This website is about the GOAN Christian Community of Pakistan. Every Goan has ancestral roots in Goa, India, formerly a Portuguese colony. All Goans of Pakistan are predominantly Catholic. Although the 'Christian Community of Pakistan' has contributed immensely to nation-building; this endeavor is solely dedicated to researching, highlighting and archiving the GOAN community's historical background, cultural heritage, significant achievements and contribution to Pakistan, before and after independence.

 
The Dominic Savio Club and Choir.
 


The Dominic Savio Club began in 1968 as a simple Bible Class run for the children of Our Lady of Fatima's Parish after the Sunday morning Mass. Finding a good response from the Church and the community, it evolved into a proper club in 1970, for school-going children to improve their religious education, having a constitution drawn up by Barney John and approved and signed by Rev. Fr. Kieran Smith, then Parish Priest, and countersigned by Jean Rodrigues and Barney. After a year or so, Allan Goveas joined them, followed by George Furtado.

These three young men became the shining lights that would light a blaze in the hearts of many, many children for generations to come. Barney John was a planner, Allan Goveas a musician and a casual singer, last but not the least, George Furtado was a jack of all trades, able to do whatever had to be done. They were unmarried at the time, but, nonetheless, ready to serve their Parish and community in the spiritual, musical and social growth of its children.

The Dominic Savio Club meetings were held every Sunday morning after Mass in the classrooms of Our Lady of Fatima's School, with the permission and help of its Principals. Barney and Allan taught the children Catechism, and read to them the stories from the Bible and religious books, which were followed by discussions. There were Spelling Bees and written contests, enlivened by meaningful movies in one of the classrooms, with the windows darkened by curtains, and a sheet over the blackboard on which the film was shown.

Later a Dominic Savio Club Committee was introduced, with elections every two years. The enterprising teenagers who became Secretary and Members learnt a lot, not only on how to run meetings but also take minutes and have them passed, and a lot of official terminology about 'quorums' and so forth.

The Club not only consisted of study classes but it also had a library and a game room, down by the side of the entrance door to the school. There was a host of extra-curricular activities such as drawing, painting, stitching, play-acting, origami sculpting, and others. When the annual Mela or Christmas or Easter approached, craft classes were undertaken to prepare the décor and settings to be displayed and also stuff put on sale at its annual Christmas Bazaar.

By this time the Club Management was enhanced and strengthened by the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Fatima Parish and his assistant, Rev. Mothers and Sisters of The Daughters of the Cross, Principals and teachers of Our Lady of Fatima's school, parents and well-wishers of the community, including Sr. Elfreda, Sr. Helen, Dora D'Lima, Peter Johannes, Gerry Monteiro, Michael Pascal, Linda Magalhaes, Ivan Magalhaes, Marissa D'Souza, Christopher D'Souza...the list goes on.

The Dominic Savio Club encouraged its older members to freely tutor the weaker and poorer children of Our Lady of Fatima's School every afternoon. There were yearly retreats and annual picnics to the Friary to watch the buffaloes, ponies and rabbits, or take long walks around the Monastery of Angels. The children loved the trips to the Zoo, and bus drives, all well supervised by the adults. And the older they got, the more they learned of discipline, responsibility, delegation, and even a touch of eloquence.

And what of the Dominic Savio Choir, you may ask? It was synonymous with the name of Allan Goveas. He was a young man who learned to play the mouth-organ and the drums by ear and tempo, but owed his guitar and key-board expertise to the kind tutelage of Roland D'Souza. Not surprising, he passed these talents on to his three sons, Ferdinand, Gratiano and Giles, who not only play in Church for the services, but also at informal gatherings, wedding banquets, five-star hotels, and even on Pakistan's MTV channel for the Chicago concert, the Mama Mia concert, and the like.

The choir took off on the wings of a song and a prayer, countless hours of practice, and the addition of a drummer and a key-board player. It started with the children of the Club and was known as The Dominic Savio Choir, or 'The Children's Choir'. Allan collected the children and patiently taught them the fundamentals; how to read the words, hum the tunes, and then to sing together with each other and the accompanying music, be it a single guitar, or a combo of guitar, drums and key-board.

The children learnt to sing in tune, and then to harmonize. They even learnt to stand in front of the congregation and sing fearlessly. He started a couple of all girl's bands named 'The Butterflies', 'The Noise Makers; and Boys Band called The Fabs, taught many children who were interested in playing the drums, guitar or key-board. Allan himself was part of the first parish Band called 'The young ones" who use to play during breaks at the Fatima 13th Tambola which use to be held twice a week in the Parish. What is more, he is still doing the honours as Director of the Choir and Club.

And the annual Pageants, the Passion Plays, the Christmas Story were all the brain-sparks and tireless work of Allan Goveas. Who can forget the time he had a live Christmas play in the grounds of the Misquita Gardens Housing Societies, when the hapless donkey refused to move an inch with Mary and the Child on its back? And the fear and consternation when the camel nearly bit the hand that gently held it?

We all, parents and children alike, owe these three young men and their helpers a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. Suffice it to say that I shall just ask our loving God to bless the two still living, their spouses and children with endless Safety, Good Health and Happiness, and the one who has sadly left us, George Furtado, a place in his Kingdom for all eternity.

 

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