Sea of Mourners Bid a Tearful Adieu to Fr Patrick Rodrigues
“We will all think of you in silence. We often speak your name, now all we have are memories and your picture in a frame. Your memory is our keepsake with which we’ll never part. God bless you in his keeping, but we’ll always have you in our hearts and in our memories. You are sadly missed by everyone at Fr Muller Institution, your relatives and friends. While we look at your picture, you seem to smile and say, ‘Don’t be sad but take courage, and love each other for my sake’. We will do that, we promise, Dear Fr Patrick”
Mangaluru/Bantwal: “He Came, He Saw, He Conquered”- the hearts of many people that he associated and came in contact with. The thousands of people who thronged the Infant Jesus Church at Modankap in Bantwal Tq on Sunday, 26 March 2017 showed that how close and affectionate was Fr Patrick Rodrigues to the people that he mingled with. His wish was that when he dies, he should be buried in the Church where he was baptised, and be laid to rest beside his family members. The crowd that attended his funeral were predominately mixed comprising of a large number of priests, nuns, doctors, nurses, medical/nursing students, teachers, his hometown people, and everyone – young and old.
The funeral mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Mangaluru diocese- Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, along with Archbishop of Bengaluru Dr Bernard Moras, Vicar General of Mangaluru diocese-Msgr Denis Moras Prabhu, Bishop of Udupi-Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Former Bishop of Mumbai-Patrick Percival Fernandes (retired), Kalaburagi Bishop- Dr Robert Miranda, Director-in-charge FMCI- Fr Richard Coelho; Fr Peter Noronha- Former Director of FMCI; Fr Vincent Saldanha- Administrator, FMHMC and H; Fr Roshan Crasta- Administrator, FMH-Thumbay; Fr Ajith Menezes- Asst. Administrator, FMMCH; Fr Sylvester Lobo- Asst. Administrator, FMHMC and H, among other clergies. Among the VIP’s and well-wishers who paid their final respect to Fr Patrick were Congress Chief whip MLC Ivan D’Souza and MLA J R Lobo.
In his homily, Dr Bernard Moras said, “We have lost an icon and a person who raised Fr Muller Institution to greater heights. More than a priest he was an excellent human being who followed in the footpath and served Jesus Christ and also gave the best in healthcare service for the people, in and out of Mangaluru. During his 66 years of life on this Earth, Fr Patrick had set an example to everyone. His way of life and service to humanity is something that we should follow. Even though Fr Rodrigues is no more with us, but he is still alive in our hearts and souls. May his soul Rest In Peace. Amen”.
Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza also speaking during the mass said, “Fr Patrick Rodrigues as a priest fought a good life serving Jesus Christ and everyone at Fr Muller’s with dedication, commitment and determination. Everyone at Fr Muller’s need to follow in his footsteps, thereby raise the institution to greater heights and bring name and glory to the institution. Fr Patrick was a man of good faith and spiritual qualities, he served the institution with determination and to the fullest of his capacities. All the infrastructures at FMMC are his initiatives, which we all should commend him for that. He will be missed by all”.
Dr Robert Miranda, Bishop of Kalaburagi, a very close pal of Fr Patrick, paying homage to his soul said, “Fr Patrick’s service at St John’s Medical College – Bengaluru and as a Director of FMCI for a decade need to appreciated by all of us. Even though he was suffering from the deadly disease called Cancer for the last couple of years, he never showed any laziness nor depression, instead rendered excellent and dedicated service to Fr Muller Institution in particular and to the society in general. He was loved and respected by everyone, and he showed his love and respect back. During his last hours of death I was beside him, and holding his hands I said a prayer asking God to give him strength and courage. I very much miss my dearest friend, Fr Patrick”.
Dr Maxim D’Costa, brother-in-law of Fr Patrick also paid homage, and thanked everyone who supported and cared for Fr Patrick during the time of his illness. Following the Mass, the large number of mourners were allowed to pay their respect to the soul of Fr Patrick, due to the space availability at the cemetery only the family members, few priests and those closely associated with Fr Patrick were allowed to bid a tearful adieu, while rest of the crowd watched on CCTV placed around the Church premises.
I truly believe Fr Patrick Rodrigues is at peace and is united with his dear ones and friends in heavenly bliss. I end this column with the lyrics from the hymn “Precious Lord” sung by Jim Reeves and also by Elvis Presley:
“Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home
When my way grows drear, precious Lord linger near
When my light is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home
When the darkness appears and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand