Fr. Raymond DSouza of Prayagraj Diocese celebrates Sacerdotal Silver Jubilee at his native Parish Mo

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By Dr. Eugene DSouza
Bellevision Media Network

Udupi/M’Belle, 25 May 2024: Fr. Raymond D’Souza belonging to St. Lawrence Parish Moodubelle and serving as a priest in the Prayagraj (Allahabad) Diocese since the last 25 years celebrated the Sacerdotal Silver Jubilee at his native parish on Saturday, 25 May 2024 with Solemn Thanksgiving Mass followed by felicitation programme.


Fr. Raymond D’Souza concelebrated the Solemn Thanksgiving Mass as the chief celebrant along with 25 priests at 10 am in St. Lawrence Church.


In his homily, Fr. Charles Menezes-Parish Priest of Mother of Sorrows Church, Udupi and Dean of Udupi Deanery  quoting the Biblical Passage from the Book of Leviticus explained the meaning of Jubilee, that is, the time one looks back and takes a stock of the work he did during a particular period, thank God  and takes rest “A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you; in it you shall neither sow, not reap what grows of itself, nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat what it yields out of the field” (Leviticus 25, 11-12). With reference to this passage, Fr. Charles Menezes said that Fr. Raymond D’Souza has been serving as a priest in the Diocese of Prayagraj for the last 25 years in various capacities and today he thanks God for helping him to serve as a priest and as such offers this solemn Thanksgiving Mass.



Soon after the Mass, a felicitation programme was held in St. Lawrence Parish Hall which was attended by family members and relatives of Fr. Raymond as well as his well-wishers, friends and other parishioners. Along with him Msgr.Reginald D’Souza-Vicar General of Prayagraj Diocese, Msgr. Naresh Lobo-Vicar General of Lucknow Diocese, Fr. Archibald D’Silva-Co-priest of Fr. Raymond and Fr. Paul Sequeira-Toast Master.


Following a brief welcome address by Ms. Anisha D’Souza-Niece of Fr. Raymond, the Silver Jubilee celebration was inaugurated by Fr. Raymond’s brothers, sisters and other relatives along with the dignitaries on the dais lighting a bunch of 25 candles and cutting the cake.


Fr. Paul Sequeira, former Principal of St. Lawrence PU College, Moodubelle and presently Parish Priest of Balkunje  raising the toast started his narration with the famous peom of Rabindranath Tagore “There are numerous strings in your lute, let me add my own among them”. In his toast Fr. Paul traced Fr. Raymond’s family background, initial education, his vocation to priesthood inspired by late Fr. Alexander Lobo and his neighbor late Fr. Michael D’Souza, his ordination and his service in the Prayag Diocese for the last 25 years. Fr. Paul wished him well in his mission.


The siblings of Fr. Raymond, four brothers and seven sister felicitated their beloved brother Fr. Raymond by offering him a giant flower garland along with shawl and ‘peta’. Meanwhile, a group of ward and family members presented a felicitation song.



Msgr Reginald D’Souza in his brief message recalled his initial days tha the spent in the Minor seminary along with Fr. Raymond recalling two hilarious incidents. On behalf of the Prayag Diocese along with co-priest Fr Archibald D’Silva he honoured Fr Raymond with flower garland.


Fr. Raymond D’Souza honoured Msgr. Reginald D’Souza, Fr Archibald D’Silva, Msgr Naresh Lobo and Fr. Paul Sequira by offering them shawls and garlands.


Mrs Lilly Lobo-retired teacher of Belle Church Aided Higher Primary School who was Fr Raymond’s teacher in the third standard, in her message recalled the sensitive nature of Fr. Raymond referring to the Kannada Poem “Punya Koti”. She further said that Fr Raymond possessed a kind heart. 


The teachers and tenth standard batch mates of 1988 of Fr. Raymond honoured Fr Raymond on this occasion.



Replying to the felicitation programme, Fr. Raymond said that he is quite happy and content looking back his service as a priest during the last 25 years. He thanked Almighty God, his late parents, brothers and sisters and all family members, parishioners, friends and well-wishers for their support and good will. His showed his gratitude to his family by garlanding his younger brother Ivan D’Souza who was instrumental in arranging the Silver Jubilee celebration in Moodubelle.


