The third Archbishop Patriarch D Theotonio Vieira e Castro had taken over the reins of the Archdiocese of Goa in 1931. As he was old, he was given Bishop D. Manuel Ferreira as an Auxiliary. They both started the solemn Exposition of St Francis Xavier’s relics in Old Goa. During the Exposition, and later, on the occasion of the 4th centenary celebrations of the foundation of the Goa Archdiocese in 1933/34, some Theology students from the Rachol Seminary conceived the idea to start a new Society to work in the missions.


Two of the proponents of the idea of a new missionary Society, Sem. Conceicao Rodrigues and Sem. Francisco Jasso Sequeira approached the above Archbishop-Patriarch D. Theotonio in August 1934, with their plans. The Patriarch, however, had a different mind of reviving and giving new life to the dying Society of Pilar. In the previous Chapter 12, Section 3C we have mentioned Fr. B. R. Rosario Gomes, Dean of Honavar. Much before this meeting with the proponents of a new missionary Society, in May 1934, (at the request of ageing Msgr Lucio Vaz, the Superior of Pilar Society, who had asked for a helper), the Patriarch had transferred this member, Fr. B. R. R. Gomes (see figure 126 c), from Honavar to Goa as Parish Priest of Curca and Auxiliary Superior of Pilar, advising him to put the affairs of the dying Society in order to get ready for new young members, who might wish to join the Society in future1. The old ageing Superior, Msgr Lucio Vaz, resigned, in 1936, and died shortly thereafter.

The Patriarch therefore, advised the proponents to revive the dying Society of Pilar instead of going for an entirely new foundation. The two of them, C. Rodrigues and F. Sequeira accepted the Patriarch D. Theotonio’s advice and started formulating the Constitutions for the Society, according to the requirements of the Code of Canon Law 1917. By then, the above proponents: Fr. C. Rodrigues and Fr. F Sequeira were already ordained priests.

Fr. B. R. R. Gomes welcomed the idea and started holding their meetings in Pilar. They propounded their new constitutions and convinced the Patriarch to accept their ideas. The Patriarch was proposing a foreigner to guide them. Instead, they requested the Patriarch to send Fr. M. J. Barreto, an Indian and

Figure 128 (c) – D. Theotonio V. Castro

Professor of Rachol Seminary, to Trivandrum to be trained to conduct their Novitiate or the year of spiritual initiation into Religious life. This done, on 4th April 1938, Fr. B.R. Rosario Gomes submitted the Statutes they had formulated, for approval to the Patriarch. A lot of correspondence ensued between them and the Patriarch. Meanwhile, Fr. J. A. F. Albuquerque, a veteran missionary in Nagar Haveli, offered to join the group and was accepted.


By 1939, Fr B. R. R. Gomes became the lone survivor of the old Society. On 3rd June 1939, the Patriarch, at the request of the promoters, appointed him as the Superior and Fr. M. J. Barreto as the Novice Master, of the projected “new Society continuing the old”. This was in accordance with the Directives given by the S.C. Propaganda regarding erection of new societies in mission countries dated 17-3-19372, based on the S.C. Religious’ previous directives, dated 10-11-19223.

Fr. M. J. Barreto published an advertisement, inviting more candidates, to which Fr T. Cabral and two candidates Paixao Lacerda and Peter Mascarenhas as lay brothers responded. Two more had responded and come, but gave up soon thereafter.


The Society was thus re-organized and re-vitalized on 2nd July 1939 by the coming together, of the above mentioned 5 new priest candidates and two brother candidates, with the lone survivor Fr. B.R.R. Gomes as the Superior, in the Pilar Monastery.

Figure 129 (a) – A later photo of the Reorganizers of 1939: Bro. Paixao Lacerda, Fr. Francisco Sequeira, Fr. Conceicao Rodrigfues, Fr. M.J. Barreto, Fr. B. R. R. Gomes, Fr. J. Albuquerque, Fr.T.Cabral and Bro P. Mascarenhas

They passed the day in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, and started living together. The priest candidates started their spiritual training (Novitiate) in the Pilar Monastery on 5th August 1939 and the Brother candidates 6 months later. The 6 priests made their commitment to the Society on 8th September 1940 and the two Brothers on 21st January 19414. The first elective Chapter of the Society was held on 26th September 1940, coinciding with the date of the foundation (53 years earlier, on 26th September 1887). The lone survivor of the old Society, Fr. B. R. Rosario Gomes was elected the first Superior of the Re-organized Society and the Novice Master, Fr. M. J. Barreto, the Vicar General. The Re-organization of the Society in 1939, was like a new graft on the old roots, that is, the Society founded in 1887. The same name, nature and aim continued in the new as in the old with expanded area of action extending to the whole of India and elsewhere, even abroad.

