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Obituary of Fr. Matthew Almieda, S.J.

Last Updated: 25 February '09


(29.09.1935 - 18.02.2009)

I would like to share with you about my life on the solar planet earth.  I was born on 29th September 1935 at Kundapur of present Udupi district of Karnataka. I had three brothers and three sisters. I was the sixth among my siblings. All of them died before me. I was the last one to join them.

I lost my dad when I was young. My mother brought us up at our maternal grandfather's home at Kundapur. I did my primary studies at Kundapur and High School studies at Milagres High school, Kallianpur. I joined the Society of Jesus (Belgaum Mission) on 12 July 1952. I did my two year of novitiate and three years of Juniorate training at Vinayalaya in Mumbai. Later I was sent for 3 years of Philosophy to De Nobili College, Pune. I did 3 years of Regency as a teacher at St. Vincent High school, Pune.  Four years of Theology studies were done at De Nobili. During summer holidays I learnt Indian music and tabla in Madhya Pradesh. I was ordained as a priest on 24th March 1965 at De Nobili.  It was only after my ordination I had the opportunity to see my mother and relatives. Immediately after my ordination I was asked to go for tertianship at Sitagarha. I did M.A in English literature from Karnataka University, Dharwad and B.Ed. and M.Ed at Bombay University with first class first. I served as a rector and principal/vice-principal of St. Britto High School, Mapuça (twice), St. Paul High School, Belgaum.  And Loyola High School, Margão.   In late 1970's Goa Pune Province was seriously thinking to set up an institute to promote Konknni and Pratap was chosen for this new venture. Since no other Jesuit showed interest in this ministry I volunteered for this new mission. To prepare for this mission I did M.S. in linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and completed Ph.D in Linguistics from the same University. I returned to India in August 1985. Since September 1985 to May 2002 I was the director and treasurer of Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr (TSKK). TSKK was functioning from Loyola Hall, Miramar. I was the superior of the house from 1993 to 1998.  Besides this I was the Province consultor and the acting provincial in the absence of the Provincial. In May 1998 TSKK was shifted to its new premises at Alto Porvorim and I was appointed as the superior.  In 2000 I started to edit TSKK Research Bulletin Sod and from 2006 Dor Mhoineachi Rotti, a religious Konknni monthly.  I have written a number of research articles in Konknni and about Konknni in English and they are published in various journals and periodicals. I have written/edited/transliterated 14 books. According to many scholars and others I will be remembered for my three books, namely, A Description of Konkani, Konknni Basic course (Konknni Mullavo Kors in Devanagari script) and Romi Lipient Konknni Kors.  I have served as a Konknni expert in various bodies of Goa State government, Central government, Goa University and non-government organizations.  Besides, administration, research and teaching were my main works at TSKK. Listening to both Western and Indian classical music, designing book covers and logos for our institutions, cooking and preparing cakes were my main hobbies.

My service to Konknni research was recognized by Institute Menzes Bragança on 16 April 1993 by giving me the title "corresponding member" of it.  On 24 April 2008 I received the prestigious Goa Konkani Academy's first Sahitya Projnya Puroskar

On Wednesday, 18 February at 12.57 I died due to cardiac arrest at J.M.J. Hospital at Alto Porvorim. Prior to this for nine days I was hospitalized for severe arthritis attack.  On 19th the funeral was held at Holy family Church, Alto Porvorim. Archbishop of Goa, Filipe Neri Ferrão was the main celebrant. Many priests, religious and lay people were present to pay their last tribute. I am grateful for their prayers and loving presence. My special thanks to TSKK family for their love, care and active support.  My creativity and talents bloomed in their company. They have a lion's share in my contributions to Konknni. My close friends always remark "Matthew is a silent worker. He speaks less and works more." or "Matthew looks like an ordinary Jesuit but he is really an extra ordinary person".  When I hear these remarks I just smile, because I always believed actions speak louder than words. 

I was glad to see that both GC 34 and GC 35 have stressed the importance of intellectual apostolate.  However, at times I was discouraged to see that our young Jesuits do not volunteer for research and Konknni apostolate in our Province. I lived with my colleague Pratap Naik for 25 years out of which both of us served 23 years at TSKK! Both of us worked together, laughed, cried, cracked jokes, shared spiritual and other matters and discussed every subject under the sun. We were in two bodies but one mind and spirit. After my death some of you have said and written that Konknni world has lost a competent and dedicated researcher.  I contributed my mite to the Province and specially by promoting the spirit of collaboration among the TSKK family. Now it is the turn of the younger generation of Goa Province to foster, nurture and strengthen what I planted.  My prayers and blessings are always with you.  Adeus.



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