Fr Agnelo was a true disciple of Christ
On every Thursday and especially from 11th to 20th November, many devotees flock to Pilar or climb the hillock of Pilar to thank God for the favours received through the intercession of Ven. Fr. Agnelo.
Rev. Fr. Remedios do Rosario Gomes, a member of the Old society of Pilar and a colleague of Fr. Agnelo wrote: When our Pilar Society was steadily diminishing in number, I was planning to join some other congregation, preferably the Salesians. I consulted the Superior Msgr. Lucio Vaz, Fr. Thomas. F. D.Souza, the Vicar-General and finally, Fr. Agnelo, who told me as follows: “Don't be afraid, the Pilar Society is not doing to die. The finger of God is here (Pilar)”. On January 10, 1939, the remains of Fr. Agnelo were transferred from Rachol Seminary to the monastery of Pilar on July 2, 1939, the Society of Pilar was Reorganised and Rev. Fr. Remedios do Rosario Gomes, became the first Superior if the reorganised Society of Pilar.
Today, the members of the Society of Pilar, serve dedicatedly not only in Goa and India , but in Europe and America as well. Fr. Agnelo. D'Souza was born on January 21, 1869 at Aujuna, Bardez and was ordained priest on September 24, 1898. In his 29 years of priesthood, Fr. Agnelo spent first ten years (1898-1908) preaching sermons and giving retraats, especially at the Pilar monastery. The second ten years (1908-1918) Fr. Agnelo worked in Pilar Society Missions of Kumta, Shiroda and Sanvordem and the last ten years (1918-1927), Fr. Agnelo was appointed spiritual director of Rachol Seminary.
Today, even after 78 years of his saintly death, Fr. Agnelo's tomb at Pilar attracts countless devotees from all over the world to give thanks for favours received, to seek his powerful intercession in their needs and to pray for his canonization. Though weak in health, Fr. Agnelo was a good preacher. He preached novenas and retreats and it is said that his sermons were very simple and intelligible to all, which flowed from a very saintly and virtue practicing priest. Fr. Agnelo could probe the hearts and minds of the people who came to him for advice and counselling.
About the preaching of Fr. Agnelo, Frei Irineu, OCD, said: “His sermons were simple, gentle discourses, resembling if I may dare to say so,. our Lord's sermon on the mount. He disliked flowery, pietistic phrases and spoke a child-like language that everybody could easily understand, with such success that lukewarm and indifferent hearts changed their mode of living and became fervent Catholics. He preferred to dwell more on the fundemental doctrines of our religion such as the commandments and the eternal truths and he laboured to drive home the necessity of prayer and penance, which he himself practiced to a high degree.” Fr. Agnelo's brightest dream was to spend his life for others. Once a poor woman knocked at his door and told him that she could not get her daughter married for lack of money. That day Fr. Agnelo was penniless. However he borrowed money from a professor and gave the same to the woman.
In Rachol Seminary, Fr. Agnelo was pained to see a seminarian failing in his exams. So he wrote to his colleague, a professor of Rachol seminary as follows: “Be kind and helpful to this boy who had been failing for the third time.”
Msgr. Claudio Alvares, who knew very well Fr. Agnelo in Rachol Seminary, bearing witness about Fr. Agnelo said: “Fr. Agnelo was quiet,. simple and loveable person and he could never neglect those who came for his help.”
Today, Ven. Fr. Agnelo reminds us that we too should do the same in this era of hate and terrorism. Venerable Fr. Agnelo followed the advice of Christ by loving poorest of the poor. During his lifetime, Fr. Agnelo showed that he was a true disciple of Christ by loving God and his fellowmen.