Soon after the first profession of the Re-organizers, two members of the Society, namely, Fr. J. Albuquerque and Fr. T. Cabral, were sent to Dadra-Nagar Haveli to take over the mission work.


The old Society had depended on the diocesan seminaries for recruitment of ready-made priests. The Re-organized Society under the guidance of the then Patriarch-Archbishop, D. Jose da Costa Nunes, and the far reaching vision of Fr. Conceicao Rodrigues, in spite of much external opposition, took steps to have a Seminary of the Society’s own. Hence, the first concern of the Re-organizers was to ensure the stability and progress of the Society by establishing on 15th June 1942 a Seminary with only 7 students on its rolls, for the recruitment and training of the future members of the Society.


Up to 1945, the Pilar hillock had only one building – the Pilar Monastery – with a Cross a little beyond it (see figure 74 d & 75 b). The small building seen in figure 125g was too

Figure 129 (b) – This is a rare old picture of the thick jungle that Pilar hillock was in 1945. The foundation of the Pilgrims’ House is seen to the right hand corner.

weak and gave way, soon thereafter. Outside the Monastery, the hillock was a thick jungle. An abandoned cowshed is seen in figure129 b to the left. The cowshed may have temporarily been erected by the former caretaker of the Monastery, owner of the cows, after the Carmelites got the permission to occupy the Monastery, or it may be lying outside the property of the Monastery, belonging to a private party.

The Re-organizers slowly transformed the Pilar hillock into a huge educational and religious Complex. First a building was started to accommodate the Pilgrims. Figure 129 b shows a picture which was taken from a corner of the Pilar Monastery in 1945. As the building was nearing completion and as the number of Seminarians was increasing, they were shifted to a part of this new Pilgrims’ House (figure 129c), for the time being in 1949. Afterwards, while the Pilgrims’ House continued, the same building was used as “Escola Pe Agnelo”, to teach Portuguese to those students who were seeking admission to the Seminary after completing English Primary Studies.

Figure 129 (c) – Th Pilgrims’ Houuse

Slowly English classes too were added for day scholars, and some boarders were also accommodated in the same building. But, since the Portuguese Government did not like English schools, they pressurized the school authorities (to make the students of English to answer compulsorily the Portuguese “Primeiro Grau” exam and to detain them if they failed). So the school was closed in 1960 and re-opened as a full-fledged English Middle School after the Liberation of Goa, from June 1962, and went on adding classes till it was recognised and sent its first batch for the SSC Exams in March 1965. This Pilgrims’ House, thus passed through many metamorphosis and was finally demolished in 1980 to make room to the present spacious Re-animation and Retreat Centre (see figure 131k).


In the meantime, the foundation for the spacious All India Mission Seminary building, atop the hillock, was laid on 21st December 1946 by the Patriarch Archbishop D. J. da Costa Nunes.

Figure 129 (d) – Preparations for Seminary building-1946 Figure 129 (e) – Slowly the building walls rise

In figure 129 f the Patriarch- Archbishop is seen in the middle with Fr. C Rodrigues (to his right), Fr. B. R. Rosario Gomes, Superior General (behind them), with other members and dignitaries coming down, after visiting the site of the Seminary building, as its ground floor is getting ready in 1951.

Figure 129 (f) – The Patriarch Costa Nunes and other dignitaries and members of the Society visit the Seminary construction site in 1951, as the ground floor gets ready.

By 1952, as a greater part of the ground floor was ready, it was blessed and inaugurated on 2nd December 1952, on the occasion of the Exposition of the Relics of St Francis Xavier, by the Papal

Figure 129 (g) – Awaiting the arrival of Cardinal Cerejeira for the inauguration and blessing of the ground floor 2-12-1952

Legate of the Exposition, Cardinal Cerejeira. Figure 129 g shows the Seminarians, other members of the Society and benefactors, friends and some dignitaries awaiting the arrival of the Cardinal. The Seminarians were then shifted to these new premises from the above mentioned Pilgrims’ House. The entire building took a long time to complete, but the generosity of benefactors came to the aid of the Society. The building was completed only on 12-8-1962 with the consecration of the fixed marble altar and blessing of the Chapel. Figure 130 (a) Marble Holy water stand

The special imported thick Carrara marble had been brought from Italy in 1961, before the Liberation of Goa. A holy water font-stand at the entrance of the Seminary Chapel shows the name of the Italian marble company (figure 130a).

