Sunday, February 19, 2012

Twenty Years of Grace
Today we keep the memory of a historic event.  It was on this day 20 years ago that the Region of Alwaye was inaugurated at Nitya Sahaya Bhavan, Chowara.  This special issue of the Community Links tries to look back to these 20 years and presents to you the growth of the Region to a Province.
Region of Alwaye
Establishing a Unit for the confreres belonging to the Syro-Malabar Church was not an overnight development.  Efforts ever made over the years to study the spirituality, liturgy and history of the Syro-Malabar Church.  For this purpose seminars were organized during summer holidays for the professed members.  After sufficient time was spent studying the pros and cons of having a separate Unit, confreres petitioned the Provincial Chapter of 1990 to establish a Syro-Malabar Unit of the Congregation. Chapter favoured this request and the General Council approved it. Rev. Fr. Bernard Pereira, the Provincial of Bangalore Province inaugurated the Region of Alwaye on Feb 19, 1992 at Chowara.
Confreres belonging to the Syro-Malabar Church were given an option to join the new Region or remain in the Bangalore Province.  17 priests and 15 professed students opted for the Region.  However, before the Region was erected, one of the priests, Fr. George Enanickal was called by the Lord for his eternal reward on December 10, 1991. Thus, the new Region started off with 16 priests and 15 professed students.
The first Regional assembly was held at Chowara itself from Feb 19 to 21.  Fr. Michael Naickanparampil was elected the Regional Superior and Frs. Thomas Mulanjanani and George Areeckal were the consultors
Vice-Province of Alwaye
Often we talk of people, ‘they are born to win’.  The same may be said about the Region too – ‘it is born to grow’.  Within three years the General Government raised the Region to the status of an autonomous Vice-Province.  It was inaugurated on July 3, 1995 by Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church Mar Antony Cardinal Padiyara.
The challenge before the Vice-Province was to consolidate and stabilize the Unit. Great emphasise was given to formation.  Keeping in mind the growing number of confreres, Communities were established.  Apostolate too was given due importance.  Stabilizing the finance was a major task.
Liguori Province
After stabilizing the different areas of life of the Vice-Province to a great extend, efforts were made to raise the Vice-Province to the status of a Province.  The General Government was pleased with the life and activities and the progress of the Vice-Province.  So it raised the Vice-Province to a Province – the Liguori Province.  It was inaugurated on June 27, 2008 by Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, C.Ss.R. 
The province now has 8 Communities, 54 priests, 43 professed students, and 35 students in the lower stages of formation.  It is blessed with a thriving apostolate and a band of enthusiastic missionaries.  Over the past 20 years the province has witnessed tremendous growth in all areas of life.  Let us just glance through them.
Canonical Communities
Nitya Sahaya Bhavan, Chowara was the first Redemptorist foundation in the Syro-Malabar Church. It was started in 1981.  The principal reason for starting this foundation was to begin the Juvenate formation in Kerala.  After much search for a suitable land, this beautiful place on the bank of the river Periyar was bought in 1981.  Meanwhile the Juvenate was already begun with six juvenists in a rented house at Thottumugham.  In 1982 the Juvenate was shifted to the present house.
The new foundation in Chowara helped to revive the parish missions in the eighties and made the vocation promotion easier.
When the Region was established it became the residence of the Regional Superior and later on the residence of the Vice-Provincial Superior.  In 2007 the Vice-Provincial residence was shifted to Mattoor.
The present Chowara house was built in three phases. The old section was completed in 1989, the refectory, kitchen and rooms above were built in 1997, and the new building which includes the chapel was completed and was blessed on November 1, 2001.
Alphonse Bhavan, Edoor
The revival of Malayalam missions in the eighties brought in the need to look for another foundation.  Since the northern part of Kerala offered a lot of opportunities for apostolate and vocations we looked for an ideal place in the diocese of Tellicherry to establish the next foundation.  After much search a suitable plot was bought in 1990 in Edoor and it was occupied in the same year.  A house was built with all the needed facilities for a community and it was blessed on May 24, 1994.
Alphonse Bhavan functioned as a Mission House.  However, it was not to remain so for long.  When the first Vice-Provincial Chapter decided to begin our own Novitiate formation, Alphonse Bhavan was chosen as the Novitiate house and the first batch on Novices began their Novitiate formation on June 1, 1997.  Later on another floor was added to provide more facilities for the Novices.
