To speak of a friar is always a task, which is a little bit difficult and still difficult is when you have to write something about him when he dies. There are many inspiring things about him and one just doesn’t know what to pen down. It is not negative that wells up in your heart and mind but the positive experiences of that friar. Every time I think of Fr. Santosh, what comes to my mind nothing but that smiling and loving face? What reminds me most as a young friar who worked in Maharashtra Capuchin Province is the prolific writer and very deep thinker. What captivated his audience is ability to speak and communicate the message to the hearts. Fr. Santosh was a well-known friar for being a good orator in English, Kannada and Konkani. He tired also to master Marathi and Hindi, he could communicate with the faithful while preaching in the Church in a very simple yet strong way. He had a lot of similarities with very many known preachers in India. He was well equipped with the knowledge, which was needed, for his ministry. He was trained in Philippians as a counselor and he attracted many people to him with his personality as well as his skills to handle the problem of the client.
I had known Father Santosh from 1979 when I joined the Capuchin Order. I was in Fatima Friary for Vocation camp, which lasted about one month. It was come and see program and I very well remember he visited Fatima Friary for some work and later on as a member for a short period. What made impression on me was his sociability and with ease he could relate and dialogue with people. When I attended his Mass for the first time it was a great spiritual experience. His homily with lots of thoughts and inspiration gave him a lot of material to ponder on my vocation as a Capuchin. Later on I met him during my formation period very often especially during summer vacations. As a Philosopher I would come down to Mumbai for my University examinations and I would spend time with him in Mandvi where he was the pastor of a small flock of 150 families. He would give me chances to preach in Marathi and English on Sundays and Lenten days. I learnt a lot from him about the basic skills of preaching and even singing because he was a good singer. Some people lovingly called him as “Disco as he would sing some songs during the preaching. Then I met him in Osmanabad where he began an English Medium school by renting out a house. He struggled a lot initially but with a strong will power and hard work everything got going for him. Today the school is about 27 years old and doing well in Osmanabad. He was a pioneer with a aim and goal. I would go to Latur and Osmanabad for Christmas and Easter Ministry from Mysore. It was a great fun to be with him. He would organize these two events very well. The Catholic families in that region were very few but there were lot of medical and engineering colleges in which we had Catholic and non-Catholic students. He would personally invite them for the Sunday Mass as well as for Christmas and Easter. He was popular among these students too. He took personal care of these students who came from different corners of India. After my Ordination, I was appointed in the same region and close to Osmanabad, a place called Ambajogai. He had begun an English medium school with a lot of problems of the land, which was under litigation. He would support and encourage me by visiting regularly. He was really a source of encouragement and inspiration during those years of tensions.
After which I did maintain relationship with him whenever I visited Mangalore. The last time I met was in the month of January 2016 while conducting visitation of Karnataka Province. He had some health issues but he had become non-communicative. We spoke for a long time and at the end he asked me to pray over him, which I did gladly and willingly. He used all his talents and was willingly to go anywhere. He worked in North East in one of the seminaries as a spiritual Father. He also spent one or two years in Potta retreat center where he guided and animated faithful who came there seeking healing and spiritual solace.
REV. FR. SANTHOSH MENEZES OFM CAPUCHIN
(Baptismal Name: Albert Michael)
SIMPLE PROFESSION: 01/05/1961
PERPETUAL PROFESSION: 01/05/1964
Fr. Santhosh Menezes OFM Cap., of the Holy Trinity Capuchin Province Karnataka has passed away this evening at Father Muller’s Hospital, Kankanady at the age of 77 years.
His funeral will be conducted on Monday 17th October, 2016, at 3. 00 p.m. in St. Fidelis Friary, Monte Mariano Convent Chapel, Farangipet, Mangalore.
May God grant him eternal rest.