2009 - Vol. 27
The Crown Of Life
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
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
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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
dear Dom! You will continue to abide in our loving thoughts and happy memories.
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.]