Santhome Minor Seminary, Podimattam
When the Region of Alwaye was established it had just two houses – Chowara and Edoor.  One of the first decisions that the Region took was to begin its own pre-novitiate formation in Kerala.  With this purpose in mind a plot of land was bought at Podimattam in the diocese of Kanjirapally in 1993.  The house started to function as the pre-novitiate in the existing building in 1993 itself.  Later on a small section was built to cater to the basic needs of the community and the formation. The community and the students adjusted themselves within the limited facilities available.  However, these facilities were not enough for a permanent set up.  Thus the old building was demolished and a new one with some of the basic needs for formation was built.  It was blessed on April 15, 1998.
St. Clement’s Study House, Vadavathoor
After the inauguration of the Vice-Province, the Vice-Provincial Government was on the lookout for a property to start a house of studies for the major seminarians.  In 1996 a plot was bought at Vadavathoor with the view to send our students to St. Thomas Ap. Seminary as day scholars.  In 1996 itself we occupied the place.  A small section was built to accommodate a small group of students and the first batch started their philosophical studies there in 1999.  A proper building with basic facilities was built later on and it was blessed in September 26, 2001. 
St. Gerard’s Monastery, Karavaloor
All the four Communities the Vice-Province had so far were formation communities.  It was a felt need to establish a non-formation community.  With this in mind a small plot of land was purchased in Karavaloor in the archdiocese of Changanacherry.  A house for community and a church was built.  Both the house and the church were blessed on December 14, 2002.  In May 2005 the archdiocese established a parish at Karavaloor. 
St. John Neumann Bhavan, Kunnambetta
As the number of confreres was increased, we had to look for another foundation. A suitable piece of land was bought in Kunnambetta in the diocese of Mananthavady in May 2003.  A house for community and a small monastery chapel were built and were blessed on January 27, 2005.  Later, the diocese established an independent sub-station at Kunnambetta.  Recently a shrine to Our Lady was built and it was blessed on January 28, this year.
Liguori Bhavan, Mattoor
Ever since the formation of the Region of Alwaye, Chowara was its headquarters as well as a formation house.  In order to have the Vice-Provincial house separate from a formation house, we bought a plot of land at Mattoor in 2005.  A house with basic facilities was built and it was blessed on February 10, 2007.  The Vice-Provincial residence was shifted from Chowara to Mattoor in December 2007.  Mattoor became the Provincial residence when the Vice-Province of Alwaye became a Province on June 27, 2008.
Amala Estate, Vadakkancherry
Financial stability is a necessary element for growth. As part of stabilizing the province financially, an estate was bought near Vadakkancherry in the diocese of Palakkad at the beginning the 2008-2011 triennium. There was already a house in the estate. Necessary alterations were made to the house in order to accommodate a small community there.
Houses outside Kerala
It was a felt need of all that we must have a foundation outside Kerala.  With this in view we have made an effort to establish a foundation in the diocese of Thuckalay.  From 2006 onwards we were working in and around Marapady.  However, things did not work out as we expected.  Finally as per the decision of the Provincial held in January 2011, we moved out of Thuckalay. 
Efforts are on to purchase a property in Maloor, near Bangalore.  With this ‘a foundation outside Kerala’ may come true.
When we became a Region all stages of formation except the juvenate were in Bangalore.  Over the years we have stated different stages of formation here.
The first Regional Council decided to start the pre-novitiate formation in the Region itself.  Thus a house was rented in Chowara itself and the pre-novitiate formation was started there in 1992. Later it was shifted to a rented house in Valakkayam near Kanjirapally.  In 1993 the present property in Podimattam was bought for the purpose of having the pre-novitiate formation there.  
One of the important decisions of the first Vice-Provincial Chapter in 1996 was to begin our own Novitiate formation and to have it before philosophy.  Thus, Edoor was designated as the Novitiate house and the first batch of novices began their novitiate formation in 1997 and made their profession on June 1, 1998.
With the introduction of Novitiate formation, we had to look for a place to send out students to do their philosophical studies.  Vadavathoor was not yet ready to accommodate students.  So the first batch that completed their Novitiate was sent to the Carmel Hill Philosophy College of the O.C.D. Fathers in Trivandrum. Meanwhile necessary facilities were built in Vadavathoor to accommodate a small group and we started to send our students to St. Thomas Ap. Seminary for philosophy from 1999 onwards.
Though five of our students from two batches did their theology in Vadavathoor from 2002 onwards, we continued to send out students to M.S.A, Bangalore for theology.
