“I have collected my roses and I am leaving this conscious world”

Farewell to Fr. Augustine Reargues OP (1950 – 2017)
Fr. Augustine Reargues OP (1950 – 2017)

“I have collected my roses and I am leaving this conscious world”. These were the final words of Fr. Augustine while he was still conscious and was ready to bid goodbye to his temporal earthly home. He said this to fr. Pascal Paulus (Vice Provincial of the Vice Province of Pakistan) as he visited him in the Holy Family Hospital, Karachi three days before the end of the earthly journey. These words indicated clearly that he was prepared to depart from this world to enter his eternal home in the company of the saints. Fr. Pascal in his homily at the funeral, on May 29th, 2017 expressed his sincere gratitude and condolences to his elder sister Sr. Margret and all the other family members.

These are the words of Fr Pascal at the funeral Mass:

We are gathered here for the farewell rites of Fr. Augustine Rodrigues. We pay tribute to him for his untiring and devoted services to the local Church and the Dominican Vice Province of Ibn-e-Mariam in Pakistan his entire life. May his soul rest in peace in the company of the saints!

Fr Augustine Rodrigues, a Dominican friar and priest was born on 2nd March 1950. He made his first profession on 27th September 1970 and was ordained to the priesthood on 25th April 1976. He was born to a very strong Catholic Goan Family who belonged to Fatima Parish Karachi. Fatima parish was administered by the American Dominican Friars at that time.

He was among the first group of locals to join the Dominican Order in the early seventies and served the local Church faithfully for 47 years.  He was a very committed and joyful friar. He was always obedient to his superiors and bishops.

Augustine in his youth was a happy, handsome and talented young man who had a great zeal to become a Dominican. He had a good voice and was fond of singing hymns and songs with his guitar to make any celebration joyful and to cheer up everyone around him, young and not so young.

One of his uncles had served as a Monsignor in the Archdiocese of Karachi and his elder sister, Sr. Margret is also a religious belonging to the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross.

He was sent to Rome for his novitiate and made his first profession there. He did his Licentiate in Philosophy in Italy and taught Philosophy in Karachi and then Lahore at Saint Francis Xavier Seminary for over 20 years. He was an expert in Latin, Italian and English languages besides Urdu and Punjabi. He had been a classmate of Fr. Siddique Mark Sunder, Fr. Rehmat Raja, the eldest of our Dominican community. He was a simple pastor and friends of the poor and he will be surely missed for a long time. Fr. Bashir Francis and Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf are also present at his funeral.

He was a great intellectual and philosophical thinker who had learnt Dominican traditions and history, in particular the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas very well, and this he taught in the seminary with great commitment and interest.

He was a committed priest, a dedicated Dominican. He always kept clear accounts of everything, being so transparent in all things and obedient to his superiors and the ordinaries with whom he served the people of God and the diocese. He suffered ill health for a long time but was always sympathetic towards the sick, the poor, widows and the needy whom he knew personally.

He served as a dedicated parish priest, assistant pastor, provincial chapter secretary, an archivist and historian of the Ibn-e-Mariam Vice Province.

In his last days when he was hospitalized, he had great concern for the money that was being spent on his treatment. He expressed gratitude to the Vice Province for the care and treatment.

We must not forget the services and presence of the Charity Sisters of Mother Teresa in Faisalabad who spent a lot of time with him in Faisal Hospital and at the Holy Rosary Priory, Warispura. He served as their spiritual director and confessor.

He spent all his life in a spirit of simplicity. Whatever he received as gift from his family, friends and benefactors, he would not rest until they are distributed to the poor and needy.

When he was in good health, he was fond of travel on his bike to far away villages of the Holy Rosary Parish. He would ride from Warispura to Okara and Okara to Lahore to teach at St. Francis Xavier Seminary. During most of his priestly life, he served the people of the Holy Rosary Parish and knew many of the parishioners by name.

He suffered greatly from lungs and kidney problems in his last six months. In his last days with the consultation of Sister Margret, he was brought to Karachi for a better treatment and so was hospitalized at Holy Family Hospital in Karachi.

I must acknowledge the services of Brother Emmanuel who took care of our elder brother during his last six months; he graciously accompanied Fr Augustine and took care of him until his last breath. The community of Holy Rosary Priory, Warispura, the Dominican House of Studies, Karachi and the Missionary of Charity Sisters of Faisalabad also offered great services to Fr. Augustine.  May the Lord grant a good reward to all those who were kind to and accompanied our brother Augustine in his last days.  God bless all of them.


(03 June 2017)