Peter John, son of a simple farmer-family of late Mr. Isaac Roche and Carmen Monteiro, was born on 3rd April 1924 in Pandeshwar Island, belonging to St. Peter’s Parish, Barkur (Diocese of Mangalore, presently Diocese of Udupi). After completing his elementary and high-school studies, he joined the Capuchin Order at Monte Mariano Friary, Farangipet (Diocese of Mangalore) in the year 1944, and there made his first profession on 11th April 1945. While making the first profession, he received the new name Alfred according to the then religious practice.While doing his philosophical studies in St. Antony’s Friary, Tillary ( Diocese of Quilon), Kerala, he did his final profession on 11th April 1949. His theological studies were at Amalashram (Diocese of Trichy), Tamilnadu, and in St. Joseph’s Friary, Kotagiri, Nilgiris, Tamilnadu, where he received the Sacerdotal Ordination on 11th April 1951. After two days, on 14th April, he offered the First Solemn Mass in his home-parish dedicated to St. Peter at Barkur. After the Priestly Ordination Fr. Alfred Roche was transferred to Monte Mariano Noviciate, Farangipet (Diocese of Mangalore) on 14th April 1952 where he rendered his zealous service for 10 years, animating the novices as assistant novice-master for 4 years and then, as the superior of the novitiate for 6 years. From Farangipet he was transferred to the Holy Family Parish, Brahmavar (Diocese of Mangalore, presently Diocese of Udupi) on 6th April 1956 where he rendered his precious pastoral as well as ecumenical service for 16 years. On 18th July 1972 Fr. Alfred Roche was transferred to St. Anne’s Parish, Binaga (Diocese of Karwar). The simple parishioners appreciated his devout life and dedicated pastoral ministry very much. After 3 years he was transferred from St. Anne’s Parish, Binaga, to St. Joseph’s Parish, Lower Kasarkod (Diocese of Karwar) where he offered his praiseworthy apostolate for 12 years. Finally, as a retired friar, in 1994 he was transferred to the Holy Family Parish, Brahmavar, where he had offered his devout and dedicated service for 16 years. Having already known the geographical setting as well as a large number of the parishioners, he could easily render a helping hand to the pastor in the parish and to the confreres in the fraternity, in spite of his advanced age and delicate health. While he was generously contributing his might in the parish as well as in the friary in and through his exemplary life of prayer and fraternal service, his health condition became worse and so he was admitted to Fr. Muller’s Hospital, Mangalore, and the ‘Final Transfer’ came to him from the All-loving and All-compassionate Father through a cardiac attack in the hospital on 31st Dec. 1996. The funeral liturgy was officiated by Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza, the then Bishop off the diocese of Mangalore, with a large number of priests, religious and laity, irrespective of caste and creed on 1st Jan. 1997. Owing to the pressing requests of the faithful of the Holy Family parish, as an exception, he was interred in the parish cemetery.
Fr. Alfred Roche was born on 3rd April 1924 in a small island called Padeshwar belonging to St. Peter’s Parish, Barkur (Diocese of Mangalore, presently Diocese of Udupi). He was baptized on 12th April 1924 by Rev. Fr. Denis J. D’Souza and his baptismal name was Peter John. The name Alfred was given to him in the novitiate according to the practice prevailing at that time. His dad, Mr. Isaac Roche, was a farmer and his mother, Carmen Monteiro, was a housewife. Besides the parents, Peter John was taken care of by his paternal aunt, Miss Piad Roche, who was a member of the family. Although by profession Mr. Isaac Roche was an agriculturist, nevertheless every morning he could find time to go to the parish church, crossing the Sita river with a small canoe, and to render his devoted service as a sacristan for more than 40 years.Peter John was fortunate to have an exemplary parents, who were devout, loving, and caring. He grew up in a prayerful and affectionate family atmosphere along with his two brothers: Alphonse and Louis and two sisters: Juliana and Cecilia. There is no doubt that Peter John accompanied his dad time and again to the church, and while serving attentively at the altar, frequently received the holy Eucharist very devoutly. For, we know that he was the leader of the altar-servers. As the parents of Peter John did pay great attention to the spiritual formation and faith-dimension of their children so, in spite of the limited resources they had, they were very attentive in giving the best of intellectual formation to them. Peter John did his lower primary at Moodahadu, his higher primary at St. Antony’s School at Sastan, and did his high school studies at Milagres School at Kannianpur. Peter John was a born musician. He was involved in the parish choir especially at Milagres Church, Kallianpur. Then, of course, he cultivated this God-given musical talent during his initial formation after joining the Capuchin Order. Consequently, as an ordained priest in all the places: Monte Mariano Novitiate, Farangipet; Holy Family Church, Brahmavar; St. Anne’s Church, Binaga (Diocese of Karwar); and St. Joseph’s Church, Lower Kasarkod, Honnavar (Diocese of Karwar) where he rendered his precious formative and pastoral service, he formed beautiful choirs and trained the entire congregation to sing the liturgical hymns with the parish choir. Peter John was a sportsman too. Though humble, simple, and soft-spoken by nature, nevertheless he was very active and sportive in the play ground. Cricket was his pet-game which he used to play with great interest, encouraging, at the same time, his colleagues and guiding them. Thus, we can see that he was a multi-talented person.