Pastoral Year
From 2001 onwards we organize pastoral year programme for our young fathers.  Immediately after the ordination our newly ordained are sent for parish experience from 2003 onwards.
(Vice) Provincial Governments
The first Regional Assembly elected Fr. Michael Naickanparampil as the Regional Superior and Frs. Thomas Mulanjanani and George Areeckal as council members.  The same team was re-elected in 1993 and they were appointed by the General Government as Vice-Provincial Superior and council members when the Region became a Vice-Province in 1995. 
The following confreres gave the pastoral leadership to the (Vice) Province so far:
1996 – 1999: Frs. Michael Niackanparampil (Vice-Provincial), George Puthenpura (Vicar), Chacko Pendanath (II OVPC) Clement Vadakkedath (I EVPC) and Augustine Kumpidiamackal (II EVPC).
1999 – 2002: Frs. George Areeckal (Vice-Provincial), Joy Poonoly (Vicar), Mathew Paruthical (II OVPC), Zacharias Kanjooparampil (I EVPC), and Thomas Mulanjanani (II EVPC).
2002 – 2005: Frs. George Areeckal (Vice-Provincial), Joy Poonoly (Vicar), Mathew Paruthical (II OVPC), Thomas Mulanjanani (I EVPC), and Jose Poovannikunnel (II EVPC).
2005 – 2008: Frs. Clement Vadakkedath (Vice-Provincial), Joy Poonoly (Vicar), Mathew Paruthical (II OVPC), Jose Poovannikunnel (I EVPC), and Joseph Verananickal (II EVPC).
2008 – 2011: Frs. Clement Vadakkedath (Vice-Provincial), Jose Poovannikunnel (Vicar), Kuruvila Marotickal (II OVPC), Biju Kunnumpurath (I EVPC), and Joseph Valachathinakathu (II EVPC). When the Vice-Province became the Liguori Province, the General Government appointed the same team to continue as the Provincial Superior and his consultors.
2011 – 2015: Frs. Joy Poonoly (Provincial), George Areeckal (Vicar), James Kizhakkayil (II OPC), Joy Mullasseril (I EPC), and Joseph Verananickal (II EPC).
There is no doubt that we exist for apostolate.  Fortunately the Liguori Province is blessed with confreres who are enthusiastic about their apostolate, and they have a tight schedule of apostolate.  The Lenten missions of 2012 itself are the best proof for it. Usually we preach parish missions and retreats to religious and priests.  However, the last 10 years saw our young fathers involving themselves very actively in the youth apostolate.  Requests are pouring in from different quarters which include outside Kerala and, at times, outside the country.
Apostolate Abroad
Church is missionary; so too is our Province.  Our confreres have either worked or are still working in different countries such as Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Austria, Denmark, Caribbean Islands, the U.S.A. and Canada.  Besides these, there are short programs conducted in different other places.
Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, C.Ss.R.
The Liguori Province is always proud of Mar Varkey, a member of our province.  The Holy Father Pope John Paul II appointed him the Apostolic Administrator of the Syro-Malabar Church and the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly on December 18, 1996 and was ordained Bishop on 6 January 1997. The Pope appointed him as the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church on 23 December 1999. He was nominated a member of the Sacred College of Cardinals on 21 January 2001, and raised him to that dignity at the Consistory of 21 February 2001. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.  In February 2008 he was elected President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and held the presidency up to March 2010.  He was ailing for some time and died on April 1, 2011.  His mortal remains were brought to Liguori Bhavan, Mattoor on April 9 around 6.10 am.  He was buried at St. Mary’s Basilica, Ernakulam on April 10.
During these 20 years we have lost 3 more confreres.  On December 31, 2001 Fr. George Puliappillil died and was buried on January 1, 2002 in Edoor itself.  Fr. Mathew Manjakunnel breathed his last on July 9, 2011 and was buried in our cemetery in Chowara on July 11.  Fr. Mathew Paruthical too was called by the Lord on December 8, 2011.  He was buried in Chowara next day.
Years of Grace
‘Twenty years’ in the life of a Unit of the Congregation is indeed a short period of time. But this young Unit has made phenomenal growth and progress within the short period of 20 years. Growth in the number of confreres and houses is there for all to see.  There is a remarkable enthusiasm and vitality in our apostolate, missions, retreats, youth programmes etc. There is also a true community life, and confreres are eager to help one another and foster gospel friendship.  All this is achieved not through our own efforts but through the power of God’s grace.  On this occasion of the 20th year of our Unit’s formation we humbly thank God for his divine providence and say with profound gratitude “We are what we are by the grace of God” (cf. 1 Cor 15:10).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Redemptorist Voice
Fr. Mathew Paruthical, C.Ss.R.
