The oldest priest in the Goa and Daman Archdiocese, Fr. Lino Fernandes passed away at the age of 99 at the clergy home in Margao on Wednesday. Fr. Lino, hailing from the quaint village of Benaulim, was born in October 1921 and was only a year short of completing a memorable milestone of 100 years.
Fr. Lino, widely known among the Goan quarters, attained his priesthood in April 1948.
Being originally associated with the Carmelite priests at the Monastery in Margao, he was then part of the Pilar Fathers congregation and later made his switch to the Goa Archdiocese.
Known for his humble and dedicated service, along with his personal religiousness, Fr Lino served at numerous parishes and chapels in his journey of life. He had served as Chaplain at Sucaldem in Chinchinim, in Ponda, and also in Marna-Siolim. As a parish priest, he served in the parishes of Neura and Camurlim.
Later, he resided at the Majorda church for about ten years as a priest, and he began staying at the Clergy Homeplace for the elderly priests – from 2004 onwards.
During his priestly years, he also landed his holy services in Mumbai and was always on the search for greater spiritual heights.
Across the state, priests and local Goans have expressed their condolences after his demise.
The family of Fr. Lino has been blessed with three priests, the Archdiocese said, adding that his one brother is associated with the Carmelites, while the youngest brother is a priest in the Goa Archdiocese.
Several have recalled the great life that Fr. Lino lived – with a simple heart, always open to greeting people and blessing small children he would encounter. He was also known as the ‘Priest of the Beads’ as he always had a rosary in his fingers during his free hours.
“A man of few words,” as described by many, his influence on several lives, and also on many priests in their journey to attain priesthood will fondly be missed.
Always spotted on his daily evening walks, a man of great heart passed away on a blessed day, the feast of Our Lady of Rosary.
A modest priest that always walked in the path of God.
RIP Fr. Lino.