Msgr. Naresh Lobo recited the grace before the meal.


The entire Silver Jubilee Celebration Programme was very well  anchored by Leslie Auroza-Director of the Family Commission of the Udupi Diocese.


A Brief Profile of Fr. Raymond D’Souza

Fr. Raymond D’Souza was born on 3rd June 1971 as the eleventh among twelve children, five sons and seven daughters of Eliza and Denis D’Souza. Raymond had his primary education in the Church Aided Higher Primary School between 1978 and 1984 and high school studies in St. Lawrence High School, Moodubelle from 1985 to 1988.


While studying in the high school, Raymond participated in NCC and Scouts and Guides activities. He was also interested in sports, both athletics and field games. Being tall, he found place in the high school volleyball team and also participated in other activities such as fancy dress competition. In spite of living far off from the church at Podikambala, young Raymond was a member of the Altar Servers Sodality and was regular to assist the priests during the Mass. After completing SSLC in 1988 from St. Lawrence High School, Moodubelle, Raymond made up his mind to join priestly vocation and chose Allahabad Diocese as the filed for his priestly mission. He was greatly inspired by Fr. Alexander Lobo, the then Headmaster of St. Lawrence High School. Besides, there were a number of young men from his neighbourhood who had joined seminary. He chose Allahabad Diocese because of the encouragement from late Fr. Michael D’Souza, his immediate neighbour who had chosen Allahabad Diocese and was studying theology when Raymond was in the 10th standard.


Having made up his mind to join the priesthood and work in the Allahabad Diocese, Raymond moved to Lucknow for undergoing initial training in St. Paul’s Minor Seminary. Thereafter Br. Raymond studied Philosophy in St. Joseph’s Regional Seminary, Allahabad from 1991 to 1994. Simultaneously, Br. Raymond continued his academic studies and completed intermediate course from Government Husainabad Inter College, Lucknow in 1991 and graduation from the Allahabad University between 1992 and 1994. He was deputed for one year Regency (1994-1995) at the Assumption Church, Dostpur.


While undergoing priestly training in the seminary, Br. Raymond took keen interest in Hindustani music and became the choir master in the seminary. He attended the Summer Hindustani Music School conducted by Fr. Vijayanand at Pachmarhi in MP and acquired diploma in Hindustani Music. He was also interested in electronics, repair of TVs, radio transistors and other electrical appliances in the seminary. Being tall, Br. Raymond was an integral part of the seminary basket-ball team. He was also in charge of the seminary mess and had the opportunity to learn various recipes and delicacies.


Having successfully completed Regency, Br. Raymond continued priestly training and did four yearlong Theological studies at St. Joseph’s Regional Seminary, Allahabad from 1995 to 1999 and was ordained a priest at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Allahabad by Rt. Rev. Dr. Isidore Fernandes on 22nd April 1999. After ordination, Fr. Raymond offered his First Holy Mass at St. Lawrence Church, Moodubelle on 11th May 1999 along with Rt. Rev. Dr. Albert D’Souza, then Bishop of Lucknow.



The first appointment of Fr. Raymond after his ordination was at St. Joseph’s Church, Shaktinagar in Sonebhadra District, around 300 kilometers from Allahabad as the assistant priest and also as the vice principal of St. Joseph’s Senior Secondary School where he served for one year from 1999 to 2000. The St. Joseph’s Parish was comprised mostly of poor tribal people living in slums. Being young and enthusiastic with new ideas and full of energy, Fr. Raymond tried to understand the socio-economic conditions of these poor people by regularly visiting them.


Realizing that education is the only solution for the long standing problems of poorer sections of the people, Fr. Raymond took initiative to start a non-formal school to give basic education, initially with hundred children and two teachers in a small hut like structure. 


Realsing the potential of Fr. Raymond, the Bishop of Allahabad, Dr. Isidore Fernandes appointed him as Assistant Director of Nazareth Hospital and the Nursing College run by the Diocese of Allahabad situated in the heart of the city from 2000 to 2003. During this period, along with his assigned responsibilities, Fr. Raymond completed his post graduate studies and acquired the MA degree from the Avadh University, Faizabad, U.P. in 2002.


