VOICES OF VEN. FR. AGNELO’S DEVOTEES
As we are on the threshold of the 78th Death Anniversary of Ven. Fr. Agnelo, our correspondent Stanley Pereira interviewed some of his devotees on a Thursday at Pilar. Let us read what the latter have to say.
Mr. Antonio Camilo from Cortalim: After completing my High School in 1980, I started coming here and I still continue to do the same every Thursday without fail. I came to know about Fr. Agnelo through my mother who too was a devotee. At present I am a taxi driver and before I get on to my business I come here for the 6:30 mass in the morning. I have received a lot of favours through Fr. Agnelo and I make it a point to come here with my family whenever they have holidays and pray for his sainthood and also for our health. I speak about him to my near and dear ones - to go to Pilar and ask him with an open heart and surely he will grant your needs. As I am a taxi driver I tell my customers too to go to Pilar and visit the son of Goa and pour out their problems. Praying that God will grant us Goans a Saint.
Soganyam Parab: I am a Hindu lady from Calangute. I did not know about Fr. Agnelo, only the last month I came to know about him through a neighbour who regularly comes to Pilar. She told me that Fr. Agnelo cures and helps those in need. At first I was hesitant, then I said I'll just go and see. After coming here I felt peaceful and felt like praying and that's why I continued to come here. Last Thursday I failed to come because I missed the bus. Today I have come alone. I make this devotion because my shoulder is paining and want it cured. I offer flowers and candles and pray to Fr.Agnelo and now I am feeling better.
Mrs. Assumption Fernandes from Cavelossim: I am coming to Pilar for the last six months. Today many of us have come from my village by arranging a special vehicle. I am doing this devotion because I am a diabetic patient and already one of my toes has been amputated. Sometimes I get severe headaches; kidney problems and all such complications. Secondly my son does not go to church and my husband drinks. Therefore I come to Fr.Agnelo for help. I am worried about my son and daughter. After praying to Fr. Agnelo I am feeling a bit relaxed and ask his help not to argue/ fight with my husband when he drinks. I did hear about him when I was small. He is a God-fearing man who helps others and even after being sick went to preach the word of God and that people flocked to him to listen to his sermons.
Mrs. Jennifer Diniz from Tilamol, Kepem: I am a housewife and I come to Pilar by bus. Though it is tiring to climb the hill and more so the steps I don't mind because I come to pray to him with faith. When I prayed in front of his tomb I felt relaxed and peaceful. My husband spoke to me about Fr. Agnelo and now I also come with my mother-in-law. When asked why she is making this devotion she smiling replies that it is “personal” but states that once when she was travelling to Mumbai met with an accident and when she prayed to Fr. Agnelo everything was fine. Thus she has deep faith in him.
Darshana Naik from Aldona: I am a Hindu lady from Kittlem. For the last five Thursdays I have been coming here. I come by bus with your people (my neighbour). She told me about Fr. Agnelo and since I felt comfortable I came here. After coming here I felt very much relaxed, free from tension and that's why I continued to come. I have learnt many things from your priest in the puja that you people do. I come here especially to pray for my health. Last Thursday I was given a book on Fr. Agnelo in Marathi by your priest and the photo of Fr. Agnelo with the prayer at the back. I say this prayer every day at home. I also read some things from the book. He hails from Anjuna, when 10 years old his parents died, he taught small children… I now also thought of bringing my sister to Fr. Agnelo. At times I carry the mud and flowers offered to Fr. Agnelo and give to my people and also your people who ask me. I also tell about Fr. Agnelo to others because he cures us from all our sicknesses.
