St. Ignatius church was just a year old. It had taken 4 years for the simple and yet attractive building to come up with its intricately designed interiors, the décor, the statues and the paintings. Fr. Crasto, an elderly priest on the verge of retirement had been entrusted to minister the church till a suitable replacement could be made. It was at the behest of Viceroy Fonseca that Fr. Kane was brought to Goa from Lisbon. He preferred someone from Portugal rather than a local priest.
Attached to the church just near the sacristy, was a small single house for the priest to live. As soon as he came down from Lisbon, Fr. Kane had moved to this house. Having given him charge of the church and after explaining him all the details, Fr. Crasto had taken his leave to report to the Bishop of the province.
The house had two doors. One that led directly from outside while the other door opened in the sacristy that led to the church. Seated at his bedside table, Fr. Kane opened his diary. He had just returned back from the party and after saying his night prayers, got down to writing his day’s happening in the diary, a habit he had formed since his seminary days. His room was a small 8 by 6 room. Other than the doors, a small window adorned one wall where his bed was put up. It was open and a soft breeze was blowing making the room cool. He pulled out his quill.
‘… It was a wonderful evening and I happened to meet new people. I am going to enjoy my stay here and with God’s will, I hope to guide them on the righteous path…’
The next morning, Kayani ran up to Rosalin’s house. She knocked on the door persistently. Finally the house slave opened it and moved aside on seeing her. Kayani ran inside to Rosalin’s room. She pushed open the door and walked in to find Rosalin sprawled on the bed fast asleep, a sheet covering her. She sat on the bed and shook her up.
‘Hey Roza, get up, you silly girl.’
Rosalin murmured in her sleep.
‘Hey get up. I want to know how the party was last night.’
‘Hmmm ok.’ She murmured again and turned her face the other side. Her sheet moved down a bit exposing her breasts partially.
‘Hey Rosa, get up baby. I want to know how the party was?’
Rosalin turned around and opened her eyes.
‘It was good. Now let me sleep.’ She said closing her eyes and slumping back on the bed.
‘Just good? Did you meet the Captain?’
‘Oh Kayani let me sleep please.’
‘No. First tell me if you met him or not?’
‘I met him and I even flirted with him. Happy? Now please.’
They heard a discreet knock on the main door. Rosalin pulled the sheet up to cover herself. ‘Who can it be so early in the morning?’
‘Morning? The sun’s nearly up over your head. Come on get up I have a news to share with you.’
Her mother barged in the room excitedly. ‘Hey Roza, get up get up fast. The new Padre is here.’
‘Who?’ She asked with a lazy murmur.
‘The new Padre from our church. And he is so young.’
Rosalin looked at her perplexed and then suddenly she realized who it was. ‘You mean Padre Kane?’
‘I haven’t asked him his name. You dress up and come out quick.’ The mother hurried out. Rosalin got up and wrapped the sheet around her. She tiptoed to the door and slowly peered outside. Through the corridor, she saw Fr. Kane seated in the main room and checking some artifact in front of him, a beautiful porcelain doll that her father had brought from Japan. She quickly closed the door behind her and walked to the bathroom.
‘Oh it’s the new Padre. I met him at the party yesterday. A very nice man. You hold on while I get ready.’
Few minutes later, Rosalin walked out in the hall, clean and dressed in a pink satin gown. Fr. Kane was reading from the bible a passage. He paused and looked up at her. She smiled at him and sat down on the floor next to her mother and the twins. Fr. Kane continued reading and finally done with the passage, he closed the bible and folding his hands, closed his eyes.
‘Now we recite the Lord’s Prayer. Please repeat after me…’
’Pai nosso, que estás no Céu
seja santificado o teu nome.
Venha o teu reino.
Seja feita a tua vontade, assim na Terra como no Céu.
Dá-nos hoje o pão nosso de cada dia.
E perdoa as nossas ofensas
assim como nós perdoamos aos nossos ofensores.
E não nos leves à tentação,
mas livra-nos do Mal. Amen.’
‘Amen’ they cried in unison as the prayer ended.
Fr. Kane then pulled out a small holy water sprinkler and sprinkled some holy water on them and around the house. Done, he sat down again.
‘Padre it’s nice to see you.’ Rosalin told him earnestly. ‘We are really honored to have you in our house.’
Fr. Kane smiled at her. ‘I decided to visit the villages around and meet our people. Someone pointed out that this is Pascal Costa’s house and I came over.’
‘Padre, this is my mother.’ Rosalin said indicating her mother who quickly bowed low. And they are my cousins, Maria and Theresa.’
The twins smiled at him. He gently placed his hand on Maria’s and then Teresa’s heads in blessing.
‘God bless you two and give you wisdom.’
‘Obrigado Padre.’ The children replied together.
‘I think I’ll go. I have more houses to visit.’ Fr. Kane got up. He turned to Rosalin. ‘Senora, would you be kind enough to show me around the village?’
The two walked out of the house. The dusty lane left a trail of dust behind as they walked slowly. Nobody said a word as they walked down the lane towards the other side of the village in silence. Occasionally they would pass a house and she would silently nod her head sideways to indicate that it was a pagan’s house.
‘I hope you are alright Senora?’ He said softly.
Rosalin looked at him in surprise. ’Pardon me?
‘I am talking about last night. Everyone’s fretting over Captain Antonio. No one knew that you were there with him and I didn’t want to worry your family back home, so found an excuse to ask you outside.’
‘Obrigardo Padre. I am quite ok.’
‘Good. It’s God’s will that you and Captain Antonio are safe and sound.’
‘He is a true soldier and by killing the 5 bandits, he has proved that he is the right person to protect this land from the enemies.’
Rosalin looked at him with tenderness. ‘Padre, you are a man of God and yet you talk of a man who’s killed someone, as being righteous?’
‘Senora, a soldier is a protector of man and God. If he can’t protect you, you won’t find the need to seek God and offer your thanksgiving. If God won’t show you the other side of life, the dark side, you won’t show Him that you need Him. That you do care for Him.’
They had reached the outskirt of the village. They stopped. He turned around to face her.
‘This Sabbath, there is a thanksgiving offered by the Viceroy for his son. I hope you attend the same and offer your thanksgiving too to God. He’ll appreciate it.’
‘Yes Padre.’ She answered humbly.
Fr. Kane smiled at her and placing his head on her head, blessed her and walked away as Rosalin watched him go.