In the picturesque village of Velim in Salcete taluka, Fr Nevel L S Gracias, a diocesan priest, was born on February 11, 1964. It was the day when we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. And, he passed away on May 13, 2022, the day when the Catholic Church celebrates the apparition of Mother Mary at Fatima, in Portugal.
LIFE & PRIESTHOOD
After completing his primary and high school education at St Francis Xavier High School, Velim, Fr Gracias graduated from Damodar College of Commerce, Margao. Following his graduation, he experienced the inner calling to priesthood, and joined the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol in June 1985.
With the completion his religious studies at the seminary, he was ordained a priest in St Francis Xavier’s Church, Velim, on April 30, 1991 at the hands of Archbishop Emeritus Raul Gonsalves.
As a priest, Fr Nevel Gracias served in the parishes of Taleigao, Piedade (Divar), Loutulim, Chaudi (Canacona), Tivim, Utorda, Panjim, Caranzalem and Guirim. Due to ill health, his last posting was at the Clergy Home (Casa Urbina), in Porvorim.
While exercising his priestly duties, Fr Gracias also served as the assistant director of the Diocesan Catechetical Centre and director of the Lay Apostolate. He was the editor of the diocesan monthlies Daily Flash and Jivitacho Prokas.
He was a prolific writer and his regular contribution towards various publications was a crystal clear reflection of his sincere love for his mother tongue, Konkani. Despite his poor health, he never allowed diabetes, which he suffered often, to hinder his writing skills and other God-bestowed talents.
His immense contribution towards the growth of Konkani, by way of his regular writings and his own seven publications, speaks volumes about Fr Gracias’ dedication towards his maim-bhas, Konkani. Apart from being a regular contributor and penning articles for Vauraddeancho Ixtt, Dor Mhoineachi Rotti, Gulab and Renovacao, he has several tiatrs to his credit.
For the past couple of years, Fr Gracias was regularly releasing his Lenten shows during the season of Lent. And, under the banner ‘Vell’lekar Nirmiti,’ he staged them successfully in various parishes across Goa.
Much before the next season of Lent dawned, Fr Gracias had the good habit of announcing his following Lenten show by way of advertisements in the local dailies. He would brief the audience about his new release, mentioning the title and the theme.
His Lenten shows were eye-openers, full of reflections, based on family and social life. The songs and comedy incorporated in them carried good, relevant themes, morals and messages.
Fr Gracias enjoyed penning songs and setting them to music. Till date, through his Lenten shows, he has penned over 300 songs with meaningful lyrics. He has also published a book titled Goychem Kantar (Konknni Kantaram), carrying 354 songs in various categories, with lyrics by Fr Nevel Vell’lekar and music by Nolvert Cota.
Apart from penning and staging 47 tiatrs on the Konkani stage, Fr Gracias also scripted around 24 Lenten shows and presented them in cities and villages. His last Lenten show Tim Dogaim Ek Zatolim was staged just before the pandemic, but the booked shows could be completed.
In 2022, during the Lent season, the same production was re-scheduled and completed 25 shows in the villages. His silver jubilee Lenten show Mhaka Nitoll Kor, which is a reflection on the use and misuse of the senses, was scheduled for Lent 2023, with Prince Jacob in a challenging role.
With the untimely demise of Fr Gracias, the Lenten shows from his mighty pen have come to an abrupt halt. But, the legacy left behind, and his good deeds by way of literary works and valuable art work on stage, will always be cherished by his ardent readers and viewers forever. Till we meet again, Fr Nevel!