In 1954 Pedro Paul Rodrigues, a Goan tailor of Raia, 41 years of age and living in Bombay, came to Aquem with a view to invest in a home for his wife and seven children. His wife Laurente, put only one condition to him that the dwelling should be close to a church. He contacted Late. Joaquim Santana Dias whom he knew personally for guidance. Late Mr. Dias, (father of our good family friend, Felix Dias) suggested a bungalow that was for sale on a property known as “Rivontoloi – Batta alias santu xevoilam”. Pedro Paul bought this property from a Portuguese family. After various repairs to the bungalow, well and a surrounding compound, the place became presentable and livable. But sad to say, Pedro Paul passed away on 15th March 1958 not destined to live in this place he had bought.
After his death, his wife Laurente gathered courage and came with her children in May that year and continued to come every May. As time passed by and the children grew up and moved on, maintaining this lovely dwelling place became difficult. With the initiative of her eldest son Joseph Rodrigues and a good builder, the property went for re-development. It now stands as “Palacio Rodrigues.” (Sector 4, zone 1).
In Bombay, (now Mumbai), a long standing court case between Laurente Rodrigues, fly and the owner came to a very peaceful and amicable end. This happened through the Mercy of God and the fervent prayers of family, friends and well-wishers. On 20th October 2018- 60 years later – I Josephine Rodrigues, the youngest daughter of Pedro Paul and Laurente, stepped into “Palacio Rodrigues” to start a ‘new life’ closing the doors of a life of bitterness and unforgiveness of more than 50 years in Mumbai.
I have been visiting Aquem over the years, but this time it was a home- coming. On my arrival the first blessing was a visit to my home of our beloved Mother Mary. As she entered, it was a moving moment for me. The presence and prayers of so many neighbors was uplifting for me. I was touched by their warmth, easy friendship and prayerful support.
I attend daily mass in our St. Sebastian Church. The homily, the choir and the entire decorum of the altar servers, Eucharistic Ministers, Sacristian in the church, makes me want to linger there and wallow in its aura. The involvement of the parishioners on Sundays is edifying.
I am really privileged to be a part of this lovely Parish. May we continue to grow in true bonds of love and friendship. I take this opportunity to wish all my parishioners many blessings, much happiness and love this Christmas time. All the best always.