Rev Fr Charles Lobo

Fr. Charles Lobo, S.D.B  a Profile



Charles was born on 4th November, 1943 at Barkur in the South Kanara district of Karnataka State, to Late Mr. Thomas Lobo and Late Mrs. Margaret (Nee Pereira) of Barkur.   Mr Thomas Lobo was a copper smith by profession, always hard working, as I remember him and as I picture him now.  This devout, hard working and especially God fearing family had six children, three boys and three girls.  Charles, popularly known as Charlie was the fourth in the family.  All the children were brought up in a very strict religious Catholic atmosphere, attending daily Mass as much as possible, never missing Sunday Masses, morning and evening Angelus, Rosary in the evening, reciting a decade while kneeling and hands raised above the shoulders, a practice very faithfully observed in those childhood days, and perhaps even today in Barkur!  It was in this religious atmosphere that he was brought up, not knowing he would become the Provincial of the Salesians of New Delhi Province, some day!


His parents would never tolerate any sort of insincerity in the children. Straight forwardness and simplicity  were the hallmarks of the family. Call spade a spade!  Life of prayer in the family had a very important place. Though the father was a very strict disciplined person, mother was very affectionate and loving to help balance the family life.


Mr. Thomas Lobo passed away when Fr. Charles was still a young priest, after making sure that all his children are well settled in life. Charlie's mother passed away just a year ago after a good old ripe life.  Whenever anyone mentioned the name of Fr. Charles, her face would light up as though the all the heavenly light of the Holy Ghost focussed  one her!  Needless to say, they lived a contended life with necessary needs and without any wants.


Charles was just 14 years old, when he left home.  No one knew the word 'depression', then,  but, what made young Charlie leave his native place at the age of 14 and go to a far off land to be a missionary is a matter of profound reflection! He always says that it was the strictness of his dad and hard work such as carrying drinking water from a distance of a kilometer; doing all sorts of jobs in his dad’s shop (copper smith), especially pumping air to keep the coal fire going for hours, which made young Charlie literally to run away from home! But God as you know, works in ways mysterious. He knows what is best! 


Fr. Monteiro, the then Parish Priest of Barkur, a kind hearted humanitarian, arranged to send Charlie to complete his high school studies to West Bengal, almost 1700 miles away. 


It was a super challenge to Charlie to adjust to new places, new languages, new customs, food habits, but Charlie bore all these silently, knowing God was there to guide him along.  (I still don't understand why God makes us to suffer, and then smiles and tells, "I was only testing you, like a cat playing/hurting/torturing a mouse!)  Oh, well, who am I to question God.


Folks, out of a total of 45 - 50 young Seminarians in Charlie's batch,  only three became Salesian Priests. All the other companions of his, left some time during their formation period. Of the three, one died as a Priest. Of the other two surviving, one became a Bishop  Joseph Gomes of Krishnanagar Diocese, in West Bengal and you know who the third one is, the one, and one only, our Barkurian Fr. Charles Lobo! 


Once again, Christ's words come true, "Many are called, few are chosen."


There are 145 Salesians -  Priests and Brothers  in the Province of New Delhi. Fr. Charles is the only Mangalorean! Again, this year Salesian India is celebrating the centenary year of the Salesian Presence.Interestingly, in the year 1877 Don Bosco, the founder of Salesian Congregation was invited by the Vicar Apostolic of Mangalore to send Salesians to Mangalore Vicariate.  But circumstances did not some how favour this invitation, rather on the other hand the Salesians were the last to enter Mangalore Diocese. It’s only some five or six years ago Salesaians from Mumbai Province have come to Mangalore Diocese at Trasi, near Kundapur.


Inspite of this, Fr. Charles has been a Salesian well over 40 years! All the wonderful happenings, he attributes to God’s marvelous intervention in his life! He is also a great devotee of Our Blessed Virgin Mary.


His eldest sister Rosy is married to late  Victor D'Silva, of Udyavar and has three children , Gracy, Louis and Prakash. All the three are married and well settled.


Felicity, the second in the family is married to Mr. Roque Lewis of Kallianpur.  They have five children  Joel, Solomon, Shiela, Neena and Allen. Of the five, three are working in the Gulf countries, one has settled down in Mumbai and the youngest is at Kallianpur. All are married  and well settled.


