Most Rev Bishop Linus Nirmal Gomes, S.J., passed away on 27th February 2021. He was 99. His funeral Mass was held on March 1st 2021 in St. Teresa Parish Church, Kolkata, at 8.30 a.m., in the Cathedral of the Baruipur diocese at 11 a.m. At the 3 p.m. Mass, Baruipur Bishop Shyamal Bose was the main celebrant, and all of Bengal Region’s Bishops concelebrated. His niece Ms. Margaret was present for the Mass. He was buried in the Baruipur Cathedral cemetery.
He was a real good shepherd with tender love, a big heart, simple, humble, disciplined, serviceable, grateful, compassionate, concerned and available. He was close to Jesus and Mother Mary and so, close to people. He was a man of God and led a prayerful life. He earned respect from all who came in contact with him. Punctuality was one of the priorities in his daily routine, which he practiced throughout his life. He was physically fit and mentally alert almost till the end. His enthusiasm and encouragement was a great source of inspiration to all.
Bishop Linus was the eldest son, born on 7th September 1921 in the village of Balidior, Dacca, Bangladesh, St Francis Xavier’s Parish at Golla. Mr Domingo Gomes and Anna Cecilia Gomes were his parents. He had four brothers and four sisters, all of whom have passed away.
He studied at Holy Cross High School, Dhaka and then at St. Xavier’s, Calcutta. There he met Belgian Jesuit teachers such as Fr Johannes and Fr Turmes. Inspired by their life of service, he joined the Jesuits. After the training in Hazaribagh and Shembaganur, he did BA Bengali from Central Calcutta College. Then he taught at St Xavier’s School, Calcutta.
Pope Paul VI appointed Fr Linus Gomes the first Bishop of the newly established diocese of Baruipur on 30th May 1977, while he was the Parish Priest of St Teresa’s Church, Kolkata. Archbishop Cardinal Lawrence Picachy, S.J., consecrated him as Bishop on 19th November 1977, at St Xavier’s College. Bishop Linus Gomes served the nascent diocese of Baruipur for 18 long years.
After his retirement, he went to Bangladesh in 1997, to support the Jesuit works there. He remained there till 2014, rendering spiritual help to the Christian community and religious sisters at Dhaka. His humble and cheerful service of 18 long years was a great support and encouragement to the Jesuits in Bangladesh.
He spent his last years at St Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Bishop Linus’ fatherly presence was a source of immense joy and inspiration to everyone in the community and in the infirmary. May his soul rest in peace!
- Francis Jerome, SJ