SHILLONG: A Catholic missionary, Fr Joseph Cilia, who had rigorously worked on various issues concerning the youth including career orientation courses, value education, rehabilitation of addiction to substance abuse, passed away in Shillong on Monday.
Fr. Cilia, a Maltese priest, had held the post of Director of Don Bosco Youth Centre, Shillong for more than 35 years. He was 82.
The funeral service will be held at the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christian by Archbishop of Shillong Archdiocese, Most Rev Dominic Jala on Tuesday at 1.30 pm followed by the funeral cortege to the Salesian cemetery at the Catholic Cemetery, Laitumkhrah.
A Requiem Mass was also celebrated at Don Bosco Youth Centre, Shillong at 5.30 pm on Monday to pay respect and pray for the departed soul.
Known as a disciplinarian and a loving and caring teacher, Fr. Cilia, the priest who belonged to the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) congregation. He had served in Assam and Meghalaya.
“Fr Cilia was declared dead on Monday morning at 3.30 am by doctors at Nazareth hospital. He has been ailing for the past three years,” Fr. Michael Makri, Director of Don Bosco Youth Centre, said.
Fr. Cilia had also involved in counseling session on sex education and sensitive and relevant issue pertaining to youth development.
“He (Fr Cilia) regularly conducted programmes of religious and social nature from time and again; there were Bible camps, Leadership camps, youth seminars and retreats, besides other social and literary activities,” the statement said.
Fr. Cilia was conferred the Meghalaya State Award for Social Service in 2000. Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma and the Salesian Province of St. John Paul-II, mourned the passing away of Fr. Cilia.Born on January 30, 1936, he was ordained as priest on April 17, 1966.