Fr. Joseph D’Abreo breathed his last in Mumbai on 4th February, 2022, after a brief illness, at the age of 89. He was a Jesuit for 72 years and a priest for 60.
Until he fell and broke his hip some months ago, Fr. Joe epitomized vitality and an exuberant love of life. His recent cataract surgery had invigorated him for it made the world come alive even as it brought facility in reading. The 35 booklets he wrote in the last few years are a fitting symbol of a long life that was productive to the end.
Fr. Joe was an extremely successful and greatly loved educationist. He served in several schools and was Principal in four schools of the Province, and Principal for a year at St. John the Evangelist School, Marol. He was also much engaged in pastoral work in some parishes and was parish priest at St. Anne’s, Mazagaon and St. Ignatius Loyola, Ambadi Road.
Always courteous and respectful, Joe was outstandingly effective in his human relations, especially with youth but also with adults. He brought enthusiasm and commitment to whatever he did and had the rare ability to enthuse others as well. In a word, Joe loved and appreciated people and was able to communicate this love and appreciation in a way that invited, even challenged, others to seek their better, higher self. A man of prayer, he helped many on their way to God by sage advice and non-threatening accompaniment.
Joe was a popular preacher and an accomplished speaker. His extensive repertoire of anecdotes enlivened his homilies and made him much sought after as toast master.
His booming voice and hearty laughter will no longer be heard. However, he will live long in the hearts and memories of the vast number of staff, students and parishioners he touched with his care and friendship. Lisbert D’Souza, SJ