The news about the sudden and most unexpected death of Fr. Mathew Paruthical came as a shock to everyone.  People still find it difficult to come to terms with the reality that Fr. Mathew Paruthical is no more. 
Fr. Mathew was born on June 6, 1943.  He was the third child of the 13 children of Thomas and Mary. He joined the Redemptorists in Bangalore in August 1960 and made his first profession on September 8, 1961. After completing his philosophical and theological studies at Mt. St. Alphonsus, Bangalore, he, along with Fr. Thomas Mulanjanani, was ordained a priest on 30 April, 1969 at St Mary’s Forane Church, Pulinkunnu.  Those days the ordinations were held in Bangalore itself and it was in Latin rite for all.  However theirs was the first ordination in Syro-Malabar Rite and that too held in home parish.
After his pastoral year he was appointed to Holy Cross Church, Muttada in 1971 and continued there for the next 11 years.  In 1982 he was transferred to Chowara. During this time he was the estate manager too in Kottagiri. He was the Novice Master from 1984 to 1988.  It was when Fr. Mathew was the novice master that the novitiate was shifted from Liguori Bhavan to Sadupadesa College in 1986.  During this time he was the Rector of Sadupadesa College.  A year later when the novitiate was shifted from Sadupadesa College to Kottagiri he too was transferred to Kottagiri.  He served the community at Kottagiri as its Rector from 1987 to 1990. He was the Prefect of the Theologians from 1990 to 1993. When the Region of Alwaye was erected in February 1992, the Region entrusted its finance to Fr. Mathew.  He faithfully discharged his duty as the Bursar till he breathed his last.
During the triennial appointments in 1993 he was transferred to Nitya Sahaya Bhavan, Chowara and was appointed as the Director of the Juvenate. He continued in this office for two years.  When the Region of Alwaye became a Vice-Province in 1995, in order to concentrate more on the office of the Bursar, Fr. Mathew was relieved from the office of the Director.  In 1999 he was elected as the II Consultor of the Vice-Province of Alwaye and continued in that office for 9 years. In 2002 he was transferred to St. Clement's Study House, Vadavathoor and in 2005 January, to Karavaloor and was appointed as parish priest there.  During the general transfers and nominations in 2005 he was appointed as Rector in Karavaloor.  In 2008 he came back to Vadavathoor and was appointed as Rector of the Study House.  He was transferred to Chowara in this June from where he departed for his eternal reward on December 8, 2011.
He was the bursar for 19 years, Rector of different houses for 10 years, formator of different stages of formation for 9 years and Vice-Provincial Consultor for 9 years! This just shows how faithful he was to the responsibilities entrusted to him.
His presence in any community was a blessing for he used to see to even the minute needs of the community.  Often others do not notice many such needs.  One of the qualities that he had was his love for the confreres.  Be it the fathers or the students, he used to mingle with them and join them in cracking jocks.  It is really marvelous to see how he made himself available and took care of the sick.  I have experienced this personally a number of times when I was going for check up in Amala hospital.
Dear Fr. Mathew, you have gone from us, but not the fond memories of you.  Now you are not in front of our eyes but in our hearts.  You were faithful to your call by being faithful in little things in life. Your patience and commitment inspired us always.  We Redemptorists miss a model religious who silently carried out all the responsibilities he was entrusted with.  The Paruthical family misses a person who, with a smile on the face and sweets in the pockets, mingled with all and remained as a link among the family members.
This issue of the Redemptorist Voice looks at the life of Fr. Mathew and shares with you different people’s experience of him.  As you go through the articles, I am sure, you will have the same thing to say about Fr. Mathew.
Fr. Baby Verananickal, C.Ss.R.

The Death and Burial of Fr. Mathew Paruthical
This is to give you a brief account of the death and the funeral services of Fr. Mathew Paruthickal. After the shock and numbness his death has caused, it is only now that I am beginning to feel the enormous loss of our confrere.
Fr. Mathew’s last day on this earth began as usual. It was 8 December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. He went to celebrate the Holy Qurbana for the sisters at CMC Prayer House, Chowara at 6.30 am. After the Holy Qurbana, he did not have breakfast there because he had an appointment with the dentist at Prasannapuram to extract his ailing tooth. However, he sat and chatted with the sisters for a while. He must have got back to the house by 07.45 am. When the students found him on the corridor around 08.15 am, he had his helmet still on and a newspaper in hand. Immediately the students informed the fathers and Fr. Mathew was taken to Vimala Hospital Kanjoor where the doctors declared him dead.