The altar was consecrated with a relic of St Thomas, the Apostle of India. The Chapel has beautiful stained glass windows depicting St Thomas and St Francis Xavier and in the middle is Our Lady of Pilar, Mary, the Mother of Jesus (figures 130b & c). The former two are based on the paintings of Angelo da Fonseca who had studied at Shantiniketan, Calcutta, under Abhanindranath, brother of Rabindranath Tagore to adopt Indian motifs to Christian paintings. Angelo da Fonseca had drawn the two paintings especially for the Seminary Chapel in 1954. His idea was that Goa being the meeting point between the East and West the middle picture could be in European style. The paintings were then sent to a German Company, P Winnen of Cologne, that manufactured stained glasses.

Figure 130 (b) – Stained lass –O.L. of Pilar

They saw the paintings of Angelo da Fonseca in Aachen (Germany) and made the middle stained glass of Our Lady of Pilar too in Indian style (figure 130b).

Figure 130 (c) – View of the Seminary Chapel

The stained glass frames were transported to Goa, in 1961, a little before the Liberation of Goa in December 1961.

The Altar in the Centre and the priest celebrating Mass facing the congregation are innovations introduced in the Liturgy by the II Vatican Ecumenical Council which took place between 1963 and 1965. However, while the setting of the Seminary Chapel conforms fully to these norms, this Seminary Chapel was completed and inaugurated in 1962, as said above, before Vatican II.

Figure 1a in our Introduction shows the full picture of the front of the All India Mission Seminary. The terrace of the Seminary presents a panoramic view of the surroundings around and together with the Chapel, the Museum, and front gardens (of Spirituality and cacti) has become an attraction to students of schools, colleges and universities, to pilgrims, to tourists and visitors from all over the world.


Prior to the Liberation of Goa, the candidates were admitted to the Seminary after Portuguese Primary Studies. They then underwent a five year Course in Latin, Humanities, Sciences and Arts equivalent to the Portuguese Lyceum. If they joined with SSC, they could complete a special Course in Latin within 2 years. Then they joined the Novitiate and went on with the 2 years study of Philosophy, 1 year of Regency (field experience) and 4 years of Theology.

After the Liberation of Goa, candidates could join the Seminary at any stage of the High or Higher Secondary School, but they had to complete their graduation in secular studies. They have besides a year of Orientation Course and Pre-Novitiate.

Prior to 1967, the Seminary was a monolith with all the stages of formation in one building in Pilar. Figure 131a shows the whole Seminary inmates with the Professors in 1958 at a glance: Major Seminary (Theology and Philosophy) and Minor Seminary.

Figure 131 (a) – Seminary Professors and Students in 1958 when the Institution was a monolith

The Apostolic School and Minor Seminary were separated from the Major Seminary from 1968. First they were merged with the Hostel/Boarding boys, then separated again in 1973, then shifted to a new building put up in Batim in 2002.

However, as besides Philosophy, Collage studies were made compulsory, the Philosophy wing was shifted to Nagpur in 1967. The students attended the St. Charles Seminary and the St, Francis d’Sales

Figure 131 (b) Apostolic School and Minor Seminary in Batim

College there. From 1969, these Scholastics started staying in the Pilar Niketan, a house bought by the Society from a retired army Major Joshi da Costa (Figure 131c), and frequenting from there the above Seminary and College. Some of these students attended the Vishwa Jyoti Gurukul (IMS College) in Varanasi also.

The Society then put up its own Philosophate: the “Chitganashram” since 1995, in the same premises, with a new block for studies, classes and residence.

Figure 131(c) – Chitganashramin Nagpur

In 1997, a separate Academic Block of the Pilar Theological College with classrooms, Library and Auditorium were added as an Annexe to the Pilar Seminary From 2000, the Seminary offers select courses for the laity.