Seeing the commitment of Fr. Raymond towards the health care and concern for the sick, the Diocesan authorities deputed him to St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore for advanced studies in Hospital Administration and Health Care in 2003-2004. As the St. John Hospital authorities were quite impressed with the ability and interest of Fr. Raymond, he was offered the post of an Associate Director of the same hospital. However, the Bishop of Allahabad felt that the service of such an able priest was very much required in the Diocese of Allahabad and asked him to return to Allhabad after the completion of the studies.


Soon after his return from Bangalore, Fr. Raymond was assigned the responsibility as the Assistant Pastor at St. Patrick’s Church, Allahabad from 2004 to 2005 where he acquired rich experience in Parish ministry interacting with a large number of youth and children. At the same time, Fr. Raymond continued his education and acquired B. Ed. Degree in 2005 from the Navabharat Shiksha Parishad, Orissa.


After serving barely eight months in the parish of St. Patrick, the Bishop appointed Fr. Raymond as the Director of Diocesan Development and Welfare Society (DDWS) from 2005 to 2008, looking after the social work of the Diocese. In the words of Fr. Raymond, this was the most significant and challenging assignment that he had from the diocesan authorities.


Helping people to get liberated from any kind of bondages and rescuing children who are in distress and getting them back to their homes are among the chief aims of the DDWS. Fr. Raymond says that the children and young women who were victims of human trafficking were rescued with the cooperation of the law enforcement agencies and allied systems and rehabilitate and reunite them with the families.



During three years of Fr. Raymond’s tenure as the Director of DDWS, around 520 such victims were rescued and rehabilitated for which he was considered for an award known as Abolistionist Award (2007) by the House of Lords in London. He went personally to England to receive this award. Fr. Raymond says that being the Director of DDWS, he had great experience working with poor and marginalized and also feeling their pain and sorrow.


The various projects handled by Fr. Raymond along with his pastoral ministry had greatly impressed the Bishop of Allahabad. Realizing the ability of Fr. Raymond to handle any responsible task, he was placed in charge of the Diocesan Construction Department to manage three construction projects in and around Allahabad and was asked to reside at St. Joseph’s Senior Citizens Home.


During one year period, 2008-2009, Fr. Raymond completed the construction of an entire block of ten classrooms for St. Mary’s School in a village called Koraon, 70 kilometers from Allahabad; boundary wall for the compound of the property of Nazareth Hospital at Jushi, 15 kilometers from Allahabd; and a new mission station at a place called Quiamuddinpur, 25 kilometers from Allahabad. It was on the initiative of Fr. Raymond that this property was purchased; school building was constructed and was named as St. Joseph’s Academy.


After completing his assigned task, Fr. Raymond was appointed as the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourds Church and also as the Principal of Khristh Jyothi School, Renukoot, Sonebhadra District (260 kms from Allahabad) in July 2009 where he serves till 2014. From 2014 to 2019, Fr Raymond served as Mission in charge of Kripaon Ki Mata Mission at Dudhi  He was also Principal of St. Mary’s School, Dudhi from 2016 to 2019. From 2019 to 2024, Fr Raymond D’Souza served as Principal of St. Joseph’s School, Kajipur Mission in Charge, St Joseph’s Mission, Gauspur and Officiating Parish Priest at St. Patrick’s Church, Prayagraj (2023).


In 25 years of his priestly ministry in the Diocese of Allahabad, Fr. Raymond has achieved quite a lot in terms of pastoral, health care, educational and social work ministries. There are many more years ahead of him during which Fr. Raymond will be able to serve the Diocese of Allahabad in various capacities. Fr. Raymond says that as he looks back to his missionary priestly life of 25 years, he has gained a lot of experience in various fields and love and respect from the people whom he has served in different capacities in different areas. He has also earned confidence and appreciation from the Diocesan Authorities.



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Comments on this Article
Sr. Priya, Chennai Sun, May-26-2024, 6:43
Dear Fr. Raymond D Souza Congratulations on your 25th anniversary of priesthood. God has used his good graces to send you to Kazipur, kaushambi. Thank you for yielding to the Lord and for serving his purpose. May the Lord keep honoring you and grant you great grace for all that do. When I think of your service to the God s people, I remembered this lovely quotes of saint Mother Teresa "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” yes, you are a blessing for the world and for us. Wishing you even more success in the future. Thank you
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