Once the news of Fr. Mathew’s death spread, people, initially confreres and family, reached the hospital and the Chowara house. By noon, most of Fr. Mathew’s 12 siblings, and their family and many of his relatives came to the house. The body was brought to the house around four in the afternoon. By then, with the help of neighbors and Chowara parishioners, Fr. Manoj and other confreres had made all the arrangements for the viewing of the body and the funeral services. Once the body was brought to the house, priests, religious, the parishioners of Chowara, and people from the neighborhood started coming in. Almost all the members of the province also came to the house. Some had to go back before the funeral service because of the ongoing advent missions. About 10 in the night the Major Archbishop Mar George Alencherry paid a visit and prayed the office of the dead.
 Fr. Mathew was buried on December 09. The first and second part of the funeral liturgy was held around 11.00 am. It was officiated by a cousin priest of Fr. Mathew. Then, around 1. 15 pm,  the third part of the funeral liturgy began with the holy Qurbana, with myself as the main celebrant, and Frs. Chacko Pendanath, Thomas Kocherry and two other relatives of Fr. Mathew as the concelebrants. There were about fifty other priests present including confreres from Bangalore Province for the Holy Qurbana besides a large number of religious sisters, relatives, friends, the parishioners of Chowara and neighbors. Also most of the formatees from all our formation centers were present for the funeral. One other important detail that I do not want to miss out is, of the presence of the family members of confreres and students. Messages of condolences and support were also pouring in from different people including Fr. General, Fr Arulanadam, confreres from abroad and Bangalore province and others.
 The Qurbana was preceded by a short introduction by Shijo Meppilly. The choir was led by Fr. Jose Maippan.  Fr. Joseph V.J. preached a very moving sermon. After the Holy Qurbana, the last part of the funeral liturgy was conducted by His Excellency, Mar Sebastian Adayantharath, the auxiliary bishop of Ernakulam - Angamaly. There was also the nagarikanickal   procession to Chowara junction and it was followed by the burial in our cemetery. Fr. Mathew’s grave is built at the left side of Fr. Manjakunnel’s grave. We who had accompanied his body to the grave then bade farewell to Fr. Mathew letting the angels to be his companion for his onward journey to the presence of God as the funeral liturgy so touchingly states.  The service ended around 3.45 pm, after which refreshments were served to all.
It is indeed a great loss for us. Fr. Mathew was Rector in different communities, Novice Master, Prefect of Students at MSA, Provincial Consultor, Provincial Treasurer for 19 years and a great companion to confreres, relatives and friends. He has given witness over the years as a man of dedication, of service and integrity. Our province has been blessed with his presence and service. Now on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the principal patroness of the Congregation, he has gone to receive the crown that Alphonsus had promised. We can be sure of another intercessor for us.
Thank you dear Fr. Mathew for all that you were and you did for us.  Adieu till we meet again!
Yours in the Redeemer
Joy Poonoly, C.Ss.R.
Provincial Superior
December 10, 2011.

Fr. Mathew Paruthical – A Faithful Servant
 “Do not store up treasure for yourself here on earth where moth and rust destroy it, and where thieves can break in and steal it. Store up treasure for yourself with God, where no moth or rust can destroy nor thief break in and steal it. For where your treasure is, there also your heart will be” (Mt 6:19-20). These are the words of Scripture that come to my mind when I think of the life of Mathew Paruthical. He is one of the simplest priests I have seen. He knew very well the uselessness of earthly treasures, positions, offices, degrees and any other perishable goods. Instead Mathew stored up treasure in heaven by his committed religious life and dedicated priestly ministry.
After my ordination I was with Fr. Mathew at Muttada. He lived a quiet life. He used to go for recollections and retreats. Occasionally he would go for a matinee show. Later Mathew was transferred to Kotagiri while Zacharias and I were sent to begin the Chowara mission. For a year we stayed at Thottumugam. Mathew used to spend a couple of days with us whenever he came to Kerala.
Mathew did not crave for any positions, degrees or fame. But the authorities recognized his qualities and appointed him as Formator, Rector, Estate Manager, Provincial Bursar etc. He was most unassuming. His dress code was very simple - ordinary sandals, watch, pants and shirts. He did not possess a computer, camera or vehicle for his own use. If he wanted he could have got all these free from his innumerable relatives and friends. But he lived the vow of poverty the best way he could practice.