We have already dealt with the Early Life of the SERVANT OF GOD-Fr. Alfred Roche, commonly known as “Amcho Padriyab” (our father). Now, let us try to learn something about his Religious Life, i.e., from his entering into the Capuchin Order till his departure from this world.Every vocation is from the All-loving Father, Who calls each one according to His eternal design. At the same time, in this processes of guiding an individual to discern rightly and to make a proper choice, He sends His messengers (cf. VC 66). Coming to Peter John, born and brought up in a prayerful and devout family, the seed of vocation to religious and sacerdotal life, was already sown in his heart by the All-bountiful Creator at the very moment of his conception in his mother’s womb. As this seed was slowly sprouting in him, when he was a high-school-student at Milagres School, Kallianpur, the All-Provident Father gave him the opportunity of meeting late Fr. Philip Neri OFM Cap, who had come to Milagres Church to celebrate his First Holy Mass after his Sacerdotal Ordination. This fraternal encounter with Fr. Philip Neri became a special grace in nurturing and fostering the tiny plant of religious and priestly vocation in Peter John. Inspired, guided, and led by the Spirit of the Lord in different ways Peter John decided to join the Capuchin Order and reached Monte Mariano Friary, Farangipet (Diocese of Mangalore) in the year 1944 at the age of 20. Vested with the capuchin habit on 10th April 1945 he received the new name Alfred as a sign of his dedication to the Lord in the Capuchin Order. Fr. Ambrose Rebello OFM Cap of happy memory was his novice master and at the end of the novitiate he made his first profession on 11th April 1946. After the temporal profession he was sent to St. Antony’s Friary, Tillary, Kollam (Quilon), Kerala, for his philosophical studies, where he made his final profession on 11th April 1949. He pursued his theological studies, first at Amalashram, Trichy, later at St. Joseph’s Friary, Kotagiri (Ooty Dioese) where he received the Sacerdotal Ordination on 11th April 1951. The little plant of consecrated and sacerdotal life that was slowly growing in the heart of Peter John in the Roche-family, received further nourishment in the Capuchin-family. It was during the initial formation: postulancy, novitiate, philosophy, theology, and pastoral studies that love of God, love of neighbour, and preferential option for the marginalized got fostered and consolidated in the heart of Br. Alfred Roche. During the initial formation, he grew not only intellectually and scientifically but also spiritually as a genuine son of St. Francis, the poverello of Assisi. The book that he wrote in Konkani, entitled Niskalpon (Chastity) in the year 1955, when he was the assistant novice-master at Monte Mariano Friary, Farangipet (Diocese of Mangalore), bears witness to this. For, after the Sacerdotal Ordination he was sent to the above mentioned Friary on 14th April 1952 as the assistant novice-master, where he rendered his praiseworthy service for four years in animating the novices and training the novices and the faithful, coming to the Friary chapel in liturgical music. On 6th April 1956 he was transferred to the Holy Family Parich, Brahmavar (Diocese of Mangalore, presently Diocese of Udupi) and was appointed the first parish priest, when Most Rev. Dr. Raymond D’Mello, the then Bishop of the Diocese of Mangalore, wanted to hand over this