and the Catholic community. It is learnt that wherever he served as parish priest or held other designations, he has done his job right and has pleased everyone.

In a short exclusive interview, Team Mangalorean asked-

As a Director what are his plans/ideas to take FMCI to greater heights?

Father replied saying, “FMCI and all other educational institutes have risen to greater heights by giving reality education both in medical, paramedics, and nursing. Education with discipline and Christian values have made a difference here. Parents seek admission to our college because of this. The family atmosphere with spiritual ambience experienced teachers and their commitment. Good infra-structural amenities, approachable and progressive thinking management; planning to add more courses in the Allied Health Sciences disciplines; Increase of seats of UG and PG in Medical college, with available infrastructures and staff if NMC agrees; Increase of super speciality teaching programs like DM in Cardiology, Medical Oncology, MCh in Surgical Oncology and Surgical gastro; Giving a facelift to the old infrastructure to make it patient /student-friendly; Planning for a new super-speciality block, with a corporate set up”.

Q: How is the management coping up with the Covid-19 crisis which has affected the healthcare industry?

Fr Coelho replies saying, “We have made all the required arrangements like Fever Clinic, RTPCR, RAT and separate wards for Covid patients, with ICU beds, ventilated beds and oxygen. We have followed all the guidelines and protocols of the government. 24X7 Covid task force, Counselling, Medical Advice, treatment availability. A lot of patience is needed. We have the satisfaction that so many lives have been saved. Good cooperation by our doctors, PG Interns and angelic loving service by our lovely nurses, Administrators, Assistant Admins, Medical superintendent, Deputy Medical Superintendent, Chief Nursing Officer, and so many other faculty and staff worked with love and care, following our motto “Heal and Comfort’.

Q: What has been your dream come true being at the helm of FMCI as its Director?

Fr Richard- “A lot of requirements by the statutory bodies like NMC, CCH, government protocols and standards to follow. We have fulfilled accreditation like NAAC, NABL, NABH. Now we are trying for NIRF ranking. Most of the requirements like space for departments, OPD, Casualty, and Radiology MRD, Billing etc have been made user friendly with an aesthetic sense.

Q: What do you expect from the doctors, nurses and staff of FMCI towards the suffering humanity?

Fr Coelho “Already most of the faculty and staff are geared towards the expectations of the management. There is no difference between management and others, we work as a family. All are part of health care. It is teamwork. Doctors are in the mainstream and a part of it. So all are doing their best. They are available any time giving good treatment, counsel the patient party and giving good care.

I expect all our doctors, nurses and other support staff to work hand in hand giving an extra mile coming out of the comfort zone and do something more, not only what is expected but go beyond during this pandemic time and give hope, fill strength in the sick and the suffering, not to be panic but be available when needed.

Q: What is your message to your FMCI fraternity, and also to the general public who would seek health care services from FMCI?

Fr Coelho-“For our FMCI fraternity I say that we are all Father Muller family. Let us forget our differences. Let us forget our degree or qualifications and let us be human. Be HUMAN first, then discipline, punctuality, teaching-OPD – surgery-ward rounds, patient care etc, then everything becomes easy. Every patient who suffers is my father, my mother, my brother, my sister, my relative, my friend, son or daughter-if we think so, it is easy. My house is FMCI. It is a culture of love, a civilization of service we should inculcate.

To the general public, I say we are charitable institutions and we are not competing with anyone. “Heal and Comfort” is our motto. The mandate of Jesus Christ goes and does likewise to the Good Samaritans. Pope Francis Fratelli Tutti says the same. It is easy to blame, criticize, but difficult when it comes to us. Let us learn to appreciate, let us speak well of the institutions and doctors, nurses and other health care staff. Let us encourage and let us help each other, to grow in love and humanity. Today, we all face difficulties, economic stroke, but let us hope in the Lord. Everything happens with His Will. Let us learn good lessons from this pandemic. Let us love the institutions because it is built up by the sweat and hard work of so many in the past. Let us not destroy by criticizing but let build up so that the legacy of Father Muller lives on and the mandate of the Lord Jesus Christ is carried forward.

