Agnelo de Souza
|The Venerable Father Agnelo Gustavo Adolfo de Souza, S.F.X.|
|Ordination||24 September 1899
by Archbishop António Sebastião Valente
|Born||21 January 1869
Anjuna, North Goa, Portuguese India
|Died||20 November 1927 (aged 58)
Rachol, South Goa, Portuguese India
|Buried||Our Lady of Pilar Monastery,
Pilar, Goa, India
Agnelo Gustavo Adolfo de Souza, S.F.X. ( 21 January 1869 – 20 November 1927), was a Roman Catholic priest of the Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier, Pilar who performed missionary work in the province of Goa, then part of Portuguese India. The cause for his canonization has been accepted for investigation by the Holy See, and has progressed to the point that he has been declared Venerable.
Father Agnel, as he is known, was born in the village of Anjuna to Miguel Arcanjo de Souza and Maria Sinforosa Perpetua Magalhães. His parents had nine children, eight sons and a daughter, among whom Agnelo was the sixth child. Even as a small child, all were impressed by his behaviour. From a young age he would remember sermons heard at Mass and would teach doton'n, that is the catechism, to other children, some even older than him. When he was eleven, his parents died suddenly. As his mother was dying, she entrusted her children to the care of the Blessed Mother.
With the encouragement of an older brother who was already a priest, de Souza pursued a call to the priesthood. He studied philosophy and theology at the Patriarchal Seminary at Rachol. Always in very poor health, he was allowed to live in a private dwelling off the seminary grounds, where he was able to do his studies diligently. He secured the much coveted and singular honor of acessit in his final year of study.
Souza wanted to enter a religious institute, but they had been banned in the lands under the Portuguese Crown since 1835. After much prayer and reflection, de Souza joined the Diocesan Missionary Society of St. Francis Xavier of Pilar on 17 July 1897. He was ordained on 24 September 1898, by the Archbishop of Goa and Patriarch of the East Indies, Dom António Sebastião Valente.
On 8 September 1908, de Souza made his total commitment to God, becoming a full-fledged member of the Society. His life as a true shepherd of souls took him to Siroda and Sanvordem in Goa, besides Kumta, near Karwar. He was their priest, preacher, confessor and administrator. He was seen by many to be very humble and thoughtful.
Seeing his holiness, the then Archbishop of Goa e Damão and Patriarch of the East Indies Dom Mateus de Oliveira Xavier, appointed Padr Agnel as the Spiritual Director of the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol on 20 May 1918. Fr. Agnelo was called a model priest- humble, prayerful, self-denying and saintly- by the professors and students in the seminary. He was caring and loving to the staff of the seminary and was also referred to as Our Saint, in Konkani Amcho Sant.
Death and veneration
Padr Agnel died on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was on 20 November in 1927. He collapsed on the pulpit towards the end of the sermon. He insisted on waiting till the Benediction of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He showed the tranquility of a saintly man. He died and was buried in Rachol. The then parish priest who buried him roughly said these words Hanvem atanch eka Santak matiek laila, which means I have just laid a saint to rest. His remains were brought to Pilar on 10 January 1939.
The cause for his canonisation
The process of canonization was begun by the Society with the permission of the Patriarch of Goa in 1947. The second process was presented to the Sacred Congregation of Rites on 5 October 1959. The Sacred Congregation of Rites approved the third process of "De non-cultu" on 27 May 1969. Padre Agnelo was declared venerable by the Vatican on 10 November 1986.
A 'feast day' is granted only to the beatified or canonized persons. As Venerable Fr. Agnelo is not yet beatified or canonized like Saint Joseph Vaz or Saint Francis Xavier, he does not have a feast day. Fr. Agnelo was made a Venerable in 1986, and requires a first-class miracle to be beatified. The vice-postulator for his cause is Fr. Hilario Fernandes.
Venerable Fr. Agnelo's day is celebrated on 20 November every year, with novenas beginning on 10 November. He is said to have wanted to die on this feast, and God granted his wish. A 'feast day' is granted only to the beatified or canonized persons. As Venerable Fr. Agnelo is not yet beatified or canonized like Blessed Joseph Vaz or Saint Francis Xavier, he does not have a feast day. Fr. Agnelo was made a Venerable in 1986, and requires a first-class miracle to be beatified.
The hymn Padr Agnel, amchea ixtta (Father Agnel, our friend) was written in his honor, besides Padr Agnelak, Altaracho Man and several others.
- , retrieved 19-11-2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2013-02-15., para 20_line 1 and para 29.
- "They too are on the Way...."[permanent dead link], Indian Currents, 06-12 October 2008, p.41, retrieved 18-09-2009.
- Gaionancho Jhelo, ank U-16, pan 239.(Konkani Book of Hymns named "Gaionancho Jhelo" Hymn no. U-16, page 239).
- A website with some more information.
- , a website with a lot more information, and many important links.
- The Venerable Pilar Father - Fr. Agnelo de Souza at the website Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier, Pilar
- Venerable Agnelo D'Souza, a dedicated website
- , a dedicated webpage in Konkani