parish to the capuchins owing to the schism and conflicts cropping up in the parish and in the vicinity. So, Fr. Alfred Roche, trusting in the Lord and respecting the word of the Major Superiors, took up the responsibility of the pastor and worked hard in catechizing and educating the children and youth, fostering the faith of his flock, promoting vocations to religious and priestly life, and building up ecumenical relationship with the separated brethren for 16 years. During these years he completed the work of the Church with a beautiful altar and got a sonorous Italian bell. From Holy Family Parish, Brahmavar, he was transferred to St. Ann’s Parish, Binaga (Diocese of Karwar) as the parish priest on 18th July 1972. Once again, he was the first capuchin to take up this responsibility in this parish. Though his pastoral service in this parish was of a short period of 3 years, his exemplary life of prayer and dedicated service bore plentiful fruit in fostering Eucharistic devotion and family-spirit in the parish. His next transfer was to St. Joseph’s Parish, Lower Kasarkod (Diocese of Karwar) as the first capuchin parish priest on 30th April 1975, where his focus was to catechize and educate the children and youth, strengthen the faith his flock with his musical talent and down-to-earth sermons, fostering vocations for religious and priestly life, bringing about reconciliation and peace in the families, and finding adequate jobs to the youth. During his committed pastoral service of six years, he built a beautiful church and provided a sonorous Italian bell. Precious people are sought after and needed everywhere. A God-centred and experienced friar was badly needed at Monte Mariano Friary, Farangipet, to animate and govern the novitiate fraternity, where he was transferred in June 1981. During his humble and prayer-centred service to the novices for six years, he did preach a number of retreats to the diocesan clergy and religious of different Congregations in addition to his guidance to the SFO fraternities. Once again his loving and compassionate service was needed St. Joseph’s Church, Lower Kasarkod, Honnavar. So, on 1st June 1987 once again Fr. Alfred Roche was transferred to this parish as pastor of and superior of Friary. Having already known the parishioners and the social setting pretty well, he could enrich and consolidate the apostolate that he had already initiated during previous six years’ service: faith-formation of the flock, education of the children, vocation promotion to sacerdotal and religious life, reconciliation and peace in the families, and job-opportunities to the jobless. As he was aging and becoming weak in health, as a retired friar, Fr. Alfred Roche was transferred to Holy Family Friary as the vicar of the fraternity in the year 1994. In spite of his delicate health he was generous in offering his little service to the friars in the friary and to the faithful in the parish. The “final transfer from above” came to him with a cardiac attack on 31st Dec. 1996 in Fr. Muller’s Hospital, Mangalore, and his funeral was on 1st Dec. 1997, officiated by his Excellency Aloysius Paul D’Souza, the then Bishop of the Diocese of Mangalore, with a vast number of priests, religious, and lay people, irrespective of caste and creed. His mortal remains were interred in the parish cemetery of the Holy Family Church, Brahmavar, as an exception, precisely because of the earnest requests of the parishioners.
