GB: Prof. Nazareth Rosario Fernandes of Loutolim, Goa has been elected as the 19th Superior General of the Society of Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier, commonly known as the Pilar Society.
Photo (from left to right): Fr. Derick Rodrigues (General Treasurer), Fr. Steevan D’Souza (Vicar General), Fr. Nazareth Rosario Fernandes (Superior General), Fr. Anthony Joseph Fernandes (2nd Councilor), Fr. Saturnino Almeida (3rd Councillor), Fr. Maria Michael (4th Councillor).
The election of the new Superior General took place on the morning of August 6, 2022 during the 20th General Chapter of the Society of Pilar. Later in the afternoon, the Rev. Steevan D’Souza of Udupi was elected Vicar General, the Rev. Anthony Joseph Fernandes de Raia as 2nd Councillor, Rev. Saturnino Almeida de Goa Velha as 3rd Counsellor, the Rev. Maria Michael de Tuticorin as 4th Councilor and Rev. Derick Rodrigues de Verna as General Treasurer.
The General Chapter began on July 31, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. with a general theme, “In him – for all, with hope”. This theme is the result of profound reflections by the Pre-Chapter Committee. Pr. Santosh Mendonça, the secretary of the pre-chapter committee, declared: “that the quality of our union in Christ is the key to all renewal and to all mission”. He added: “To be a person immersed in Christ would certainly have the spirit of Jesus and become a person for all. The terrifying experience of Covid, the socio-political situation that makes the Church insecure and the many anxieties of members within society, have led us to include Hope in the theme of the General Chapter”.
In his first address to the capitulars of the General Chapter, Fr. Fernandes said: “I may not have too many abilities, but I am available to continue the work of the Society”. Pr. Fernandes is the son of Joaquim Manuel Fernandes and Maria Joaquina Fernandes and has four brothers and one sister. He holds a Licentiate in Church History from the Gregorian University of Rome and is a professor at the Theological Seminary of Pilar. He served as Rector of Pilar Niketan, Nagpur, and also at All India Mission Seminary, Pilar. He worked extensively in the missions of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and served as Provincial Superior of the Province of Kolkata. He also served on the General Council for two terms and served as Vicar General of the Society of Pilar for the past five years.
The day after the election (August 7), a solemn Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Fr. General, was celebrated in the church of the monastery of Pilar. During his homily, Fr. General said: “I will maintain the Constitutions and traditions of the Society of Pilar and will continue to witness and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus, especially to those who have not yet known”.
A program of congratulations followed in honor of the new general administration. Speaking on the occasion, Fr. Nazareth expressed his gratitude to all the members and appreciated the outgoing administration for all their efforts in guiding the Society.