The Newsletter of Spiritual Direction


 Selections: 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002





Dear Family and Friends:

Greetings from San Bruno in California! Please allow me to share with you my and oil painting of ST. JOSEPH VAZ from Goa depicting "A Dance of Holiness around the Heart of Christ" when Pope John Paul 2 beatified Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 2003.  Pope Francis has decided to canonize him in Sri Lanka on January 14, 2015.


May we continue the merry dance of life as "we rhythmically breathe and smile" [Integral Art. p 26] along with Jesus of Nazareth, whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas. May his life and death continue to inspire us on our paths to enlightened compassion. May we continue to sing with the angels "Glory to God and Peace on Earth!"

Ariosto Coelho

President, Spiritual Direction





Ariosto with a few participants at the

World Congress of Spirituality

and Transpersonal Psychology

at India Habitat Center in New Delhi

on January 6, 2008.




I'm delighted to let you know that I’ve been selected to conduct a presentation at the World Congress of Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology in New Delhi on January 6, 2008.


MANDALAS AND PERSONAL MYTHOLOGY: Experiential and Visual Tools for Spiritual Guides.

This presentation/workshop is a brief introduction to a hands-on experiential blending of Integral Art, Transpersonal Psychology and Spirituality at the service of Spiritual Direction and Transformation. During this mini-session the participant will Awaken, Balance and Center Delight in consonance with the rhythm of ther breath. By using creative and traditional processes -including Sacred Rituals, Art from the Heart, Spiritual Dreamwork and Intensive Journal Writing- the participant will discover symbols significant to one's mythology and produce a visual representation or mandala of the Light within. [Only basic art supplies -paper and pencil- will be provided to the first 100 participants.]


On October 14, 2007 I was delighted to meet Msgr. Felipe Neri Ferrao, the Patriarch of the East Indies and Archbishop of Goa, at a gathering of people of Goan origin held at St. Mark's RC Church in Belmont, CA.



L to R: Fr. Al Furtado, CSSP, Fr. George Alengadan, SDB, Archbishop Felipe Ferra, Fr. Ariosto Coelho and Fr. Joaquim of Alameda, CA.



Re: The Da Vinci Code

Hello Contemporary Catholics, Christians, Believers or Seekers, "Fact or Fiction"? "Conspiracy Theory"? Whatever the case may be, permit me to offer my two cents in this discussion. I would count myself among the 65 millions or so who have read or heard this fictional novel. I have heard it on an audio CD as I drove around the San Francisco Bay Area in 2005 and found it intriguing!

Father Jonathan Morris says "Trapdoors always lead down." Water seldom goes up. Like Augustine of Hippo we make attempts to empty the ocean into our own little wells or in the words of Albert Schweitzer "Men searching for the historical Jesus look into a deep well, see a reflection of themselves, and call it Lord." None of us has all the knowledge, but we make attempts to tap into that consciousness ["trap" or tool?] which leads the seeker to experience personally "This is Infinite and That is Intimate" (Brihadāranyaka Upanishad 5.1.1).

My reflections flow from the history of the evolution of consciousness [change unfloding/enfolding - "evolution or involution" as described by Sri Aurobindu, Theillard de Chardin and others]:

A- Jesus of Nazareth, Paul of Tarsus and many others were instrumental in creating a new AWAKENING, which gave rise to "Christ" with its ethos, culture and civilization.

B- The new consciousness as evidenced by the popularity [65 million strong] of the Da Vinci Code, in my opinion, seeks to BALANCE history with the contemporary esearch, needs and values beyond the accepted/limited Christ of History and Faith - a quest.

C- Let us hope that this quest CENTERS on the best within each conscious human being and religious/spiritual culture in the ever shrinking global village, rises beyond insecurity, greed and selfishness and reaches out with greater love to a "Civilization with a Heart" [Dom Bede Griffiths 1906-1994] towards a "Planetary Ecology of Compassion" [Gospel of Matthew 25/40], the Golden Rule advocated by most religious and spiritual traditions,

D- That once again we may take DELIGHT in and sing with both the heavenly angels and down-to- earth shepherds. This is my wish and prayer "Glory to God in Heaven and Peace on Earth to People of Good Will" [Lk 2/14]. This is my vision of and mission for the Contemporary Church -Community of Believers!

I agree with a very humble soul, Mahatma Gandhi [1869-1948] who wrote "We must be the change we want to see in the world." This change is what I strive for. It is my constant struggle as I seek to Awaken, Balance and Center Delight in the best within every individual and group where the soul glows and grows gracefully with gratitude. Let us be united in supporting one another in this Wonder-filled Adventure of Faith as it unfolds and enfolds eternity in history!