From 2005-06, the Pilar Theological College has been granted affiliation to the Jnana Deepa Vidyapith, Pune, by the

Figure 131(d) – Academic Block Annexe as Pilar Theological College

Sacred Congregation for Education, Rome, to confer Bachelor of Theology (B. Th.) degree at the successful completion of the Theological Studies.


In the 75 years of its existence, since 1942 to 2017 this Seminary has given the Church 490 priests who have studied in it. Out of these, 45 have already returned to receive the eternal reward in the Heavenly Father’s House, after dedicating their lives to the missions and works of the Society; 2 are Bishops and 321 are priests in active service in the Society and its missions. This Seminary also trained candidates to the priesthood hailing from the Congregation of La Salette; dioceses of Bettiah, Gumla and Belgaum.

In the academic year 2017/18 the Seminary has on its rolls 117 scholastics, 12 Novices and 14 Pre-Novices. The Minor Seminary in Batim counts 64 students. The Society has opened Minor Seminary centres for recruitment of vocations in Darkhast (Tamilnadu), Kalyanpur (Karnataka), Gangarampur (Kolkata) and Valiv (Vasai, Maharashtra). The total number of prospective candidates studying in these centres is around 50.


The Society has also had in all 34 Brothers of whom 10 are in active service, while the others have departed to receive their eternal reward in the Heavenly Father’s House, after dedicating their lives to the missions and works of the Society.

Figure 131 (e) A group of the veteran Brothers of the Society.


The afore mentioned Fr. B. R. Rosario Gomes was re-elected as Superior General twice, by successive Chapters, and was at the helm of the Society up to 1949. The Pilar Monastery once again was in a bad shape and needed extensive repairs. These were undertaken under the supervision of Fr. Gomes, and the Monastery was given a face lift. He was also a good agriculturist and converted the hillock of Pilar into a coconut grove, took care of the fields around, and improved the yield of paddy for which he was awarded a golden ear of corn by the Government. As we have seen in the previous Chapter, he had entered the Society in 1916 and had later on been Dean of Honavar, then Auxiliary Superior of the Society from 1934, the lone survivor in 1939, Superior of the Re-organizing group and first Superior General of the Re-organized Society (1940-49). He served the Society till his death in 1967, that is, for over half a century (1916-1967).


Up to 1946, the Monastery Church had a floor of hard granite stones. During World War II, Portugal remained neutral. The British Navy, part of the Allies fighting the war against the Axis powers, came quietly and sunk some German ships, anchored at Marmagoa harbour for spying. The marble flooring of the sunken ships was then retrieved from the sea by the Portuguese, and sold on auction. A lay Association of Spiritual Brothers and Sisters, organized by Bro. Henry D’Souza, a member of the Pilar Society, with the purpose of helping the works of the Society through their prayers and mite, pooled together some contributions and purchased part of the marble on auction. The marble from the sunken German ships was then fixed in the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Pilar Monastery Church (in figure 125i, parts of the marble are visible below the altars). The lower portion of the Manastery Church was later on laid with tiles brought from Bombay.

However the tiles in front of the Ven. Fr. Agnelo’s tomb (figure 131f) seem to be the originaltiles of the Pilar Monastery.

Figure 131 (f) – Original tiles near Fr. Agnelo’s Tomb


The Koyna earthquake of 1969 damaged extensively the vault of the Monastery Church. It developed a straight crack in the middle. Thanks to the Government of India, the crack was repaired. However, above the arch of the Church, there was a painting of Mother Mary, Queen of Apostles. The painting was totally damaged by this crack and so was covered by white plaster during the above repairs. When plastering the arch again in 2003, the damaged painting was again discovered. Efforts were made to save and repaint it, but in vain. So after the restoration and renovation of the entire Church interior and the altars as well as the facade were carried out on a full scale again, at the time of the 4th centenary (1613-2O13) of the Monastery, a new painting has been mounted to replace it(figure(figure 131 g).

