February 2009 - Vol. 27

Receive The Crown Of Life 

A tribute to Dom Peres 

By Aroon Fernandes

Dom Peres, a co-founder of the Community of Jesus, Light of the World, in Mumbai, India passed away in November, 2008 at the age of 92. He is one of the early pioneers of the Catholic charismatic renewal in India and was actively involved in the beginnings of the covenant community movement and the Sword of the Spirit.
In 1981, at 65 years of age, Dom Peres did not hang up his boots. He put on a new pair. There was a race to run, a battle to be fought.

Close to his retirement from his responsibility as the Senior Chief Engineer, Central Railway, a new zeal propelled him. 

The fire of the Charismatic Renewal which had seeped into him slowly whooshed into a flame. In keeping with Jesus' sentiment, "I came to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish it were burning already...", Dom rose to light the fires of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal - with prayer groups in Mumbai, and then with retreat teams to other parts of India. The teams reached out to groups of priests and groups of lay people. The tongues of fire began to rest on many heads.

The Holy Spirit prompted. And Dom listened. Time to go deep, not just wide. His search for a deeper experience of the fervor of the first New Testament community led him to a flame that was being lit in another part of the globe. In 1975 at a conference he attended near Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, prophetic words were spoken to the group: 

I have brought you together here to join you together and to give you a vision of what is to come. I am raising up other communities all around this world, and I will want them to join together with you and to be together with you in unity. And I will raise up individuals around this world and I will rally them to you and bind them fast to you and make you one. Yes, I will to do that as a source of strength for my church. I will make you a bulwark to defend against the onslaught of the enemy those who are not prepared, those who are not ready" 
Date of that prophecy: 26th July. It "happened" to be Dom's 59th birthday.It was also the year of the first National Charismatic Convention in Mumbai. Seemingly unrelated events. But part of the plan that God had for the church. The individual that God had raised up in India was Dom. 

Through his search for Christian community, Dom was led to the leaders of the Word of God, a renewal community in Ann Arbor, and to the leaders of Ang Ligaya Ng Panginoon (The Joy of the Lord), the community in Manila. At 65, Dom donned a new pair of boots. Not just for a race. But for the battle as predicted by the prophetic words. In 1981, a new team of God's army was born in Mumbai: Community of Jesus: Light of the World.

some members enjoying their annual community picnic

One of Dom's favourite songs was “Father Abraham Had Many Sons”. He not only sang it with gusto, but with a sense of satisfaction, perhaps - that in a way, God had chosen him to be a modern-day Abraham. And we in the Community of Jesus: Light of the World responded. With joy, doing the actions Dom prompted. And with solidarity to the action plan of spreading the message of covenant Christian community: a group supported by one another to live out the values of Christ in a world and at a time when the battle lines were drawn and the powers of this world were seeming to gain ground. A group called to be a family, like the family of the early church. And, through mutual support, to experience Jesus' final assurance: I am with you till the end of time.

Twenty seven years later, at 92, Dom heard the words that he had referred to many years ago: ”You have fought the good fight; you have run the race. Come; receive the crown that has been set aside for you. Enter into my joy, Dom. And into yours, for eternity...”

When I had interviewed him for the Souvenir that was published on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of Community of Jesus: Light of the World in 2006, in response to what his message was to us all, Dom said simply: Pass it on.

His words remind me of Jesus' last three words on the cross: It is finished.

And I think: It is not yet finished for us. We will pass it on.

Your work lives on, Dom. And your memory too.

[Aroon Fernandes is the Senior Coordinator of the Community of Jesus: Light of the World.]


By Tony D’Souza

I am here to pay a parting tribute to our beloved elder, Dom, on behalf of the Community of Jesus: Light of the World (CJLOW), a Catholic Lay Association of the Faithful, approved by the Archbishop of Bombay. Dom was co-founder of this community in 1981, in response, partly, to the inspiration and encouragement he received in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, with which he was actively associated from its very early stages. He was the first lay chairman of the Bombay Service Team of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. I would like to add that, when Dom retired in 1975 from the Central Railway as Senior Chief Engineer, he was offered many professional assignments which he chose to decline, as he had decided to spend the rest of his life in service to God’s vineyard.

I have known Dom on a personal level for the last 25 years and I have been a staunch admirer of this wonderful man of so many commendable qualities. Dom never missed an opportunity to proclaim those most significant values in life – honesty, integrity and sincerity. He impacted the lives of innumerable people with the warmth of his love, the sincerity of his heart and the wisdom of his mind. His mature spiritual and emotional counseling was gratefully acclaimed by the many whose lives he touched. What contributed immensely to the building of our community in Mumbai were Dom’s strong Christian character and personal holiness, his unflinching commitment and spirit of service, his vision and discernment. He was a man with a shepherd’s heart  – a patient listener and wise counselor.  All these factors had a profound influence on the spiritual formation of not only members of the community, but also people of all ages and walks of life, including the large numbers that were exposed to the various outreaches, retreats, spiritual discourses and programmes of our community.

Above all, by virtue of his many qualities of mind and heart, Dom was widely accepted and respected, not just in the community, but also in the parish, the archdiocese, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and among leaders of our related communities from different parts of the world. To all these people, Dom was recognized, in his active life, not as a flickering candle, but a shining star.

All of us recognize and acknowledge the fact of our mortality, but it is the ultimate, actual event of death that is crushing and painful. It is this sadness and pain that we share today. But in every desert of grief, God offers an oasis of grace. He lovingly anoints us with  his compassion and support to face and overcome the storms and trials of life. I am sure you join me in praying that our Lord will not only hold Dom in his eternal embrace. 

Farewell, dear Dom! You will continue to abide in our loving thoughts and happy memories.  Praise God!

[This article is adapted from the eulogy given by Tony D'Souza, the former senior coordinator of the Community of Jesus, Light of the World, at the funeral mass of Dom Peres on 13th November 2008.]


| Current Issue | Subscribe | Invite a Friend | Archives | The Sword of the Spirit |
copyright © 2009 The Sword of the Spirit  | email: living.bulwark@yahoo.com

publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom