Peace of Christ !
May I wish you all the graces of the Christmas season as also the blessings of God has in store for you in the New Year. I know it will be celebrated by you in a very sombre atmosphere after the sad demise of Fr. Santan Pinto. We are just getting over the shock. I am sorry I couldn’t write to you after the funeral because of pressing engagements these days as also the Christmas correspondence.
To add a little more on the details of the funeral, Fr.Santan was buried in the Belgaum Catholic Cemetery after the solemn Eucharist in the Fatima Cathedral on 16th Dec.2011. His body was disfigured and so we couldn’t keep it for public view. As the condition was bad, we kept the coffin closed throughout. About 35 Priests concelebrated with me and the Cathedral was full and overflowing with mourners from all over Belgaum. His sister, Patsy and many of the other relatives had come from Goa, Pune and Bombay.
Of the two others in the vehicle with Fr. Santan, they are in better condition now. The driver, Mr.Freddy was a close friend of Fr. Santan and he had only minor injuries and the other passenger was his nephew, Mr. Ashwin.He had head injuries at the time of the accident but seems to be not so serious as he is improving but still in hospital because of hip fracture. The cause for the accident is reported as tire burst and it happened just 25 kilometers on the way to Belgaum. I had to personally intervene with the Police and transport authorities in order to hasten the post-mortem arrangements which normally take long time in India.
Please convey my condolences to all the members of the community I know how difficult it is to accept this tragic loss. You have benefited from his services and closeness to you especially in the formation of your community. He was a good Priest who motivated you to reach to others in need. He put us in contact with you and we are grateful for the help we have received from you, especially for our seminarians. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as Fr. Santan will surely pray for us from the Heavenly Kingdom.
Wishing you all the joys of Christmas and Happy New Year!
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Bishop of Belgaum