(Remembering my priest companion on his death anniversary...Here is the sermon of the funeral mass celebrated by our then provincial Fr. Tony D'Souza sdb)
FR. ANAND DALMET SDB
FR. ANAND DALMET SDB
NO MORE WITH US - FOREVER WITH GOD
Once again death has struck our Province and a little down the rungs of our ladder, claiming this time a young priest of seven years, our dear Fr. Anand Dalmet, at the age of thirty-eight.
It was the 9th October 1997, Fr. Anand had travelled overnight by train to Jaitala, Nagpur to the Church of Our Lady of Fatima to preach at the novena service. He preached on devotion to Mary and urged the people to find their hope and Joy in the family rosary. Informed about an elderly sick parishioner, he volunteered to carry Holy communion to the sick person accompanied by Sister Isabel of the Fatima Sisters Congregation. On his return back while driving across on the Nagpur Highway at 8:15 p.m., he was run over by a speeding truck. Sr. Isabel fell off the bike and sustained fractures in the arm and leg and is recovering in the government hospital in Nagpur. For Fr. Anand It was instant death but it was also I believe instant Life ! Fr. Anand died with Jesus, in fact, from his lifeless body I lifted the pix which contained Holy Communion.
With these last acts of ministry, Fr. Anand concluded his service as a priest in Jaitala, the very place where he began seven years ago.
St. Paul in 2 Timothy says:
Here is a saying that you can rely on:
If we have died with him, then we shall live with him,
If we hold firm, then we shall reign with him. (2Tim 2:8,11)
Born on 20th September 1959 at Bassein, his parents Braz-Anton and Merciana brought him up in a holy family of christian faith. He was baptised on 11th October 1959 at Nirmal, Bassein, and received the sacrament of Confirmation on 26th March 1970. He entered the Salesian aspirantate in Borivli from 1972 to 1975 and later was transferred to the aspirantate to Lonavla from 1975 to 1978. While still a student, at home, he completed his Junior college and picked up tailoring as a trade. He entered the Salesian novitiate at Nashik on 24th May 1978 and professed on 24th May 1979 in Nashik. During his studies of philosophy in Yercaud, Madras, he was privileged to receive the cassock from the hands of the Rector Major, the late Rev. Fr. Egidio Vigano.
After completing his practical training in the houses of Don Bosco Matunga and Don Bosco Borivli, he made his perpetual profession on 24th May 1986. He completed his theological studies from 1986 to 1990 in Kristu Jyoti College Bangalore and was ordained a priest by Simon Cardinal Pimenta on 1st April 1990 in Vasai. He was appointed in Jaitala, Nagpur, as Assistant Parish Priest of Our Lady of Fatima Church, and Vice Principal of St. Joseph’s High School. After three years of zealous ministry in Jaitala, he spent a year in St. Dominic Savio’s Boys’ Home Andheri as Prefect of Studies, and in 1994 he took charge as Vice-Rector of the community and Principal of Don Bosco High School Yervada Pune. The life of Fr. Anand Dalmet though brief leaves behind very many happy memories in grateful hearts among his family members, his confreres and the youth and people he cared for. He came across to us all as a strong and well built Salesian and more than his looks, his gentle personality attracted us to make friends with him. Though a bit shy and reserved by nature, he made great effort to reach out a helping hand to people and youth in need even at the cost of sacrifice.
As a Salesian religious, he lived a very exemplary life and related with much respect towards his superiors and confreres. Fr. Anand was a man of unassuming ways and simplicity. He was very popular among the confreres who enjoyed poking fun at him and always got away with a smile from Anand. There were times when he did feel hurt but he never kept a grudge.
His obedience to his superiors was characteristic of a man of faith. There were moments in his life when misunderstandings crossed his path but he turned to God in prayer and found strength in Jesus. There was much of the human in Fr. Anand and his tastes for the little joys of life stayed with him till the end.
He had a strong sense of duty and fulfilled his responsibilities in the best way possible. As Principal, he was concerned about discipline but then his kind heart always got the better of him on many occasions. His students both in Jaitala and Pune mourn the loss of a friend and loving Principal. The school staff appreciated his sincerity and understanding ways.
There was a little touch of elegance in Fr. Anand. A slight look of seriousness in his face but he couldn’t help hiding his friendliness and humility, preferring to suffer in silence rather than hurting anyone. His sense of humour could be read more in his eyes than on his lips. We shall miss that smile that we all remember as a smile of a priest gentle and understanding, compassionate and concerned, a smile behind which he also carried bravely his little hurts and disappointments of life. We shall remember him as a young, exuberant Salesian with a radiating smile that spoke of his love for Jesus and the Church, for Don Bosco and the Salesian Congregation and for poor simple people and our youth.
We shall miss Fr. Anand very much. Our hopes seem shattered but our faith in God assures us that he is with Jesus and that he will continue to stay with us and obtain for us His choicest Blessings.
Unlike the young man of the gospel who asked, ‘Lord, what must I do to gain eternal life?’ Fr. Anand responded promptly to the call of Jesus to follow Him leaving everything behind and follow Him he did, faithfully and enthusiastically as a Salesian Priest of Don Bosco.
True to His word, Jesus has granted him Eternal Life earlier perhaps than anyone of us expected. We surrender ourselves to God’s will and pray ‘ Fr. Anand may you be Anand forever.’
I AM THE RESURRECTION
Monday, October 13, 1997
Fr. Tony D’Souza sdb