One could always rely on Mathew. If he took up a work he would give his whole attention to it. Before Mathew was appointed as Prefect of Theologians in Bangalore the students’ main complaint was that the Prefect was often out. But after Mathew took charge some of them complained that the Prefect was always at home.
Mathew always knew where he stood and what values to uphold. No one could persuade him to do things that he was not convinced of. May his memory inspire us to be more committed to our vocation, ministry and religious life. Good-bye Mathew - may you receive due reward from our Lord for being faithful to your vocation!
Fr.  Paul Pazhangattu, C.Ss.R.

The shock and grief at the sudden passing away of Fr. Mathew Paruthical, C.Ss.R. on December 8, 2011, has wrenched the hearts of all those who knew him, loved him and lived with him and the pain and void will linger in our hearts for a long time to come.  As members of his family, we are still grappling with the reality that he is no more here with us. The Lord has called him to His presence with a glorious parting. Still his bereavement has caused immense pain and shock to all our hearts, young and old alike.
He was born on 6 June, 1943 to Sri. Mathan Thomas and Mrs. Mary Thomas of Pazheparampil Paruthical family of Pulincunnoo as the 3rd child of 13 children. Early in his childhood itself he displayed his inclination towards spiritual and religious world. This spark of religious calling was rekindled and guided by his maternal aunt, Sr. Xavier SABS, who was then the principal of Assumption College Changanachery. While doing his pre-degree course after completing his schooling at Pulincunnoo, he turned to Sr. Xavier for help to get into a religious community. His desire was deep, and intentions very clear. The decision to enter the religious community of 'Redemptorist Fathers' was taken after long and prayerful thoughts. This is evident from one of the letters written to Sr. Xavier, prior to seeking admission to the C.Ss.R. Community. With their own spiritual convictions and persuasion from Sr. Xavier, his parents gave consent to his wish for a religious life.
After being ordained a priest in the C.Ss.R. community on 30th April, 1969 he served in various houses of Redemptorist Fathers in South India. While being a religious and discharging his responsibilities of the Community, he kept himself always near and dear to all those who knew him and loved him through his prayers and presence. He always found time to make himself available to all those who wished his presence on various occasions of the family, relations, parish and friends. He made it a point to visit families of relatives and friends in the vicinity of his various ashramams, he served. He made use of such occasions to introduce one to another, and but for this they may not have known each other. All of us in the family agree that Fr. Mathew was one who knew the relations and friends to the best and we miss him very much on that score too.  Although he made his presence available on various occasions and get-togethers in the family, he preferred to stay away from the limelight and festivities and remained a silent presence. On such occasions, Achayan, his father, drew immense pleasure and comfort by engaging him in short and valuable conversations with him. As for his siblings and families, he was such a huge spiritual support and strength, although he was away in the Lord's Vineyard elsewhere, busy with his religious commitments. We always felt so far but very near. He would never venture into the mundane family welfare, even when some of them wished for his valuable guidance.
I am certain that going through the families and relations of his 12 siblings, all paternal and maternal cousins from similarly sized families, all the neighbours, members of the parish, his friends and all those lucky enough to have received his services, no one could ever complain of turning down their request for his presence unless for a serious commitment with his own religious community of any of them, even when many wished hard for his (Fr. Mathew Paruthical was best known for his company with children and 'indeed', we have such blessings in abundance, in a family get-together. He found great pleasure in the company of these innocent 'little warriors'. As soon as they caught sight of him, would rush and flock around him. Many of these tiny hands would have already found his pockets and bag, which, for them, were an assured source of candies. One would usually find him, sitting amongst them on the veranda steps or under the mango trees in yard. Such a sight always reminded me of the Biblical verse, (in the context of Jesus in the company of children) "Suffer little children come unto me, for, to such belongs the kingdom of heaven". For these little ones, Mathachayan was the most familiar and sought-after face, among a multitude of uncles and aunties around them. Abandoning all their games and engagements, they would flock around him for the 'magnetic warmth' they enjoyed in his presence. The character that struck us all as the most outstanding was his uncompromising simplicity and unflinching commitment to the 'Vow of Poverty'. He was always found free from 'wants and needs'. Coming from a family of his standing, his needs were most basic and unbelievably simple. He wouldn't even wish for anything that is even within the permissible limits of a 'religious'. Deep respect and love he held towards his superiors, subordinates and inmates, was most astonishing. It is, indeed, painful and heartbreaking to accept the fact that Fr. Mathew is no more amongst us. He was the "PRIDE OF PARUTHICAL FAMILY". But in all humility, we bow our heads to His Most Holy Will and trust that Fr. Mathew was given a most 'desired calling', any religious or any Christian for that matter, could dream of. We are deeply indebted to the Provincial, Superiors and inmates of all the houses of 'Redemptorist Fathers' for according a most honourable and befitting farewell to him at the funeral. Words fail to thank all the members of the C.Ss.R. family for the perfect and smooth arrangements, programmed and carried out on this occasion. We always felt that we were part of your family and you part of ours. This is what Fr. Mathew would have liked us to keep. Mathacha! You were so dear to us all and your community and we 'Miss' you very much. But we are strengthened by the thought that you are interceding for us all in the Holy Presence of our Redeemer and Lord. The life of Fr. Mathew Paruthical was an open book for all to see poverty and simplicity, manifested in all its divine aspirations. His needs were nil, deeds simple and humble, ambition just single for the Holy abode.
