Fr. Agnelo a rare friend for us
Our heavenly Father has a definite plan, a loving eternal ideal for each one of us. The Abba cares for what we do with our life. God who created us in His own image cannot be indifferent to the material future of his child. He has “blessed” us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ and, who, before the world was made, chose us in Christ, to be holy and sportless and to love through love (Eph. 1:4).
Agnelo was His chosen one and right from his birth be excelled as “very special one”. The day he was born, his father saw a bright shooting star and he predicted “This my son is destined to be holy”. Gifted with virtues and God fearing parents, Agnelo inherited their zeal and apostolic spirit. Even at a tender age, he proved to be a brilliant, sharing unusual eagerness to learn Christian doctrine and became so proficient, that soon he took up the task of teaching other children, even though some of them were older than he. Even as a young boy, Agnelo evoked a singular admiration from his relatives and village neighbours. Parents of other children encouraged them to go and be with Agnelo. They were moved to listen to his cute stories and touching “sermons”.
A GENTLE CHERUB
Agnelo “agnes in Latin” means a little lamb, but his mother called him QUEROBINO. He was gentle as a lamb and candid like a cherub. Well, he was a strict, disciplinarian, reserved and ascetic, but ever so sweet, affectionate and most accessible person to others. Never did he get disturbed, even at the gravest mistakes of his students.
He walked in the path of His MASTER who gave up might and grandeur to be meek, human and a weak member of our race.
I have heard touching stories from Fr. Agnelo's life that speak volumes about his affectionate character and human personality.
Agnelo was spirit filled person and had an unusual power to touch and transform the lives of others.
Dr. Leon Pinto from Calangute testifies that once he was facing a very difficult situation and had become disturbed and nervous. Providentially, Fr. Agnelo came and looked at him most tenderly, held him in his hands and blessed him. Soon he was deeply comforted and filled with great peace. Dr. Leon states that he could never forget this of Fr. Agnelo.
My paternal uncle Valente Fernandes who had the privileged to go to confession with Fr. Agnelo used to tell me often “after confessing one's sins to Fr. Agnelo, one would experience perfect peace and never want to commit the same sins again.”
My grandfather told me another beautiful story. He lived at Goa Velha, a village where the Pilar Monastery is situated. Francis Fernandes (Morgad) was a tailor who often worked at Pilar. He had planted chilies in his kitchen garden. Morgad had toiled hard, watered and manured the plants. But, they yielded no fruit. He uprooted one of those plants and brought it to Fr. Agnelo. He looked at the plant, pulled out a branch and returned with this advice “go and plant it again. It will yield fruits”. Within two or three weeks Morgad was amazed to see the plants bearing chilies in abundance. The village folk remember it till date.
Fr. Agnelo ascetic and a strict disciplinarian with himself, he was a fine human being, generous to the core, who even if antagonized, his compassion for the others did not abandon him.
Soaked with Jesus.
Mathew (Mt. 13:44) speaks about a man who by chance found a hidden treasure. After covering it again, he went to sell all that he had to buy the field and posses this rare treasure.
Paul was soaked with Christ. Paul wanted to vanish entirely. “For to me life is Christ and death is gain” (Phil. 1:20) “Who will ever separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:35)
Fr. Agnelo too make Jesus the only treasure of his life. He relished hours together in His presence in the Sacrament. “There was a rare glow when he prayed before the Blessed Sacrament”, testifies his sacristan who accompanied him even during late hours at night. Fr. Agnelo's physiognomy became seraphic when celebrating the Eucharist and his countenance appeared to be transfigured from the moment of consecration. Fr. Agnelo had an intense devotion of the Sacred Heart and it was a delight to hear him speak of Jesus and of His passionate love for us. Indeed he inflamed the hearts of his seminarians and the people with the devotion of Sacred Heart. Yes, he belongs to all races, castes and needs. Far and wide, he showers favours and grace on all of us.