by Fr. Michael Fernandes
MATUNGA – MUMBAI, JULY 04, 2013: Fr. Godfrey Victor D'Souza has been appointed as the 10th Provincial of the Province of St. Francis Xavier, Mumbai. Fr. Godfrey was born on November 8th 1952 at Parel, Mumbai. He took his first vows on May 24, 1972. He pursued his philosophical studies in Yercaud from 1972-75. He did one year of regency in Matunga and the second year in Borivli. While doing his regency he also studied for his BA exams. He took his perpetual vows on 3rd June 1979. He went to Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore to do his theological studies (1979-82). He was ordained a priest on December 18, 1982 in Mumbai. His first priestly assignment was to Hubli as Vice Principal and Assistant Parish Priest from 1983-85. From 1985 to 1994 he ministered in East Africa. When he returned from Africa he was once again placed in Hubli from 1994 – 96 as Director and Principal. From 1996 he was assigned to the Provincial house as Rector and Director of DBYS. From 1997-2002 he was Rector and Provincial Secretary. From 2002 -2009 he served as Vice Provincial. In 2009 he was appointed Rector of Dominic Savio, Andheri.
Fr. Godfrey has a lot of experience in administration. He has occupied important posts in the province - Rector of the provincial house, Secretary to the Provincial and was later Vice-Provincial for six years. He has good organizational capabilities and was Moderator of our provincial chapter in 2007. As Vice Provincial he was in charge of all the animation in the province and he shouldered the responsibility for the various groups and movements. He had organized courses regularly for the brothers, young priests and other groups of Salesians. He invited retreat preachers and saw to the dynamics of retreats, courses, and seminars. He had done all these with good commitment and dedication. As Rector he was ever welcoming and gracious; as Secretary he was efficient, methodic and orderly; as Vice Provincial he was well organized, resourceful and caring.
Fr. Godfrey is a Salesian priest for the last 31 years. He has a good rapport with all confreres. He has endeared himself to the young confreres. He is able to adjust himself to any group and meet them at their level. He is interested in vocations and did a lot to promote and sustain vocations. He has a real capacity to listen and is able to keep confidences and help people in difficulties. He is understanding and forgiving. People will find it difficult to get upset or angry with him. He is pleasant in his dealings. He is warm and welcoming to everyone. He has met and touched many lives all these years. He has a great sense of humour. Quite often he quips some interesting one liners to those he meets.
His love for the missions was shown by his volunteering for the missions in East Africa for nine years. This continued with his regular visits to the mission stations of Ahmednagar and Gujarat in our province.
No job is too heavy for him. He does not get stressed out easily. He knows that one cannot solve all problems. He can take on multiple tasks, is adjustable, cooperative, friendly, hospitable, and does not make any show of what he does. He will be able to pool in the talents and resources of others, affirm them, and accept confreres for what they are and what they can contribute for the growth of the province.
Fr. Godfrey lives his life for others. He is generous with his time and talents. He is ready to pick up people or reach them even in the early hours of the day or in the late hours of the night. He is always obliging. He is a good singer and a good communicator. He is a community man and enjoys joining the boys in their games. He is concerned about people especially the sick. He will personally care for them and take them to the doctor.
Fr. Godfrey will assume office on the 7th of October. We wish him the very best in the years ahead. We assure him of our prayers and support as he shoulders this delicate task of animating and governing the province. Congratulations Fr. Godfrey!
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May his face shine down on you and be gracious to you,
May the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace,
And may the blessing of God be with you and remain with you always (cfr: Num 6:24-26).