Udupi: Tearful farewell to Fr. Denis Castelino, Bishops of Mangalore and Udupi offer Requiem Mass

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By Dr. Eugene DSouza
Bellevision Media Network

Udupi/M’Belle, 04 Feb: Over three thousand people paid their last respect to late Fr. Denis Castelino, native of Devaragudde, Moodubelle who had served in various parishes of the erstwhile Mangalore Diocese who had passed away on 1 February 2019 at St. Joseph Vaz Senior Priests Home, Jeppu, Mangalore. As per his last wish, his mortal remains were brought to Moodubelle on Monday, 4 February 2019 and was interned in the church cemetery after the Requiem Mass jointly offered by Most Rev Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha- Bishop of Mangalore Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo-Bishop of Uudpi Diocese and many other priests both from Mangalore and Udupi Dioceses. 


Earlier in the morning, a special Requiem Mass was for late Fr. Denis Castelino was offered at the Chapel in St. Joseph Vaz Senior Priests Home at 11 am. Thereafter, the mortal remains were brought to his ancestral home at Devaragudde, Moodubelle at 1.30 pm where the family members, relatives, neighbours and ward members mourned  and paid their last respect.


Fr. Clement Mascarenhas, Parish Priest of Moodubelle conducted a brief prayer service and blessed the mortal remains of Fr. Denis Castelino at 2.15 pm. Thereafter, the  body was taken to the church with funeral procession through the main road of Moodubelle township.



The body of Fr. Denis Castelino was kept for public viewing and to pay respect in front of the main altar from 2.30 pm till 3.45 pm. Hundreds of people from Moodubelle parish as well as neighbouring parishes and those parishes where he had served lined up to have the last glimpse of late Fr. Denis Castelino. Vinay Kumar Sorkae, former MLA of Kaup Constituency too paid his last respect to Fr. Denis Castelino. A number of priests paid their respect to him as well.


On behalf of the parishioners of Stella Maris Church, Kalmady, Fr. Alban D’Souza and the Parish Council members offered flower wreath and paid respect to Fr. Denis Castelino who was instrumental in initiating the devotion to Our Lady Of Vailankanni in that church which has been developing as a pilgrim centre.


Fr. Clement Mascarenhas along with Vice President of Parish Council Vincent Fernandes and Secretary Mrs Latha D’Mello along with Gurkars from 23 Wards of the parish paid their respect to Fr. Denis Castelino by placing floral wreathes on the coffin of Fr. Denis.


The Requiem Mass was offered by Most Rev. Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha and Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo along with other priests.


Delivering the homily on this occasion, Fr. Alban D’Souza, Parish Priest of  Stella Maris Church, Kalmady said that death is the gate to eternal life in heaven. Fr. Denis Castelino lived his priestly life in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ. He served the poor and marginalized and left lasting impact on the communities that he had served. He endeavoured to spread the Gospel of Jesus through his words and deeds. He lived an exemplary life that is worth emulating by one and all.



At the end of the Requiem Mass, Fr. Clement Mascarenhas expressed gratitude to the Bishops of Mangalore and Udupi for concelebrating the requiem Mass. He also expressed thanks to all priests and appreciated the funeral arrangements which were being done by the nephews of Fr. Denis Castelino. 


Most Rev. Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha, on behalf of Mangalore Diocese expressed gratitude to the doctors and nurses of Fr. Mulllers Hospital for treating Fr. Denis Castelino and also the resident priests of St. Joseph Vaz Senior Priests Home for helping Fr. Denis in various ways. He also thanked Fr. Clement Mascarenahs for organizing the funeral of Fr. Denis Castelino at St. Lawrence Parish, Moodubelle.


At the end of the Mass, Fr. John Fernandes paid rich tribute to Fr. Denis Castelino. He said that Fr. Denis Was such a priest who was loved by all people especially the poor and marginalized  as well as Dalits as he had great love and concern for them. He had very good ideas such as Community Marriages for the poor  which he had initiated while he was Assistant Parish priest in Rosario Cathedral, Mangalore which are still continued and Jeevan Jyothi Camps for the tenth standard students which are still organized in both Mangalore and Udupi Diocese.


Following the eulogy, Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo recited the final prayers and blessed the mortal remains of Fr. Denis Castelino by sprinkling holy water and incensing. Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha also did the same.



Thereafter, people went in procession to the cemetery. The coffin containing the mortal remains of Fr. Denis Castelino was carried by young priests in accordance with the tradition of funeral of priests.


After blessing of the grave and final prayers in the cemetery, the mortal remains of Fr. Denis Castelino was covered by Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha after the family members paid their last respect. The coffin was closed and slowly lowered in the grave.


Moodubelle had never seen such an elaborate funeral in recent history of the parish. Having hailed as the “Peoples Priest”, Fr. Denis Castelino chose to be with his own people of the parish and became the first priest to be buried among the common people in the cemetery.


The funeral  arrangements  were meticulous and flawless. There was very good time and crowd management. There was order and discipline among the people. A number of volunteers helped in conducting the entire funeral in an orderly manner including in the cemetery.  


Fr. Denis D’Sa, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Health Church, Shirva and Dean of Shirva Varado anchored the entire funeral service and gave proper directions to the people to follow during the entire service.


As the sun was setting in the west, one of the most revered and loved priest hailing from Moodubelle passed into memory.


On a personal note, Fr. Denis Castelino being my immediate neighbor had been my childhood friend. Being elder to me by one and half year, he along with late Fr. Valerian Castelino was my close friend. I had the good fortune of visiting him in all the parishes that he had served. I still remember the childhood days that we had spent together playing, working in fields, attending masses, performing small plays and many other such memories.  

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Comments on this Article
Maurice Menezes, Belle/Udupi Tue, February-5-2019, 11:44
My heart felt condolences to all family members and all Parish communities on sad demise of Rev Fr Denis Castelino who was my esteemed friend and prayer for repose in heaven of his noble soul. Great appreciation for Bishops of Udupi and Mangalore and Parish Priest of Belle and Parishioners for organizing funeral with burial at Belle Cemetary with honour and tributes to Peoples Priest Fr Denis.May God Bless all.
Romell Menezes, Uppinakudru/ Sagar (Shimoga Doicese) Tue, February-5-2019, 7:24
Dear Eugene Baba, Marvellously covered the entire burial of Fr.Dennis. My mother who is 3 yrs elder to Fr.Dennis used to always share the childhood experiences, even though far from Moodubelle but by "Bellevision" I always feel that I am very near. Thanks for covering in a wonderful manner
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