Peter John joined the Capuchin Order and did his first profession, with the new name Alfred, on 11th April 1945 and was ordained on 11th April 1951. His first ministry was ar Monte Mariano Friary, Farangipet, where he was appointed the assistant novice-master on 14th April 1952. We can see the zeal of this young formator in animating the novices by his exemplary prayer-life and well-prepared lessons based on the Word of God, teaching of the Fathers of the Church, and of the Popes. The book that he wrote in Konkani entitled Niskalpnon (Chastity) in 1955 bears witness to this. The rich content of this book is existential even today. Therefore, it is translated in English to make it available for a wider range of readers. With his musical talent he was training the novices and the laity coming to the chapel for mass in liturgical music. Besides, while helping the friars in the day-to-day chores, he was assisting and substituting the parish priests in the neighbourhood.When Most Rev. Dr. Raymond D’Mello, the then Bishop of the Diocese of Mangalore, wanted to hand over the Holy Family Parish to the Capuchins, owing to a schism that was cropping up in the parish, knowing the spiritual depth and fraternal approach of Fr. Alfred Roche, he was transferred to the above mentioned parish as the first capuchin parish priest on 6th April 1956. As a pastor he paid great attention in catechising the children and youth, training the flock in liturgical music, strengthening their faith through his down-to-earth sermons, finding proper jobs to the youth, and regularly visiting the elderly and sickly. He completed the work of the church with a beautiful altar and a sonorous Italian bell. He took great pain in building up friendly relationship with the separated brethren and, with his fraternal approach, could bring back many of them to the catholic fold. From Holy Family Parish he was transferred to St. Anne’s Parish, Binaga (Diocese of Karwar) on 18th July 1972. During his short stay of three years, with his spirit of prayer and simplicity of life, he could build up the faith of the flock with special devotion of the holy Eucharist, change of heart of some parishioners living an immoral life, and build up friendly relationship with the members of other religions with his special concern towards the sick and marginalized. On 30th April 1975 he was transferred to St. Joseph’s Parish, Lower Kasarkod (Diocese of Karwar). During the tenor of six years, as an experienced pastor, he focussed his attention on catechizing and educating the children and youth, training the parishioners in liturgical music, strengthening their faith with his down-to-earth sermons, fostering vocations for priestly and religious life, working out reconciliation among families with a group called “Shanthidal”, and finding adequate jobs to the jobless. In addition to this he built a new church and got an Italian bell. Meanwhile his loving and dedicated service was needed at Monte Mariano Friary, and he was transferred to Farangipet in June 1981 as the superior of the noviciate-fraternity. While animating and guiding the entire fraternity with his humble fraternal approach for six years, he set aside a little time for preaching retreats to the Clergy and communities of different Religious Congregations. Once again, the God-centred and compassionate apostolate of Fr. Alfred Roche was found necessary at St. Joseph’s Parish, Lower Kasarkod, and he was warmly welcomed by the faithful on 1st June 1987. Having already known, to a certain extent, the spiritual depth and social atmosphere of the parish, he tried to enrich and consolidate the evangelical and pastoral values in the parish. As the presbytery was in a poor condition, he had it rebuilt. As Fr. Alfred was aging he was transferred to Holy Family Friary, Brahmavar, as vicar of the fraternity. While he was rendering his humble service in the fraternity and giving a helping hand to the parish priest, the “final call from above” came to him when he was in Fr. Muller’s Hospital, Mangalore, through a cardiac attack to which he humbly said “fiat”. His mortal remains were interred in the cemetery of the above mentioned parish.
Our hearts are full of gratitude towards God, our All-loving and All-compassionate Father, who has raised our dear Fr. Alfred Roche OFM Cap, lovingly known as “Amcho Padriyab” and “Roche Padriyab”, to the level of SERVANT OF GOD. It is an extraordinary grace that the All-good and All-kind heavenly Father has conferred upon his faithful and humble son, who lived with us and rendered his precious pastoral ministry amidst us with great love and dedication.Born in 1924 and brought up in the Roche-garden, this little plant (Peter John) was transplanted into the Capuchin-garden in 1944 at the age of 20, where received the new name Alfred as he made his first profession in 1945. It was in the Capuchin-garden, gradually growing in spirit of the Evangelical Councils and Capuchin Franciscan Charism, that this tiny plant became a healthy fruit-bearing tree, during the course of eight years of initial formation and received the Sacerdotal Ordination in 1951. Quality of a tree, as we know, is known from the fruits. After the ordination Fr. Alfred Roche was transferred twice to the novitiate-fraternity at Monte Mariano, Farangipet. In 1952 he was appointed the assistant novice-master and, during his four- years-service, his focus was on the novices and the