Figure 131 (g) – New Painting of the Queen of the Apostles


Figure 131(h)-Adam & Eve Figure 131 (j) – Jesus’ first human pair, sin, and are Resurrection after death thrown out of Eden. on the Cross

Figure 131 (i) Return of the Prodigal

Attached to the Atrium of the Pilar Monastery is a recent addition of a beautiful chapel for celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It has exquisite pictures in ajulejos (paintings in blue on Mosaic like tiles), depicting the entire salvation history focussing on God’s free love and the weakness and frailty of humankind. Three of these pictures are shown above. The main picture depicts the classic story – the parable of the return of the Prodigal Son to the bosom of his Father, who receives him back with mercy, tenderness and feasting. Such will be the entry of a sinner who repents, into the arms of the Heavenly Father, Our Creator in Heaven. (Lk.15:11-32)


The Monastery became a centre of learning as the Novitiate continued in it for many years, until it was definitely shifted to Colem from 1991; from then on, it continues with the training of candidates before joining the Novitiate, that is, the Pre-Novitiate year.


The Pilar Monastery was the seat of the Superior General and the General Administration of the Society till 1972. It was then shifted to the Pilar Seminary (Figure 1a) and remained there till 1984, when the new Re-animation and Retreat Centre was put up. This house served also as the seat of the General Administration (Generalate) of the Society till 2003. Figure 131 (k) – The Retreat and Re-Animation Centre for Retreats, Conferences, Seminars and Accommodation of Pilgrims

Figure 131 (l) – The Generalate building in Porvorim

From 4th February 2003, the Office of the Superior General has its permanent premises at the Generalate (Pilar Deepti Sadan), at Porvorim in Bardez, Goa, more centrally situated and closer to the Panjim bus stand.


As mentioned in Section 4 A above, in 1953, the Society had started Escola Pe. Agnelo for Portuguese primary classes with added classes in English medium for the benefit of candidates for the Seminary, especially those who were coming from outside Goa, as well as for day scholars. After various vicissitudes, after the liberation of Goa, it became an English medium school: named as Fr. Agnel School which rose to be a big educational complex in Pilar, in course of time


From June 1962, the above mentioned Fr. Agnel School was upgraded year by year, till its first

Figure 131 m) Fr. Agnel High School Pilar

Figure 131(n) – Fr. Agnel Hr. Secondary School, Pilar

batch appeared or the SSC Board exams in March 1965. The new building for the High School at the foot of the Pilar hillock was put up in 1967, a Boarding in 1969 and Apostolic School in 1973. The Boarding continued till 1978 when the upgrading of the School to a Higher Secondary, made it necessary to use the existing premises for it. Fr. Agnel Degree College was started from 1991 in the premises of the Higher Secondary in shifts and in 2000 it was shifted to the premises of the Apostolic School and the latter was further shifted to a new building in Batim in the year 2002, as already mentioned in section 4 C above (See Figure 131 b).


Though the Society runs elsewhere about 14 Central Schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary and Higher

. Figure 131 (o) – Fr. Agnel Degree College, Pilar

Secondary Education, (C.B.S.E.), New Delhi, the latest addition to the Educational Complex in Pilar is the Fr. Agnel Central School, to be affiliated to the same. It started with K.G. classes from June 2008 and has been adding more classes every year, by putting up a new building initially, and then adding new classrooms as the need arose. In 2017-18 it has reached the 8th Standard.

Figure 131 (p) Plan of Fr. Agnel Central School, Pilar


In June 1978, as a remembrance of the Golden Jubilee of Ven Fr. Agnelo’s death (1927- 1977), the Society started the Bal Niketan (orphanage) in the old Pilgrim’s House and later it was shifted to its new premises at the foot of the Pilar hillock in 1979. It admits orphan boys from fifth standard. In the academic year 2017-18 it has 97 inmates on the rolls, from Std V to SSC.

Figure 131 (q) – The Fr. Agnel Niketan – Orphanage in Pilar


To tap the musical talent of the youth, the Pilar Music School was opened in July 1979. It has been training students to appear for the examinations of the Trinity College of Music, London. It teaches the following instruments: Key Board, Guitar, Violin, Drums, Piano, Trumpet, Tabla, Harmonium, and Sitar; it also trains the students in Hindustani vocals and Bharat Natyam.

Figure 131 (r) – The Pilar Music School

Branches have been opened in Porvorim, Margao and other places. A Pilar Music Academy caters to the functioning of these music schools. Students of the Bal Niketan, Aostolic, School and Minor Seminary as well as day scholar frequent these music classes imparted to them in a separate building at the foot of the Pilar hillock.


