BIS #6664 In Our Hearts Forever

By Ms Jansi Dharamraj and Mrs Sonali D’Silva for BISMumbai

On 24 June 2022, Don Bosco High School, Matunga, conducted the Month’s Memorial Eucharistic Celebration of their dearest Principal, Fr Bernard Fernandes, who passed away unexpectedly last month. The staff and students of the school, family members and the many whose lives Fr Bernard has touched assembled in the shrine of Don Bosco’s Madonna, Matunga, where the Mass was held in the morning.

The main celebrant was Fr Savio Silveira, the Provincial of the Province of Bombay, along with Fr Crispino D’Souza, the Rector and Principal, as a concelebrant. Around 20 priests were present for the occasion.

A photo frame of Fr Bernard Fernandes was carried and placed near the altar as the students’ band played in procession. An image of a guitar carrying all the memories of Fr Bernard was placed next to the picture. A brief introduction on the life of Fr Bernard Fernandes was given by Mrs Elizabeth Soares, the supervisor of Classes 5 and 6.

During the homily, Fr Silveira highly appreciated the great life of Fr Bernard. He also mentioned that till 9 May, Fr Bernard kept working and planning for the new academic year. He was a man of sacrifice, diligence, and put his heart and soul to any work that he undertook. Like Jesus, Fr Bernard too was a good shepherd who worked tirelessly for those in his care with firmness and gentleness.

For the non-Catholic students, a memorial service was conducted in the undercroft by Class 10 D in remembrance of Fr Bernard Fernandes. The service began with prayer for our beloved Principal followed by a meditation by Ms Bela Mehta. An enactment on the life of Gautam Buddha depicted during the prayer service gave a message about the brevity of life, and how each one experiences grief in some way or another. As a tribute to Fr Bernard, his favorite song was played which left the audience teary-eyed. One of the students, Tanishq Devender, paid homage to Fr Bernard through a solemn speech.

As an act of remembrance, a plant-seed was given to each staff member as a reminder of Fr Bernard’s bright spirit, and to carry on a legacy of a life well-lived.