A 2005 calendar I received from the Salesians of Don Bosco in Mumbai reminds me that they celebrate 99 years  of Salesian presence and activity in India. I, too, would like to thank God for the various sons of St. John Bosco (1815-1888) who have been a part of my life since 1960, when I was led by my parents to Liceu Dom Bosco in Pangim, Goa.


As I look forward to 2006 I would like to thank God for my grand uncle Fr. Ariosto Xavier Coelho (1861-1923) who was God's instrument in welcoming the first Salesians to India, to establish their first orphanage in 1906 and, eventually, take over the Sacred Heart Parish in Tanjore in 1915.  The story of the growth of the Salesians in India over these hundred years is phenomenal and bears witness to lives lived in consonance with the divine conscience.


The following short story  6. TANJORE, THEIR FINAL DESTINATION [based on the Archives of the Salesian Province of Madras, a Souvenir from the Parish in Tanjore published in Tamil in 1969 and the Memorie dell’Oratorio] offers a perspective on St. John Bosco, the first Salesians in India and their first institution in Tanjore in 1906.


Fr. Ariosto  Xavier Coelho (born in Goa in 1861, died and buried in Negapatinam in 1923) was Pastor  [1893-1915] of Sacred Heart Church in Tanjore where he helped the Salesians to establish their first orphanage in India. He welcomed the first Salesians led by Fr. George Tamatis, SDB, to Tanjore, India in 1906. In 1915 in his capacity as the Vicar Forane of  the Tanjore District for the Padroado Archdiocese of Goa-Mylapore at Negapatinam in South India, he placed the Parish in Tanjore in the capable hands of Msgr.  Eugene Mederlet, SDB, with Frs. Carpene, G. Ignatius, V. Arul, A. G. Deblert and P. Mariaselvam assisting him [1915-28]. [Tanjore Their Final Destination - A Story]


According to Fr. Joseph Thekkedath, SDB, (2005) in A History of the Salesians in India from the beginning up to 1951, "As soon as they alighted from the train, they were greeted by Fr. Coelho, the parish priest, accompanied by the chief local authorities. ... The diocesan priests from Goa who were in charge of the parish were not at all eager to give it up. Besides a place had to be found for the parish priest who was an important person in the diocese and a capable man." [pages 20 & 48]







My dear fellow priests, parishioners and invitees,  I'm delighted to celebrate this Silver Eucharist with you. Thank you for your presence on this day when I thank God for 25 years of Catholic Priesthood [8 of these as a Catholic Priest married to Vivian since March 22, 1994], 25 years of Professed Religious Life [1968-93], 42 years of Salesian Initiation since Liceu Dom Bosco in Pangim, Goa [1960]  and 52 years of life. I recall all people who have made me experience the reality, joy and challenges of being "with you, a disciple of Christ; for you, His priest today."


DECEMBER 21, 1977



On this day 25 years ago, I was ordained a priest by Archbishop Nicolau Gonsalves in a 400 year-old Church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary in Navelim, then, the biggest Parish in the Archdiocese of Goa with over 20,000 practicing Catholics.

On this day 25 years ago, my parents and family invited hundreds of well wishers to Pandavas Mansion, our home in Aquem, to join a few of the 18,000 Salesians of Don Bosco, especially those of the Western region of India, to celebrate their dream come true.

On this day 25 years ago, I experienced that "priesthood is leadership in service and courage, power in submission and surrender, success even in failure, because it is Christ who is the leader, gives the power and spells success."


DECEMBER 21, 2002



Today, 25 years later I am happy to celebrate this day with you. I welcome you and I respect you and your faith tradition. I accept each of you as a wonderful person placed on this planet with a specific purpose and mission in life. I want to unite with a prayerful wish for you and for every member of your family and for your friends.


Today, 25 years later I am happy our paths crossed. It is these intersections of human and divine encounters that I want to celebrate. Please look at the front cover of the Booklet, you see there my Dad and Mom. While my Dad is lost in reverie my Mom is looking with faith at my newly anointed priestly hands. I realize that my Mom is seeing the transformation created by the breaking of the golden mandala of the host into a shining purple cross, the symbol for intersections of human and divine interventions: The Shelter of Glory -MoimĀshram.



Today, 25 years later I want to recognize these intersections of interventions that have brought us together. At this juncture, I wish I could mention each one of you by name, because our paths have crossed and you are here today! Please excuse me if I mention a few names:

Vivian Marrone and her family : miraculous intersections!

The Coelhos of Aquem and their families spread throughout the globe : faith-filled intersections!

The Salesians of Don Bosco all over the world : youthful intersections!

The Archdioceses of San Francisco and Chicago, especially the Priests and Parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Paul Parish Churches in San Francisco and St. Mary of the Lake Parish Church in Chicago particularly Ms. Eppie Salazar & Mrs. Centeno : supportive intersections!



