The long life of Fr. Greg Naik of 88 years, is best captured with the metaphor of a pilgrim – Greg the pilgrim. That is who Greg was from birth until the end of his days. A pilgrim is a person on the move; in continuous quest. For Gregory, his quest took him from the Catholic village of Navelim in Salcete, Goa, to distant destinations in India and around the globe. As a Jesuit scholar, his quest was for knowledge and wisdom, as a Jesuit priest his quest was for service and holiness.
Greg, the pilgrim, received as much from the people he served, as he gave to them. From teacher and counsellor at Loyola High School, Margao, to National Educational Secretary of the Jesuits in Delhi, the people appreciated his abilities to teach and communicate. In Jesuit circles, Fr. Greg is celebrated and remembered for the challenges he undertook as Rector of Loyola, Margao, and later as the Regional Superior, and Provincial of the Goa Jesuits. Ten years of international ministry followed, at the Borgo Santo Spirito – the World Headquarters of the Jesuits, in Rome. Being a stone’s throw from the Vatican, Fr. Greg drank deeply of the rich art and culture in the adjoining Basilica of St. Peter’s. On returning to India with newly acquired computer skills, Fr Greg quickly built up the Goa Jesuit Province Archives. He also published his final book, entitled: Jesuits of the Goa Province: A Historical Overview.
To our erudite pilgrim, who knew well his classical history, the profound words of the Greek historian Thucydides of the 4th century BC, are most fitting and proper. He said then: “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but is woven into the lives of others”.
Tony da Silva, SJ