BIS #6624 Farewell, Fr Bernard

by Bro. Aliester D'Souza for BISMumbai

Fr Bernard Fernandes SDB passed away suddenly on the morning of 24 May after suffering a cardiac arrest. This news comes as a great shock to the Salesian confreres, to his family and to all those associated with him.

Fr Bernard was born on 20 August 1965 to Mr Joaquim and Mrs Anna Maria Fernandes at Panjim, Goa. He made his first profession on 24 May 1984 at Nashik. After his philosophical studies at Nashik, he did his B.Sc studies while residing at Koregaon Park, Pune. From 1989-91, he did his practical training at Don Bosco, Lonavla. After his theological studies at Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore, he was ordained on 18 December 1994 at Panjim.

After his ordination, he returned to Lonavla serving as Prefect of Studies and Catechist until 1999. He was then posted at Don Bosco, Panjim, where he completed his B.Ed studies while rendering his services as the hostel incharge.

From the year 2000 right until he passed away, Fr Bernard has served the Province of Bombay as a principal and educator par excellence. The first nine years were at Don Bosco, Lonavla, followed by a five-year stint at St Joseph’s, Wadala West. In 2014, though he was posted at St Dominic Savio, Andheri, as Prefect of Studies and Catechist, he lent his constructive insights and support in the administration of the school. In 2015, he was appointed as Principal of the esteemed Don Bosco High School at Matunga, where his invaluable experience led the institution to greater heights.

Just about a couple of months ago, The All-India Education Today Survey 2021-2022 ranked Don Bosco High School, Matunga, at the first place in India in the Boys’ Day School category. Coinciding with the Oak Anniversary celebrations of the institution, this achievement was indeed a jewel in the crown of the Salesian Education imparted in the Province. At the reception of this award, Fr Bernard had said: “As we celebrate our eightieth anniversary, Don Bosco Matunga stands tall today, to tell the noble story of the past, inspire the present and redesign the future!”

Fr Bernard leaves behind a leagacy so vast that one can only dream to imitate. He has contributed so generously to the Education sector of the Province for more than a decade. The teachers under his mentorship and the students under his tutelage have felt his warm Salesian educative presence in their lives: much is evident from the condolences that keep pouring in.

The funeral service will be held on 26 May at 09:00 hours at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Panjim, Goa. Thereafter, the burial will be at the Salesian Cemetery at Fatorda, Goa.

Truly, on the Feast of our Blessed Mother the Help of Christians, the Salesian Province of Bombay has lost an accomplished educator, a benevolent father and an amazing friend. Rest in Peace, Fr Bernard!