Greetings of Golden Jubilee to Our Revered Pastor – Rev. Fr. George Andrade, Barkur

-Prof. P. Archibald Furtado

It was a momentous occasion some 50 years ago, on Tuesday, the 21st of May, 1974, when the St. Peter Church in Barkur, nay, the entire compound, was adorned with extraordinary decorations to welcome the Bishop of Mangalore, the esteemed Rt. Rev. Dr. Basil S. D'Souza. For on this auspicious day, two proud sons of Barkur, Br. George Andrade and Br. Wilfred Gonsalves, were to be ordained as priests of Jesus Christ for a lifetime of service. The elderly Vicar, the venerable 'Aab Padryab' Rev. Fr. Joseph D'Souza, had entrusted the responsibility of overseeing the arrangements to his assistant, Rev. Fr. Stany Tauro. Although we were but young lads (I was in the 7th standard, having just passed in May 1974), our curiosity was piqued to witness, from a distance, the special ceremonies and rituals that were to unfold.

Two tall and handsome young men entered the church in a procession, vestments in hand, and we were thrilled to witness, up close for the first time, the Ordination of not one, but two priests. It was a sight to behold as these young men, Fr. George Andrade and Fr. Wilfred Gonsalves, flanked Bishop Basil on either side to celebrate the Thanksgiving High Mass. The Bishop's sermon was apt for the historic occasion, serving as an encouragement for many to consider the vocation of priesthood.

The lives and ministries of these two great men have now reached a milestone of 50 long years in the vineyard of Christ. This is an opportunity to thank the Almighty Lord for these wonderful gifts who have served Him and His people, spreading the fragrance of Barkur far and wide. Your Golden Jubilee is a time to rejoice and celebrate, looking back on your 50 years of faithful service. Well-deserved congratulations to both of you, Rev. Fr. George Andrade & Rev. Fr. Wilfred Gonsalves, along with a prayer for God's continued blessings.

I shall utilize, or rather, restrict this page to write a few lines about the jubilarian Fr. George Andrade (and sometime later, focus on Rev. Fr. Wilfred Gonsalves).

Brief About the Family and Early Days in Barkur:

As a schoolboy, I watched the youthful George walking towards the High School in the 60s. His voice was so loud and manly, distinctly heard amidst the group. Then he joined our neighbouring Chickmagalore Diocese, where the young Rt. Rev. Dr. Alphonse Mathias was the Bishop of the newly erected Diocese on 16th November 1963, separating it from the vast erstwhile Mysore Diocese. A dynamic personality, originally from Pangla/Shankerapura, must have persuaded young George to choose Chickmagalore over Mangalore.

Born on 31st May 1947 as the youngest son of the late Santan Andrade and Nathalia Menezes, George hailed from a devout family of six children – three boys, Lawrence, Alphonse, and George, and three daughters, Celine D'Souza, Lenny Menezes, and Mary D'Silva. Engaged in agriculture as farmers in Nagermutt, a location far away from the Church by 2.5 KM, to reach home, one had to cross the Tributary Sita – Sankadi Saal.

After his early studies at Maryknoll Higher Primary School till Grade V and SSLC from the prestigious National High School Barkur, George decided to join St. Joseph's Inter Diocesan Seminary in Jeppu, Mangalore.

A Devout Priest for a Lifetime:

As mentioned earlier, on the 21st of May 1974, he was ordained a priest at his hometown Barkur, by the blessed hands of the Bishop of Mangalore. He has rendered 48 precious years of service to the Diocese in various capacities and responsible positions. First, he was at the Cathedral in Chickmagalore city for just a year, and in Sagara parish for 8 months. It is appropriate to mention here that the Vicar over there was not keeping good health and had to bid farewell to earthly life. The vacant post of Parish Priest was then entrusted to Fr. George, both to respect the sentiments of parishioners and in recognition of the capabilities Fr. Andrade had witnessed by the superiors. He served here in Sagara for almost seven long years – a unique record he holds as the 'youngest Vicar of Sagar at just 28 years of age.' Thereafter, looking at his abilities, the Bishop deservedly promoted him to be the Parish Priest of Maria Nagar.

