//Joseph M. Gauci Sacco, SJ (DUM) 1937-2023

Joseph M. Gauci Sacco, SJ (DUM) 1937-2023

Fr Joseph M. Gauci Sacco was born at Hamrun, Malta, on 20 January 1937. He joined the Jesuit Novitiate on 02 October 1953. After his initial formation in Malta, he volunteered for the Santal mission and came to India in July 1957. After his ecclesiastical studies, Fr Gauci was ordained a priest on 19 March 1966.

Fr Gauci spent most of his priestly life engaged in pastoral and social communication ministries. As a pastor, Fr Gauci rendered his service in Chilimpur, Torai, Sohorgati, Asanbani and Mariampahar. He was the Parish Priest of Chilimpur for 14 years and that of Torai for 9 years. He evinced great pastoral concern in forming the people in the faith. He chose suitable catechists and trained them so that they could help in his task. For a number of years, Fr Gauci headed the Faith Formation team of the Diocese of Dumka with great success. He also used to give classes to the catechists who came to CatecheticalTraining Centre at Torai.

Fr Gauci took a keen interest in using Mass Media for apostolic purposes and produced liturgical and devotional material and social videos and slides for faith formation and health consciousness and public upliftment. He regularly contributed to the Santali magazine Marsal Tabon. From 2014 he has been editing and publishing it. In fact he was busy editing the July issue of Marsal Tabon when the call of the Lord came to him. He was the Province Coordinator for Social Communication for more than 25 years. He was a co-founder of Sademarsal, the audio-visual centre of Dumka diocese. He was an official of the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal and has helped a number of faithful to find a solution to their marriage problems.

Because of his scholarly grasp of Santali Language, from 2016 he was given the responsibility revising and printing the Santali liturgical books. It was a familiar sight to see Fr Gauci sitting at his desk, working on the desktop, revising and digitalizing the manuscript of the various liturgical books in Santali. This he did faithfully until the day he collapsed with high fever and breathing difficulties on 16 June and passed away peacefully at 3:30 am on 27.

Fr Gauci has rendered significant service both to the entire Santal Church, to the Diocese and the Jesuit Province. He had a pleasant personality and was respected by all. For many years, he daily started his day by an hour before the Blessed Sacrament. This was the source of his zealous dedication. Joe was a calm, happy and generous person. The younger generation of Jesuit priests trusted him and always found in him a welcoming elder brother with a listening heart.

Pinto Stany Henry, SJ