2003 FALL



2003 Soul Travel

[oil on canvas 24"x24"]


Today, as I let my soul travel anew I recall my eighteenth great grand father Tipú Santú Naik Sardessai of Aquem.  I hope you enjoy reading the following  SHORT STORY : 2. A HEARTY LAUGH : This is a mythological story based on Professor José Julião de Almeida’s Historia de Aquem e Esquema (Genealogia) da Familia Coelho, (Margão: Boa Imprensa. 1969) and offers a perspective on conversions to Christianity in Goa, India in the sixteenth century. Beyond mythology, recorded history as narrated by Professor José Julião de Almeida in Historia de Aquem e Esquema (Genealogia) da Familia Coelho, (Margão: Boa Imprensa. 1969) states that Padre Sebastião Coelho laughed as he baptized Tipú Santú Naik Sardessai and welcomed him into the Roman Catholic Church in 1560. The Padre gave Tipú his name "Sebastião," and called the clan "Coelho." According to Almeida, Tipú was the first Ksatrya Hindu in South Goa to have accepted Christ.



Jose Lucas Coelho or Rosarito assisting with

the Initiation of Moima Ashram in Goa,

India on January 12, 2003.



2003 Josė Lucas Coelho

[oil on canvas 12"x9"]


Today, as my soul travels to Aquem I recall my younger brother Rosarito, Jose Lucas Coelho, who has been a very significant part of my life for fifty years since October 18, 1953. His birth is the very first recollection I have and I cherish it with great delight. I'm eternally grateful to him and his family for continuing the familial and social traditions of the Coelhos in Aquem. I'm proud of his association with the newly established St. Sebastian's Parish Church by the side of the Caves where lived Tipú Santú Naik Sardessai and his ancestors, the Pandavas.



Ariosto holds his wedding rings as he prays

with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India

on January 3, 1994.


October 19, 2003 has been earmarked by Pope John Paul II for the beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I'm grateful to God who allowed our paths to cross and our souls to meet. One of her prayers continues to accompany me on my  spiritual journey. I would like to share it with you: "Guide me as you will and use me when you will."



2003 A Dance Of Holiness

[oil on canvas 20"x24"]



2002 DECEMBER continued



The Marstons of Daly City, Ms. Mariamma of San Francisco, The Fernandes of San Leandro, The Pereiras of San Lorenzo, The Gieses of Berkeley, The Brittos of El Cerrito, and many others : friendly intersections!

The Parishes of Christ Church in San Mateo, St. Thomas a Becket in Sacramento, St. John’s in Hayward : Anglican and liturgical intersections!

The White Robed Monks, Stanford University Hospital Chaplaincy, Convalescent Hospital Ministry of Santa Clara Valley : interfaith and ministerial intersections!

San Mateo County Mental Health Services, Alaska Airlines and San Francisco International Airport Chaplaincy : therapeutic and healing intersections!

Today, I’ve received many assurances of prayerful support as well as intentions to pray for. Among these I would like to include: Kelly Marston on her birthday today, Amy Marston, Nadine Coelho, Karl Coelho, Sheryl Monteiro, Sonia Kauntankar, Telma D’Sa, Eunice Raye Schuster, Bryan Duffty, ...

Today, I want to offer this Silver Eucharist for Peace in the world, with the following realizations: that peace is flowing like a river in the midst of conflicts; that peace begins with each one of us; that peace begins in our homes and spreads beyond geographical and historical boundaries. Today, may peace reign in our hearts, in our countries and in our world.


2003 FALL continued




"a land of dreams and scenic beauty, is surrounded by majestic mountains and bathed by several springs. It has been the seat of power of conquerors like the Rajas and the Pandavas who sought after the land for its strategic location to establish their state residence. They built underground palaces and tunnels which were later occupied by Goancars and settlers until the kingdoms got gradually converted into Gaoncarias. 

In the prehistoric times Aquem was believed to be the capital of an extensive territory, possibly of Goa, which constituted a state dominated by a Raja descendent of the sons of Pandaw or Pandava who had five sons. This event is said to have occurred after the great war of Mahabharata which ended after 18 days and the two families spread all over India and Goa.

The extensive territory that had Aquem as its capital consisted of Margao known as Mhargao (village of Weavers), Nuvem ( the old name being Mati,) Marsgao (village of demons), Mazgao (the central village), Dramapur (the city of Dormo the first son of Pandaw/Dhormapur known as city of devotion ), Sirlim (Sir Ali – a great war Lord), Telaulim (Tal-vali, a low level village), Dicarpale (Dicaro – a plant and pale – a village), Davorlim (the border of the village of Odli – Orlim) and Navelim. The village of Navelim was later ceded to the Dessai’s of Margao after the split by the last descendant Embicho Naique. Hence there was no mention of communidade of Navelim, although we have communidade of Aquem and communidade of Margao .