An attraction to tourists, students and visitors, as they go around the Major Seminary are the gardens in front of the Seminary with lawns, a Spirituality garden, and a beautiful garden of

Figure 131 (s) – Two varieties in full bloom are shown alongside

Cacti plants, with at least around fifty different varieties – a real treat to the eye, especially when in bloom. Fr. Max Gonsalves, Professor of the Seminary, originally planned and started this cacti garden. Since then, these gardens are maintained and cared for by the Seminary students by themselves. The students also go to the fields at the time of plantation and take part in the transplantation of the rice saplings and at harvesting time too they take part in harvesting and gathering the produce of the fields so that they accustom themselves to all sorts of manual works side by side with their theological studies and intellectual pursuits.

In the corridors of the Seminary and in the Refectory, there are a variety of Paintings, which also are an attraction to all.


The Konkani Weekly “Vauraddeanho Ixtt” (in short “V. Ixtt”), meaning “The Workers’ Friend”, was founded by secular priests of the Archdiocese in 1933 under the leadership of late Fr. Joao

Francisco Fernandes from Colva, but after ten years its publication was running into huge debts. Therefore, in 1943, the Patriarch-Archbishop D. Jose da Costa Nunes, transferred the publication to Pilar and gave it to the Society as an organ of its propaganda, as a means of spreading the devotion of Fr. Agnelo and as a channel to educate the working classes towards their rights and duties in the light of the social teachings of the Church.

The Reorganizer, Fr. C. Rodrigues, who at the behest of the Society,

Figure 132 (a) The V.Ixtt

had taken up the management of the Press and the publication of V. Ixtt into his hands from 1943, in order also to reach out to the English speaking benefactors of the Society, in and outside Goa, , started a monthly magazine “India” from December 1950.

Another monthly youth magazine, the “Fr. Agnel’s Call” was started by another member of the

Figure 132 (b) – A cover of ‘India’

Society, Fr. Sergio Mascarenhas, in 1967.

To avoid duplication, however, the last two magazines were amalgamated in 1975.

Figure 132 (c) – Covers of amalgamated ‘Call’

Since 1954 the Portuguese Government began censuring all newspapers in Goa. It was made compulsory to submit to the censure department a proof copy before publication; and so the V. Ixtt had a tough time when even the liberal social teachings of the Popes and other liberal articles were censured and ordered to be deleted. Thus, at the last moment, new material, acceptable to the officers, had to be arranged in order to bring out the Weekly in time.

On 12th August 1961, prior to the liberation of Goa, the Portuguese Governor of Goa ordered to suspend for three months, the publication of the V. Ixtt. The reason given was that the V. Ixtt was not defending Portuguese interests and that the Press Notes released by the Portuguese Government from time to time were not published in the weekly. These press-notes generally contained false propaganda against the Indian Government and the Indian Union. Goans in Bombay and well-wishers of the Society held protests against these censure measures and against the suspension imposed on the V. Ixtt, with the result that the suspension was removed within a month. However, the V. Ixtt, did not resume its publication until 12-11-1961, a little before the liberation of Goa, which took place on 19th December 1961.

The Xaverian Press – and the publication of V. Ixtt and others magazines and books – had been so far functioning from the ground floor of the Pilar Monastery till 1963; meanwhile, a part of the Pilar hillock in front of the Monastery was cut and a new building was put up there at the circular turn of the road.

This building was inaugurated by Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India on 23rd May 1963, during his maiden visit to Goa after its liberation.

The whole Printing Press machinery and workers were then shifted from the Monastery to these new premises and the new building was named the “Xaverian Press Training School”

Figure 132 (d) – Prime Minister Nehru coming out after

Inaugurating the building on 23-5-1963

However, new technology in Printing has made the Society to shift, from 1991, to Computer Courses in Printing Technology. Hence the Pilar ITI for Training the youth for vocational Courses have been put up in this building, which has since been named “Amruthsthan – Pilar ITI”.

Figure 132 (e) – Other Pilar Publications in Konkani, English, etc


As soon as the II Vatican Ecumenical Council promulgated the Declaration Nostra Aetate and opened the doors to dialogue with other religions, the Pilar Seminary which was already teaching subjects of Indian Philosophy, Hinduism and Indian Church history, launched, in September 1965 in the new direction by inviting the noted Hindu Konkani poet Bakibab Borkar to address the seminarians on his understanding of Christianity. The Seminary excursion in 1966 was promoted in the same spirit of dialogue by visiting the Hindu Partagali Math in Canacona. The Seminary offered the Swamiji of Partagal a copy of the Hindi version of the Bible and a Marathi “Life of Christ”. The Swamiji, on his part, offered the Seminary two volumes of the English version of the Bhagwad Gita.

