Fr Joachim Marian Demello SJ was laid to rest following a Funeral Mass last Sunday at St Francis Xavier RC Church, Port Mourant.
His sudden death at his home, Arrupe House, Queenstown triggered feelings of sadness and surprise in the local Catholic community as news spread of his death. He had been staying at Arrupe House on leave in preparation for a sabbatical course in Ireland and a visit to England.
Fr Demello, 67, originally from Goa province in India, had been working in Guyana for over 18 years. Catholic Standard reported that on Monday night (January 20) he complained of feeling unwell. “The next morning, when he failed to appear for breakfast, his brother priests went to check on him and found him dead on his bed in his bedroom,” the diocesan weekly said.
Born October 7, 1952, Fr Joachim entered the Society of Jesus on August 25, 1974. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 3, 1986. According to Standard, he came to the Guyana Region in 2002 for a sabbatical but stayed on to serve in the region.
“His early assignments included posts at St Pius X parish in Georgetown, followed by service in Guyana’s interior where he spent most of his earlier years in Guyana.”
He more recently spent a few years in Berbice. He was former parish priest of St Francis Xavier parish, Port Mourant, Corentyne and former administrator of the Guyana Human Development Center, Port Mourant. After this he moved to Georgetown. His last assignment was as assistant to the parish priests at St Francis of Assisi, Barbados.
In a statement, Fr Christopher Llanos SJ, Jesuit Superior in Guyana said that Fr Joachim was known as a man to whom anyone could open their heart and speak in times of need.
“We remember with gratitude Joachim’s precious contribution as a pastor and friend to so many in the Church and pray for his friends and relatives in this most difficult time. May he rest in peace.”