Fr Ivo – the man who loved to be of service to others


Fr Dr Ivo da C Souza was a bundle of energy in a frail body  ~ possessing high degree of intellectual capacity, spiced with abundant charity and compassion, outreaching to all those who approached him. No person was unimportant to him and no matter too trivial. He welcomed all. There were no strangers for he loved to build relationships and contacts. The moment he recognised a sign of approach, he was only too eager to hear the problem and help out as far as he could. In minutes, he made people comfortable. To be of service was his pleasure and not a burden. And some contacts were built even at his last stage when he was confined to his bed. Some people who attended the funeral opined that they had lost in him an institution with rich legacies, not just an individual.
He was a man of prodigious energy and remarkable achievement. He was witty, wise and an opinion in every subject. He extended his arms to one and sundry, in fact whoever approached him. Theologian pondering on divinity or a priest confused with ordinary wear and tear of life captured his apt attention. So was the researcher unknotting a complex sociological tangle or a linguistic interpreting verbal bombardment ~ they enjoyed intellectual interaction with him. Amidst such a pack of elites, there were the patients with spiritual or physical ailments, students with their assignments, even kids facing the first puzzles of alphabets and numbers. He gave them time and enjoyed sharing bits of knowledge. He welcomed them all.
Fr Ivo completed his doctorate in theological faculty at the Gregorian University, Rome. He worked on his thesis under the guidance of late Fr Stanislas Lyonel, SJ. He also did his licentiate at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and another licentiate in Systematic Theology at the Pontifical University of St Thomas, Rome. Besides, he completed his Masters in Sociology from the Mysore University. He began his teaching career as Professor at the Rachol Seminary, where he left his dedicated footprints. Many of his students benefited immensely from his contacts. He never shunned work, no matter how trivial it might have looked. They stood in rows at his funeral Mass as witnesses, some sharing their testimony. He put in 24 dedicated years of teaching in Rachol Seminary till he landed at the Holy Spirit Church, Margao.
Fr Ivo was a perpetual learner. He tried as far as possible to learn whatever he could master. It was a gift of the Creator that he put to full use. Fr Ivo kept on updating himself with the latest in the field of religion, medicine, psychology, etc.
He regularly went to work in the European vineyards of the Lord during the vacations. He believed vacation as a change of work and not total rest. The breaks abroad kept him abreast with the latest in the fields. He was a man of varied interest. Languages were easy as he had studied them earlier as well as mastered them during holiday spent in the parishes of Europe mainly Germany and France.
He had a flair for writing and music. He authored some books on the spiritual life, inner healing and other topics. Unknown to many, he was a musician too. He wrote lyrics as well as composed music. Some of the hymns composed by him were sung at his funeral by the seminary choir.
An incident narrated during the funeral brought out his determination to give his best. One could not imagine him as an outstanding footballer as a seminarian. But perhaps as part of his childhood culture at Calangute he was there on the sidelines of the Seminary ground as a cheer leader. He was restless looking always for opportunities where he could contribute his best for the betterment of society. Surely, God will reward him for adhering to his mission undeterred by few limitations that God had put on that frail body of prodigious energy. His sparkling contribution will motivate generations of youth and seminarians. [H]