BIS #6498 Memory of Fr Aurelius Maschio honoured with bust & museum

by BISMumbai Correspondent

A bust representing MumbaiSalesians’ patriarch Father Aurelius Maschio was unveiled by Bishop Barthol Barretto in the presence of MumbaiSalesians’ Provincial-Father Savio Silveira, Shrine of Don Bosco’s Madonna Rector-Father Edwin D’Souza, well-wishers and capitulars of the Provincial Chapter [PC 22].

The unveiling of the bust memorial in the Shrine Grotto garden, honours the memory of Father Maschio on his 25th Death Anniversary. Furthermore, the permanent-exhibit museum showcasing the memorabilia of Father Maschio in the Shrine office building, is a testimony to his pioneering works and relationship-rapport with benefactors and well-wishers. Some of the various articles on exhibition are: Father Maschio’s typewriter on which he spent many laborious hours, corresponding with numerous people; his mass-utensils [chalices, ciboriums, etc]; his liturgical vestments; his personal effects; well-preserved sermon-notes; certificates/citations of appreciation; and many awards.

The ceremony was coordinated by Shrine Rector-Father D’Souza, who also oversaw the entire process of bringing to fruition this Silver Death Anniversary memorial project to Father Maschio. PDDM nun Sister Vimala undertook the fabrication of the bust, while William Fernandes, a long-time associate and art designer conceptualised and designed the layout-interior of the permanent-exhibit museum.

The occasion of the 1st session of the PC22 was chosen so that the MumbaiSalesians could thank God for this magnanimous and towering pioneering architect of various works and settings across Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh.

Father D’Souza shared the message sent by Father Maschio’s earliest and one of the first benefactors from Italy, Giovanni Bernasconi who reminisced and traced back his family’s long association with Father Maschio.

Father Silveira recalled the encounter, listening and discernment of Father Maschio, a process that Pope Francis invites all in the lead up to the assembly of the world Synod of Bishops in 2023. He noted, “God-willing perhaps this is the unfolding of God’s plan to initiate the process of raising Father Maschio to the honours of the altar, as expressed by many.”

Bishop Barretto pointed out the maxim of Father Maschio was to “give, give and give, which he lived all through his life, reaching to the most marginalised poor in the city of Mumbai.” Mark Fernandes spoke on behalf of the Fernandes Family – who manage Sylvester and Co. Custom House Agents licensed by the Customs Department, Ministry of Finance, Government of India – the foremost benefactors of Father Maschio for over 07 decades. He said, “it is thanks to Father Maschio that we have been blessed with many graces by God, and it is our hope that Father Maschio still looks upon us with compassion.”

The short ceremony ended with a token of gratitude to the collaborators and artists who laboured to set up the bust and permanent-exhibit museum within 60 days.