The birth of the chapel of St. Sebastian is based on sources such as oral and written transmission from generations of families, newspapers such as "A India Portuguesa", "A Vida" Govt. gazettes, historical archives and vestiges of monuments such as grottoes and tunnels.

St. Sebastian was the saint that the people turned to when burdened with epidemics of pests and plagues, which occurred frequently in Goa at the time, especially in Salcette areas. Through his intercession and miraculous interventions, the recurrence of these pests and plagues were eliminated altogether.

The chapel of St. Sebastian came into existence in its primitive stages in the year 1592 after missionaries converted it from a private hindu temple. This temple was known as "Pandavachem deul" owned by Tipu Suntu Naique Sar Dessai, a decendant of the Pandavas, who had converted to Christianity on the 29th of February 1560 along with a thousand other locals from Aquem. He took the name of Sebastiao Coelho and hence the date of the feast of the Patron Saint was fixed on this day.

The Chapel was handed over to and maintained by the Comunidade of Aquem from 1562 onwards and later by the collection of funds from the local faithful. Although the feast Mass of the Patron saint may have been celebrated on 29th February every year from 1560 onwards, the Sunday Masses were more regularly celebrated from around 1900 onwards. In 1925 Fr. Arduino Dias from Velsao was believed to have been the non-resident chaplain of the chapel. He was followed by Fr. Joao de Piedade Viegas from Carmona, who served as the resident Chaplain. It was during his tenure that the side altar dedicated to our lady of Rosary and St. Joseph came into being and it was inaugurated on the 12th of January, 1938. There may have been non resident chaplains of this chapel before 1925 but no clear records to this effect are available. Thereafter from 1940 to 1954 Fr. Elias Dias was the next resident chaplain who was followed by the other resident chaplains.

The "Pandavachem deul" was 50 meters away from the grotto at the back of the Chapel which is the entrance leading to the underground caves and tunnels. These caves and tunnels were built by the Pandavas for defense from enemies like Shivaji and his warriors. Before the roads were tarred in 1956, a sort of spiral flow of water covering a diameter of 4 to 6 meters was clearly observed about twenty meters east of the chapel, signifying the presence of underground tunnels quite possibly extending upto Rachol and Chandor. 

According to the Historical Archives, the actual altar of St. Sebastian was 50 meters away from the grotto at the side of the "deul" in the capela mor of the present Chapel. 

The chapel was enlarged in 1916. A big granite cross was erected on the top of the Chapel tower on the occasion of the conversion of the deul into the chapel. This cross was later hit by lightning and destroyed in 1958. 

The adjoining residence for the priest was built around 1938, and the school of Sta Terezinha for music and elementary studies came into existence around 1952. The "Confre de Capela" de Sto Sebastiao was installed in the year 1957.

It is pertinent to note that the St. Sebastian Chapel of Aquem Alto was the oldest sanctuary, not only in Aquem but also in the old Salcette Parish from 1562 onwards with the exception of the fort of Rachol.

Gradually areas of Borda, Gogol, Mestabhat, Margao city, Police Station up to river Sal were cut off from the Parish of Aquem and what remained were the areas of Aquem Alto and Aquem Baixo.

From 1939 to 1940, as per the Govt. Gazette, the railway line was used as a dividing line between Margao and Navelim and with this division, the Aquem Parish suffered further dismemberment, since Aquem Baixo and a part of Fradilem became a part of Navelim. Later, a part of Aquem Alto, Tansazori and Malbhat was given to Margao.

This Chapel was under the domain of the Navelim Church, which was actually founded in 1597 and dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It was later burnt down and another Church was built dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary at the present site in Navelim. This was burnt down again and finally the present Church of Navelim was constructed in 1604.

Hence, the presently erected St. Sebastian Church at Aquem Alto has a rich, glorious past. It began as a chapel consecrated to the Patron st Sebastian in the year 1562. It has existed for more than half a millennium and continues to exist in all its glory."


Homepage October, 2003]




On January 12, 2004 a year after the initiation of Moima Ashram in Goa, I met with Mr. Gracias from Navelim and the lawyer in Margao to go over some of the details for acquiring the property at Mullem. I call it Xanti Moll, the Field of Peace for the Moima Ashram Project which proposes to focus on "glory and peace" [Luke 2/14 - moima ani xanti in Konkani] two mystical dimensions of the soul of Goa.

[When the land at Mullem was no longer available,

the Project was put on hold.]




                    Goencho Ulo


Graceful Grateful Peaceful Playful


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