Catholics in Goa are grieving the death of a 37-year-old priest who died saving three young parishioners from drowning in rough seas. The local Catholic Church praised him as an example for all priests.
Fr. Thomas Fernandes Remedios, associate pastor of the Church of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the village of Nuvem, was at the parish’s beach picnic. Fides news agency reports that about 60 people, mostly youth, attended.
In the afternoon two girls and a boy between 17 and 19 years old ventured into the rough sea despite being warned not to do so. Finding themselves in difficulty, they cried for help.
Fr. Fernandes dove in the water to help and saved two immediately. He saved the third as well, but then suffered a fatal heart attack.
Deacon Savio Moniz, who was at the picnic, told the Goa Herald that the priest collapsed after rescuing the youth.
“We tried to administer first aid to Fr. Thomas as he was almost breathless after he collapsed,” Deacon Moniz reported.
The priest was taken to the hospital, where he was declared dead.
"He is a Shepherd who gave his life for his flock," the Church in Goa has said, according to Fides. It added "in this Year for Priests, he is an example and a testimony for all the priests."