And to all the Mullerians I say, “The entire world has been in chaos and you are aware. The world appears totally disturbed and uncertain. Now, we are better poised to accept and adjust in different ways. Mullerians must know and focus on this superlative institution, set up 140 years ago by its Founder Rev Fr. Augustus Muller SJ, a German Homeopath who came into being when no modern medical aid and knowledge was existing here. Now we must focus on the fact that the roots of this great medical superpower here, matured in a similar Pandemic situation during the Plague and Pestilence of 1918. Indeed a challenge that in the last 100 years has transfigured Rev. Fr Muller’s ad-hoc institute into a mammoth modern medical super-speciality and education hub. So, let us all proceed from 2020 to 2021 with confidence and positive steps which the good Lord Almighty will guard and guide.

Earlier there were many apprehensions regarding seeing/treating Covid patients. Now more acceptance is the norm and the stigma is losing out. Now home isolation/self quarantining is the line followed. People have accepted it as another disease where more care should be given to vulnerable people in the family especially with comorbidity conditions. People have learnt to live with Corona. People have realized the value of health and also the need for health care professionals. We feel how inadequate we are to handle such pandemics! But now all have geared up to handle such pandemics. And we recall how our Founder and early stalwarts have battled and won the wars, now it is our turn and success will come to the courage.

In the interim as a result of the tremendous initiative of the management and dedicated staff, a state-of-the-art environment and new infrastructure is created in a recorded manner. No expense or quality has been spared, and forces of providence have come forward to meet all needs with wisdom and blessing – it makes it imperative to have a positive mind and active effort to see miracles day today. What is needed today is to build a strong health care system on the pillars of the best infrastructure, human resource and capacity building through teaching, training and research. We Mullerians aim to achieve our vision and mission. It is very encouraging in spite of this pandemic, fear, anxiety and misconceptions. Many students for various health care courses like medical, nursing, para-medical and allied have newly joined. If all work together as a team, certainly we will achieve sustainable developmental goals for our country, India. Health for all should be our concern and all should live a healthy life. “Health for all and health literacy for all” should be our slogan. My one-pointed appeal to each and everyone is to educate themselves in the best practices to prevent and fight this COVID and follow all the guidelines sincerely from time to time, remember God watches all.

In conclusion, “It’s your faith that will make you stay strong but it’s your birthdays that make you old. So on this 60th birthday of yours, We pray that your faith in God will grow even stronger, happy birthday, Fr Richard Aloysius Coelho- Best wishes from Team Mangalorean. Ending this column with a poem written by Fr Ajith Menezes-Administrator, Father Muller Medical College-

Ad Multos Annos- Rev. Fr Richard Aloysius Coelho

“Diamond years of a sparkling person with glowing radiance
Hallowed by the Grace of God and emanating kindness to mankind
We Mullerian family here to greet and implore blessings divine
For a fabulous year full of health and strength mirth and cheer

From Karkala in 1961 there came a son of the soil
With a call to work in the vineyard of the Lord
Humble beginnings rooted in virtues and values of Christ
Equipped sufficiently in academics and spirituality
Fr Richard Aloysius Coelho rose as a priest of all seasons

Responding to the call of his superiors, fulfilling their commands
A man of God, embodiment of simplicity and compassion
Ever willing with a smile for others to create a better world
Touched all with an everlasting blessing that multiplied
Broader vision for a bright future to benefit humanity

Fr Coelho stands tall with his humility and foresightedness.
Selfless service, fidelity of faith, integrity of character
Deep rooted priestly virtues and above all
A man of God and His flock is Rev. Fr Richard Aloysius Coelho
May he be blessed a hundredfold and find fulfillment in a diamond years

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