Fr. J.B. was born on July 17, 1919, in a village called ‘Zhor’ in Anjuna, Goa to Agostinho and Maria Aninha Fernandes, and was the youngest of five children (4 brothers and 1 sister). His elder brother, Monsignor Angelo Fernandes studied in the Rachol Seminary, Goa and worked in the diocese of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, until his death in 1980.
Fr. J.B. came to Mumbai in 1929, and studied the piano and violin under the tutelage of his eldest brother. Fr. J.B. joined the Society of Jesus at the age of 19 yrs, after his studies at the St. Xavier’s College, Bombay.
During his training, he was schooled thoroughly in the Gregorian Chant and Classical Polyphony. His training in the priesthood started in Vinayalaya, Andheri and continued in Kurseong where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1950.
Fr. J.B. taught in the Diocesan Seminary first in Parel and then in St. Pius X College, Goregoan from 1954-64, where he was the Spiritual Director and also trained the seminarians in Music and Choral singing.
Some of his achievements include his first book "Becoming Christ", which has now become the text book in all seminaries in India and Deeper Insights into the Mass Seminars conducted for groups of laypersons and priests in the city and other parts of the country and the Middle East. His other writings and prayer books are a source of inspiration to many.
Fr. J.B. used to always say “To sing is to pray twice”. How true! Since I have been out of school, the Newman Choir has been my second family. It has been my source of inspiration and spiritually fulfilling.