healthy fruits offered by this tree, are: his exemplary life of prayer and brotherhood; his well-prepared lessons to the novices; forming a beautiful choir of the novices, and training the laity, coming to the chapel for mass, in liturgical music. Then, in 1981 he was appointed the superior of the novitiate-fraternity. While offering his humble service of six years, he tried to animate and guide every member with his fraternal touch. From Monte Mariano, Farangipet, Fr. Alfred Roche was transferred to three parishes, one after another: In 1956 Fr. Alfred Roche was appointed the parish priest of the Holy Family Parish at Brahmavar, when the atmosphere in the parish was very much tensed and confused owing the schism cropping up in the parish and in the neighbourhood. In these confused waters, he, duly engrafted into the Tree of Life, while, completing the construction of the church, focussed his attention on: the education of the children, faith-formation of the flock, care of the sick and marginalized, and spent good bit of his time and energy in building up friendly relationship with the separated brethren and, with his fraternal and humble approach, he could bring back several of them to the catholic fold during his praiseworthy pastoral service of 16 years. From Holy Family Parish, Brahmavar, Fr. Alfred Roche was transferred to St. Anne’s Parish, Binaga. During his God-centred pastoral service of three years (1972-1974) he could strengthen the faith of the parishioners with his practical sermons based on the Word of God; bring about a change in the life of a few people living an immoral life; and, with his fraternal approach, build up cordial relationship with the members of other religions. In 1975 Fr. Alfred Roche was transferred to St. Joseph’s Parish, Lower Kasarkod, where, his dedicated service as pastor and superior for 12 (1975-1981; 1987-1993) years has borne plentiful fruit in the area of: education, faith-formation, reconciliation, care and concern towards the sick and marginalized, help and guidance to the jobless. While offering these manifold services he, with the help of the benefactors and the collaboration of his flock, build a beautiful and church with a presbytery. Finally, as retired friar, Fr. Alfred Roche was transferred to Holy Family Friary, Brahmavar, as vicar of the fraternity in 1994, and the “final transfer from above” came to him on 31st Dec. 1996 as he was offering his simple service in the friary and the parish with a cardiac attack in Fr. Muller’s Hospital, Mangalore. His funeral mass was officiated by his Lordship Aloysius Paul D’Souza, the then Bishop of the Diocese of Mangalore on 1st Dec. 1997. The mortal remains were interred in the cemetery of the above mentioned parish owing to the repeated requests of the parishners. Knowing Fr. Alfred Roche’s life-pattern and pastoral zeal, a decision was taken during the Provincial Chapter in 2010 to send his name to the Sacred Congregation and the first file/report referring to his life and mission, with the necessary documentation, was sent by the then Provincial, Rev. Fr. Vincent Furtado OFM Cap through Rev. Fr. Mauro Jōhri OFM CAP, the then General of the Capuchin Order, on 15th March 2013. After that, during the past 7 years we (through Fr. Santa Lopes OPM Cap, our vice-postulator), have been sending further details, i.e., new witnesses, miraculous healings, extra-ordinary graces and favours received by different people through the intercession of Fr. Alfred Roche to Fr. Carlo Calloni OFM Cap, the Postulator General who is in Rome. Through him the documentation, sent by us, was reaching the Sacred Congregation. Basing on these details (witnesses borne by several people, and specially the miraculous healings and extraordinary favours received by different people) a communication came to Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of the Diocese of Udupi (since the tomb of Fr. Alfred Roche is in the parish cemetery of the Holy Family Church, Brahmavar) that he should send a Report of the Regional Bishops regarding the life and mission of Fr. Alfred Roche. In spite of the problem of corona virus, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Machado, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Bangalore, convoked the meeting of the Bishops of Karnataka and appointed two Bishops: Most Rev. Dr. Derrick Fernandes, Bishop of the Diocese of Belgaum and Most Rev. Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop of the Diocese of Mangalore to make an in-depth study regarding the person and apostolate of Fr. Alfred Roche. The consolidated report, signed by all the Regional Bishops, was went to Rome at the end of April 2021. Thanks be to God, the Report of the Regional Bishops about Fr. Alfred Roche has been very positive. So, basing all the details that we have been sending to the Sacred Congregation from 15th March 2013 and specially basing the Precious Report sent by the Regional Bishops, an official communication from CONGREGAZIONE DELLE CAUSE DEI SANTI ((Congregation for the Causes of the Saints) came to Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of the Diocese of Udupi, to announce that Fr. Alfred Roche has been raised to the level of SERVANT OF GOD. The official announcement of this “good news” was done by Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo, in the Holy Family Church, Brahmavar, with a large gathering of the faithful on 15th Aug. 2021.