Mrs. Luiza Albuquere from Sanvordem: I am originally from Mandur married in Sanvordem. So from my childhood I used to come to Pilar and the love for Fr. Agnelo continues even after getting married to a far distant place. I had come for the 8:30 mass and since I am late by 15 minutes I decided to stay for the 9:30 mass. When asked how did she feel after traveling a long distance and climbing the stairs when there is the facility of hiring a motorcycle from the Pilar junction, she smiling states that without any penance one can't achieve anything. Even Fr. Agnelo did a lot of penance in his life and today we have him as a model to follow. I have no fixed Thursdays. I come whenever it is possible to me and during holidays I come with my children. I began this devotion when my dad was drinking and Fr. Agnelo has given us a lot. At times I have lots of tensions, problems which never get solved but after coming and praying at his feet I get calmness in the heart and relaxed from all my worries. I do pray the prayer for his beatification everyday, after the rosary. I feel that if you pray to Fr. Agnelo with due faith and hope he never abandons anybody.
Miss Alice Gomes from Raia: I am in standard 8th and I come at Pilar only in holidays by car. I heard about Fr. Agnelo from my parents and friends. I did watch the drama on Fr. Agnelo. I remember that as he was celebrating mass he got heart attack and collapsed. He liked small children and taught them catechism. I come to Pilar with my parents to pray for my health and for others too to give masses for the dead. I like this place very much.
Mrs. Inas Fernandes from Mumbai. Actually I am from Cuncolim and at present residing in Mumbai. I have come for holidays. When I was small I used to come to Pilar with my mom who was a devotee of Fr. Agnelo and then on began the liking of coming to Pilar. I read a lot of material about Fr. Agnelo who was a simple and God fearing man. For me he is a saint though he is not declared so. Whenever I come to Goa I make it a point to visit Fr. Agnelo with my family because whatever we ask he grants, not all. Today I have come here to thank him for the favours we have received and pray for his beatification. I do say the prayer for his beatification. Whenever I come here and pray I get the much-needed inner peace and the whole atmosphere puts me in the praying mood without any disturbance.
Mr. Joaquim Miranda from Fatorda, Margao: I am doing my studies in BSc. Hotel Management and I come to Pilar whenever I get time. I have no fixed Thursdays. I used to come to Pilar with my mom when I was about 8 years old. At times I bring my cousins to Pilar, for this place is peaceful and nice to express one's needs. When asked if he was not disturbed when people were pushing him as he was praying, he stated that if one prays with full concentration and faith whatever one asks one receives. I do recite the prayer for the beatification of Fr. Agnelo. I do speak about him to my friends and tell them to go and visit the tomb of Fr. Agnelo who does a lot of miracles.
Mr. Silvano Leitao from Tolleaband, Chinchinim: I have just come down from ship to visit Fr. Agnelo. I have been coming here from the age of 14-15 with my mother. Whenever I come down I make it a point to come to Pilar and when at home I come 2-3 times to Pilar. The speciality of this place is that I get inner peace. I do this devotion because of my personal problem which is making me sad and now after praying to Fr. Agnelo things are improving considerably. I pray that very soon we may have Fr. Agnelo as a saint for us.
Mrs. Celina Rodrigues from Majorda: I have been coming here from the age of 10 with my parents when I did not know much about Fr. Agnelo. It is only after getting married that I began this devotion to Fr. Agnelo as I required help from him. I feel very much free to talk to him because he is a Goan and more so like our brother who was holy and God- fearing person and therefore I have faith in him who listens to my petitions. I do read about him and also recite the prayer for his beatification. I do instill in the minds of my children love for Fr. Agnelo though they don't understand to be good children like him. My personal experience is that when I was in deep trouble I prayed to Fr. Agnelo with deep faith and my problem got resolved very easily. This week I had planned to for holidays to Mumbai with my family but I postponed the whole programme and have come here to thank him. I pray to God that he may be a saint like blessed Joseph Vaz.
Miss Andria Amara from Mumbai: This is the first time I have come here. I got to know about this place through one of my mom's friends. I have not read anything about Fr. Agnelo but heard from my friends that Fr. Agnelo is a holy person who does a lot of miracles and whatever you ask he grants. By seeing so many devotees I feel that he is really a holy person who touches the lives of people. When asked what her experience is after coming here she states that it is a quiet holy place and whatever she has asked, her wishes will be granted. “I hope to come to this place when I come back to Goa .”