No wonder, Fr. Debono himself became a
victim to the oppressors’ anger and they tried to implicate him in court cases.
The landlords even forced the Santals not to work for Fr. Debono even when he
wanted to build a modest hut for living before the onset of the monsoon.
Undaunted and committed, there was no
turning back for Fr. Debono. He wrote, “In
spite of all his, I am not discouraged. All the beginnings are hard, and the
greater the sufferings are now, the greater the blessings will be on this
If Majlispur became the epicentre of
our mission apostolate, it was because of this great missionary’s pioneering
spirit and undaunted commitment to the ideals of his Master, the Good Shepherd!
Archbishop Perier of Calcutta was his
great support. Even though Fr. Debono had indomitable spirit and trust in the
Lord, his sagging health and mounting tension all through his eleven years at
Majlispur made the Archbishop transfer him to Kidderpore, a neighbourhood in
The befitting words about this great
missionary were those of Fr. Joseph Portelli in a letter to Archbishop Perier
on 8 January 1937. “It is astonishing that
the amount of work one man could perform all these years, practically by himself.”
he came back to Santal Mission and was active at Torai, Guhiajori and Cilimpur.
On 14 July 1956 he surrendered to the Lord for eternal rest after years of committed
service. The seed that was planted at Majlispur on the 9 March 1925 has grown
into a huge fruitful tree - the remarkable growth of three dioceses of Dumka,
Raiganj and Purnea. Fr. Gauci Sacco, a Maltese
Jesuit in Dumka-Raiganj Province, in his book, The Santal Mission, aptly
summarises who and what was Fr. Debono like. He wrote, “The Pioneer, who had valiantly suffered the heat of the battle and
faithfully followed his Divine Master’s footsteps along the royal path of
sufferings and hardships, could smilingly utter, with his characteristic sense
of humour and repartee, his favourite expression: Take life as it comes, with a