On a rainy evening of June 9, 2018, friends, colleagues and
students, past and present, of Fr Gordon Daniells, gathered at St
Xavier's College or a nostalgic Reunion to felicitate their mentor, philosopher
and guide with memories and music (which he so loves, being an accomplished
Playing on a loop were some of his favourite songs sung with
rythmic guitar and velvet tones that would give commercial artistes a run for
their money as merry-makers engaged in funquizzes. Such as Signature
Gordon Stories, where we had to (a) pick a word or phrase that comes to mind
when we think of Fr G. (KIND!SUPPORTIVE! COMPASSIONATE! BLESSING) (b) share an
unforgettable fun experience with Fr G. (KHANDALA) (c) one priceless
Learning for Life lesson gifted by Fr Gordon.(WHY ONLY ONE?)
Fr Roy Pereira, Vice Principal, SXC tinkled the ivories,
kickstarting the entertainment with a tango tribute " We Love Fr Gordon's
Way" sung to the tune of "Sway" by Dean Martin. Perhaps, the
ice-breaker should have been a jive at which Fr Gordon excels.His was a
late vocation and the powerpoint presentation included sepia photos of a lithe
handsome lad (he still is!) cassock clad with confreres or in mufti. Most of
his family migrated to Australia which meant Fr Gordon could be pater familias
here - helping students with job placements, visiting the sick and going the
extra mile to serve both laity and fellow Jesuits inmyriad ways.
Alumni, too many to name, showed their appreciation with lyrical
song and dance that paid homage to the Gordonian ethicin leadership
training and development imparted in the college and at XLRI, XIM, XIC and the
Xaviers Villa in Khandala.
The upcoming workshop is the result of the express desire of
such alumni as Annabel Ferro (who cried as she delivered a most moving tribute)
and Colonel (Retd) Roshanlal Sharma who is perhaps, Fr Gordon's oldest student.
Kudos to the core committee Nilima, Roy, Ruby, Saurav, Stuthi
and Zia for organising the program which featured stellar performances by Ella
Atai Castellino, Aditya, Shayaan Shaikh and Nilima Bhat.
What did the man at the centre of it all have to say? He
acknowledged his own teachers whom he "admired greatly", the late
George Soares, and Frs Ed McGrath and Joaquim Fuster. As he summed it, "What
I sensed very keenly was how much God was showing me. He loved me through all
of you. We were all a real microcosm of unity, of one mind and heart..I want to
keep on making all of you happy by continuing to share unreservedly of my time
XIM alumnus Commodore Niranjan Khardenavis (who attended with
spouse) said: "Fr Gordon, I am very indebted to you for having
touched my life."
Vijay Bhat said: "I'm glad so many people got to spend time
with you plus learn about different facets of your amazing life and selfless
contributions. I certainly did."
Priscilla Travasso, Course Coordinator XIM said: "His love,
concern, acts of kindness and teaching remains indelible in the hearts and
minds of students."
Pay it forward by contributing generously to the newly set up Fr
Gordon Endowment Fund.
Writup by Ms. Ronita Torcato (was Head of MediaWorld, XIC + alumna JR, PR &