He then shifted to Jyothi Nagar (Shetty Halli – the famed Church submerged in water after the construction of a dam). Fr. Andrade also served in other large parishes of the then Chickmagalore Diocese – Moodigere, Gonibeedu, and Hassan. While retiring, he was the Parish Priest of Hirebail St. Joseph's Church, which had the famed two substations – St. Saturnine Chapel Kelaguru and Hemmakki. His seven years at Hirebail St. Joseph's Church are widely remembered by the faithful as most memorable, both in their spiritual and material life.

We will not elaborate on the great physical constructions, buildings, schools, etc., in almost all the churches mentioned above, but the spiritual transformation he brought, the awareness he spread, and the care and concern for his parishioners are always remembered with gratefulness and respect for a lifetime.

A Priest Known for 'Dyanakoota's' –

Jeevan Jyothi and Retreats Across the Diocese and in Karnataka:

While shouldering the responsibilities as the Parish Priest, Fr. Andrade had a cohesive team of preachers who were specialists in organizing retreats in Kannada and Konkani languages.

It was a wonderful occasion when one such 'Dyana koota' was arranged in his hometown Barkur while Rev. Fr. Sylvester D'Souza was our Parish Priest in 2000. There were devotees gathered from neighbouring towns – Brahmmavar, Sastan, etc., which was a divine experience to come close to God and get healed and cured.

Fr. Andrade as an Excellent Preacher and Counsellor:

Many people, including the undersigned, have heard his sermons – for Fr. George Andrade was known for his homilies. He was at ease in many languages - Kannada, Konkani, and English. He understands Tulu too. He was a patient listener and kind towards the disappointed and depressed.

He has worked for the poor, downtrodden, homeless, and has also helped many to raise them from having no meal to having one meal a day.

He has also helped many to get educated, and his contribution, unknown to most of us, is that he has been a Godlike figure to the Godless in his mission field in many ways. He hasn't lived a luxurious life but a simple one, to the level of the marginalized in the places where ever he was posted. He has constructed some churches and given others a facelift.

Whatever he earned or received from his family, donors, or people of goodwill, and through his ministry, he has utilized for the welfare of the people and not for his own welfare or that of his family.

In preaching the word of God and building the faith, raising them to meet Jesus and make their hearts like Jesus, he has done a great service, and he could be called a voice of God to those in need in every field – be it economic, spiritual, social, educational – he has left no stone unturned.

He deserves a big round of applause as he has shown the path of Jesus to many, being a simple hardworking missionary, a spiritual guru to those in need, a man of prayer who also taught others to pray, and much more. His devout life, drawing strength from the Holy Eucharist, was his armor to face all the hurdles and difficulties of life.

One can generally say that his contribution to the Diocese of Chikmagalur and the Church of God is remarkable and praiseworthy. His fifty years, though they may look like half a century, his age is swimming in the ocean of senior citizens, yet his energy is marvelous for God.

Congratulations on Your Golden Jubilee of Priestly Ordination:

Happy 50th Anniversary of your Ordination, as we thank you for your holy devotion to the Lord and His Church and pray to Him to bless you with a jubilant heart on your Jubilee Anniversary. May you be blessed with good health and peace of mind, and may you continue to enjoy your retired life and inspire all who are close to you.

Such a shining star, born, grown, and having given his life entirely for the service of God, is a milestone for those who imbibe his legacy as a man who was all-rounder, like St. Paul, all things to all people. It's not how long you live that is important, but how effective your life has been in service to others!

We, the native Barkurians, bow our heads before the good Lord for the gift of Fr. George as our parishioner. We say hats off to him and convey our thanks and congratulations as he celebrates his Glorious 77th Birthday on 31st May 2024 and the Golden Jubilee, 50 Years of Sacerdotal Life on 21st May 2024 in Bangalore with family and friends.

May his life and everlasting treasure be cherished by all Barkurians, the Diocese of Chikmagalur, and all people of all faiths at large.

With best wishes,

For and on behalf of Team barkuronline.com,

P. Archibald Furtado

Mobile: 98457 42750


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