James & Chachimma
XI/ 189,
Cochin- 682021.
Phone: 0484 2422194.

Unforgettable Years or Golden Years
In the gospel, we read the vocation of brothers. In our province we can see vocation of student friends, namely Mathew Manjakunnel and Michael Naickanparampil, Mathew Paruthical and Thomas Mulanjanani.  Again we read in the gospel the story of two men in the field and one is taken and other is left. So also is now with two Mathews.  They literally walked out of this world to the next, just like going from one room to the next in our house. Fr. Mathew Parauthical, after celebrating the Holy Eucharist on the 8th of December started his journey back to his heavenly Father.  What a marvelous exit from this world and entry into heaven!
I met Mathew, who was called Mathachan by his dear and near ones, in 1959 at St. Berchman’s college, Chaganaserry.  We lived together in the same hostel. While we were there, Cardinal Varkey, then Fr. Varkey, came for vocation promotion. In June 1960 I joined the congregation. While I was in the novitiate, Mathew wrote me a letter stating his desire to become a Redemptorist. I gave it to Cardinal Varkey and Mathew joined sometime mid August. Since then we were together till our ordination. Mathew made his first profession on the 8th of September.  We were ordained together by Mar Mathew Kavukattu at Pulinkunnu, his parish church, on April 30, 1969. This ordination was very important for our Province. Ours was the first ordination that took place outside of Bangalore and in Syro-Malabar Rite. In 1970 we said good-bye: he was appointed to the community at Muttada and I went to Tenali.  We came together again only in 2002 when both of us were transferred to Vadavathoor.  We were together just for two years.
Fr. Mathew was an exemplary religious, regular at prayer, wore ordinary dress, not affected by fashion and novelties, and was dedicated to his work. He laid a strong foundation for our account system and the tools he used were paper, pen, rubber and his fingers.  He could manage the account without the help of computers!  The unshakable financial foundation of our province was laid and maintained nearly 19 years. It was a difficult task but was well managed by Fr. Mathew.  While preaching during the celebration of his golden jubilee of his profession at Mattoor, Fr. Paul Pazhangattu described Fr. Mathew as an encyclopedia and it is true that we can get any information from him. When I went to Pulinkunnu in 1994 for the celebration of his Silver Jubilee of his ordination, one of his relatives described Fr. Mathew as a person who treated all his brothers and sisters in the same way and no partiality was shown. Fr. Mathew maintained that policy in the province too, I think.
Fr. Mathew’s entry into religious life was on the 8th of September, the feast of the birthday of our Lady and his exit was on 8th December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Yes, he was a true Mariadasan. Now the Province has another community not in other continents but also in heaven. They continuously intercede for the province. Confreres in heaven pray for us.
Fr. Thomas Mulanjanani, C.Ss.R.

Fr. Mathew - A Dedicated Confrere
            It is now some forty years since I first met Fr. Mathew – the first Redemptorist that I ever encountered in my life. It was when he came home to recruit me to the Congregation. Young and tall he stood before me. Young for his cheerfulness, simplicity and zeal; tall for his nobility, generosity and concern for others. Fr. Mathew, I want thank God for the impression you created in my mind, then, and ever since, of how to live as a Redemptorist priest. That is a life spent in the service of others, for the love of God and of neighbor and not for one’s own glory; but for the glory of the Kingdom of God. It is all so easily said but not so easily achieved.