His elder brother  John Urban is retired and settled in Barkur/Bangalore, with his family.  They have three children  Sunil Steven, Sunny and Stanley. Of the three, one is working in New Jersey with his family, the second is in Bahrain with the family and the third is working in Bangalore, but not married.


His younger sister Rosaria, in the similar footsteps of Charlie, became a nun belonging to the Congregation of the Daughters of St.Paul.  At the moment she is the superior of the Provincial House at Bandra, Mumbai.


 His younger brother Richard is retired and settled in Barkur with his family. He had three children, Jennifer, Jessica a nd Denver. Jessica, the second in the family, met with a tragic road accident and died.She was just five years old!


A miniaturized resume (or I must say: Charlie's Road Map to Glory!) is as follows:


Schooling: Primary at Maryknoll School, Barkur

Middle & High School at National High School, Barkur (It became a College much later)

Higher Secondary School at Our Lady’s Higher Secondary School, Bandel, West Bengal.

April 1964 to April 1965  Novitiate at Sunnyside, Shillong, Meghalaya.

1965 to 1968 : Philosophy and graduation Salesian College Sonada, Darjeeling.

1968 to 1970 : Regency at the Minor Seminary, Bandel

1970 to 1971 : B.Ed St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta.

1971 to 1974 : Theology at Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore.

1975 to 1985 : Principal, Don Bosco High School, Hatia  Ranchi.

1985 to 1986 : Diploma in Catechetics from K.J.C. Bangalore.

1986 to 1987 : Dean of studies at the Minor Seminary, Bandel.

1987 to 1988 : In-charge of the Salesian Brother aspirants at Don Bosco Park Circus, Calcutta.

1988 to 1992 : Rector  Don Bosco Youth Centre, Hatia , Ranchi.

1992 to 2000 : In-Charge & Rector, Don Bosco Yuva Sadan, Jabalpur.

2000 to 2002 : Rector, Principal & Parish Priest, Don Bosco, Kokar, Ranchi.

From 2003 to till date : Provincial, Salesian Province of New Delhi.


Incidents in the life of Fr. Charles


Charlie narrates one or two incidents in his life which might help inspire our readers.


It was on a Holy Saturday, probably in the year 1950 or 51, he doesn’t quite recollect. He went to church with his close friend Charles Futardo s/o Joseph Futardo of Barkur to get holy water. On their way to church and back they shared pleasantries, for little did they know that it would be their last meeting together. In the evening on the same day Charlie Lobo receives the shocking news that his close friend  Charles is no more that he got drowned in a pond while taking bath. This tragic incident left a deep void in his life as he was very close to him. ( Charles Futardo) It took several months to recover from this shock!


Consequent to this incident in his life, Charlie had to find another friend equally close to him. This time it was Clifford Lobo, a class mate of his. One evening after class, both of them had gone to pluck some cashew fruits from a compound near their school. His friend Clifford climbed a tree while he remained below. While his friend was plucking the fruits, all of a sudden the branch on which he was standing gave way and Clifford fell to the ground unconscious. Charlie out of fright felt like running  away, but good sense prevailed on him and he tried to revive his companion, who came to consciousness after a while. But the shocking experience he had then was not forgotten easily. It was so frightening that none of them shared this incident with anybody until many years.


There is yet another interesting episode from Charlie’s life. You might think that Charlie was a Altar boy and went regularly to serve Mass before he joined the Seminary; just the contrary. Even though he attempted to learn the Mass prayers in Latin for serving Mass, he never even once was he at the Altar to serve at Mass while he was at home. On reading this account some might raise their eyebrows, saying, how come? The fact is, which he shared with others later on, that he did not like the company of those who went to serve Mass. They were a group whose behavior was not exemplary. That’s why Charlie preferred to avoid their company, even though he went to church regularly. You don't have to be glorified Altar boy to become a priest.  God's calling are mysterious|!


Fr. Charles has been helping youngsters to discern their vocation through counseling and carrier guidance skills right from my early days as a young Priest, As love does not keep track of pleasantries or insults, he does does not remember how many thousands he has helped.


Barkuronline.com wishes even brighter future to Fr. Charles Lobo. The Salesians have two Provinces in |India, and he heads the northern province as the Provincial.  And yet, he is humble, simple, pious, characteristic to some of the Barkurians!


-James Fernandes, USA

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