Shillong: The Salesian Province of St. John Paul II, deeply mourns the passing away of Father Joseph Cilia SDB, today the 10th of December 2018 at Nazareth Hospital at around 3:30am. The funeral service will be conducted in the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christian at 1:30pm on the 11th December 2018 by Most Rev Archbishop Dominic Jala sdb, followed by the funeral cortege to the Salesian cemetery in the Catholic Cemetery Laitumkhrah. He was ailing for few years now coupled with old age.
Father Cilia, who hailed from the outskirts of Malta city, a son of Francis and Michalina Cilia was born on January 30, 1936 destined to serve God in the name of the youth of North East India. He joined the congregation of the Salesian of Don Bosco in 1954. After novitiate he left Malta for India in 1956 and was ordained a priest in Shillong on April 1966 by (L) Archbishop S Ferrando, SDB.
He worked in different parts of Meghalaya and Assam, in 1966 at Don Bosco Guwahati, in 1969-1970 at Cherrapunji, in 1970-1972in Pynursla, in 1972 in the Cathedral Parish Laitumkhrah, in 1972-1977 in Jongksha Parish, in 1977-1980 at Christ King College, in 1980 – 1983 at STC and ultimately in 1983 he was assigned by the Provincial to take charge as Director of Don Bosco Youth Centre in Shillong.
Since then, he rigorously worked on various issues concerning the youth of the region particularly Shillong. Various matters like career orientation courses, value education, rehabilitation of addiction to substance abuse, counseling session on sex education and every sensitive and relevant issue pertaining to youth development was initiated and motivated. He regularly conducted programs 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. He was also a Spiritual Adviser of the Catholic Youth League for many years. Some of the youth who have grown and excelled in their respective profession ascribed to the service of the missionaries of Catholic Church. Father Joseph Cilia, SDB is definitely the image of Don Bosco to the youth of the region for the last few decades. For his relentless service to the cause of the youth Father Joseph Cilia was conferred the Meghalaya State Award for Social Service in 2000.
At his death, the society specially the youth of the North East have lost a father and a friend. He will be missed and remembered for ages to come.