In 1966, the Sat Guru of Beas in Amritsar visited Pilar and presented to the Seminary nine books on the spiritual path followed by the Sikhs in pursuit of the Truth. The title of one was ‘Light on Sant Math’’.

These contacts of Dialogue went on year by year. On 15th August 1975, Additional Judicial Commissioner Mr Justice K. N. Sukhla, presided over the Independence Day celebration at Pilar

Seminary and attended the Mass celebrated in Indian rite. He remarked that he felt ‘very much at home’ during the liturgy.

People of all walks of life participated in the inter-religious prayer meeting held a Clube Nacional at Panjim on 14th August 1976, organized by the Pilar Seminary, to promote communal harmony and to pray for the welfare and prosperity of our Nation; a renowned Sanskrit scholar Malharrao Sardessai gave a meditation on the Upanishads, Dr. Z. A. Qasim, then Director of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), read from the Quran and Brigadier A. Inocencio Monteiro read excerpts from the Bible. The press hailed the initiative and gave it wide coverage.

Figure 132 (f) Rangoli at such inter-religious meeting

After this every year, inter-religious meets were held in Pilar and other places, where Hindus, Muslims and Christians shared their religious experiences, prayed together and shared a common meal. From 1988 for several years a

Figure 132(g) – A group of Participants in the Inter-Religious Meeting

Figure132 (h) – Inauguration of a live-in dialogue program

three-day Live-in Program was held under the leadership of late Fr. John Pereira, Professor of Pilar Seminary, in which prominent citizens of all faiths and walks of life took part.

This led to the formation of a Solidarity Forum (Sarv Samanvay Manch) in order to diffuse communal tensions as the participants come to know and value one another’s faith better, which also strengthens one’s own faith and values.

Prayer meetings are also held, with the consent of the institutions’ authorities in various Colleges and Schools in Goa by the Solidarity Forum from time to time. These prayer meetings bring all communities of students and teachers together, irrespective of caste or creed.

An evening of Christmas for Dialogue in December and a Harvest Festival in September are regular features at the Pilar Seminary for students and people of goodwill from the villages surrounding Pilar, to come together and present their open air creative programmes.

The Pilar Seminary Museum (see Chapter15), is also a step in the promotion of communal harmony, where one can see and appreciate the multi-religious millennial culture of Goa in the form of real artefacts, collected mostly from around the Pilar hillock (See details in Chapter 15).


In the second half of January every year, an Ecumenical meeting is also held with the participation of priests and lay people of different Christian denominations, mostly working or settled in Goa, to foster dialogue among them.

Figure 132(i)- Ecumenical meeting


Students and priests of the Pilar Society / Seminary have often participated in relief operations in calamities as the 1977 Cyclone when 18 feet high tidal waves hit coastal Andhra, the water penetrating as far as 4 kilometres inside thickly populated areas. Thousands of people died and corpses were found high up on the trees, which the victims had climbed to escape the fury of the cyclone.

When Kutch region in Gujarat was tumbled down by a terrible earthquake in 2002, the Rector of the Seminary, Professors and students took part in the relief program, living with the people for over a month, to help in the reconstruction of the devastated houses and in rehabilitation of the displaced populations, especially in the villages of Bhuj.

Figure 132(j) – Pilar joins in relief work in earthquake hit Bhuj villages

Again in 2004, when the Tsunami hit the Bay of Bengal, a batch of students of the Pilar Seminary, accompanied by a Professor sailed as far as Hutbay, the last of the Andamans group of

Figure 132(k) – Hutbay group

Islands, and to Campbell Bay, the last of the Nicobar group, to take part in the relief services.

Figure 132 (l) Campbell Bay group with other Sisters involved in relief works

1 D. Teotonio’s Letter, dated 16-04-1934, Archives-SP, 8/17

2 Cfr AAS 29 (1937) pp. 275-278, 1937 Mar.19, S.C.P.F. (SC means Sacred Congregation)

3 Cfr AAS 14 (1922) pp. 641-646, 1922 Nov.30, S.C. Rel.

4 Fr. Aloysius G. Rego, op cit. pp.95-96