            He was in charge of me in my regency. I experienced his generosity and nobility. He trusted people and dealt with them generously. Though he recruited me to the Congregation, only after 32 years, I got the opportunity to live with him. There I experienced his real concern for others. To cite as example, one day I reached home late afternoon. Everyone had finished lunch and had gone for a short rest. Hearing my bike’s sound, he came down and gave me company till I finished my lunch. If someone is expected to come late for meals he would make sure that everything is kept well for him. He always joyfully shared his wisdom and knowledge with others.
            He never sought any office, but he was sought for many offices. He has been the Novice Master, Rector, Prefect of Theologians, Director of the Juvenate, Vice-Provincial Consultor, Parish Priest and the Bursar of the Region, Vice-Province and the Province for 19 years. He is a man of integrity with an incredible discipline. He is renowned for his honesty.
            I want to thank God for the wisdom of his counsel, the strength of his friendship and kindness, his concern and hospitality, extended so generously and constantly to his confreres and to the people everywhere, especially in times of sickness and trouble. I want to thank for his commitment and dedication to the genuine well being of our Province.  We all have benefitted in so many different ways from his generous ministry, whether as pastor or master, councilor or confrere.  May he rest in peace.
Fr. Jose Poovannikunnel, C.Ss.R.

Monday, July 25, 2011



Fr.Mathew Manjakunnel was indeed a Messenger of  God to the Srampical family. This particular incident occurred way back in 1968.

              Our Srampical family hails from a small village in Shertallay taluk.A strip of land from the Arabian sea to the West, back waters to the East, an estuary called Andhakaran azhy to the South and the border of Cochin to the North. The primary mode of transport used to be canoes (Vallam) for many years. My paternal Grandfather,Dr.Dennis was a student of Calcutta Medical college in 1895. In those days travelling to Calcutta was a mammoth task. He had to change between canoes, bullock carts and trains to reach his destination in Calcutta. Being a well-educated man it was his deep desire to send his younger sister to CMS School in Kottayam for her education. His plan was fervently opposed by the Catholic Bishop and priests since it was a Protestant School. They warned him of facing the consequences of excommunication from the Catholic church if he sent his sister to CMS School. But my Grandfather , a Godfearing man was also someone who placed great importance on a good education. He tried reasoning in vain with the church leaders. Hence against their opposition he sent his sister to Kottayam and later to CMC Ludhiana  for Medicine. But after this incident he did not go to church for over 60 years. Many a priest tried to win him back to church but of no avail. He would argue with them quoting the scriptures. Though he never attended church he lived an honourable life as a doctor and a good human being. As he grew old his children were concerned as they dreaded his death and his burial outside the Catholic church. My grandfather often talked about a cremation in his barnyard which was not acceptable to his children.

                 It was at this time that the young Redemptorist Fr.Mathew Manjakunnel, like the God sent appeared. He came to give a retreat to our parishioners. My mother Mrs.Kunjamma Thomas who was teaching in the parish school approached Father Mathew and explained to him the problem faced by the family and Father agreed to visit Dr.Dennis at our home. As a child I have watched many priests trying to convince him of returning to the church and in turn grandfather's persistent and evasive arguments with them. But here was Fr.Manjakunnel's turn. His unique approach and the gentle persuasive manner in which he conversed with my grandfather  impressed him greatly and he whole heartedly agreed to participate in the retreat. That day is so vivid in my memory. My grandfather who was well respected in the village, but whom people had never seen in the church - sitting on a chair amidst the parishioners in the church compound, very attentively listening to the word of God proclaimed by Fr.Mathew Manjakunnel and later folding both his hands and receiving the Holy communion from him during the Holy Mass. My dad, mum and myself shed tears watching this. It was a great moment of joy and relief for us. A terrible burden taken away from our hearts ! A day when the Lord showered blessings on us through Fr.Manjakunnel ! God performed this amazing miracle in our lives through His chosen one - Fr. Manjakunnel ! We thank our Lord for the life of Father and remember him with great gratitude. May the dear  soul rest in peace….!   
                                                                                                       -Sheila Doss. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dear Confreres,
Thank you for the prayers and support you have shown towards one another at the loss of Cardinal Varkey and during this time of grief.  May his soul rest in peace! 
I made many phone calls to local bishops and had a meeting with them about bringing the body to both the houses (Provincial house and Chowara community) in the Ernakulam Archdiocese. The response was not very consoling. But they have agreed after much pressure and discussion that the body will be brought to the provincial house since it is closed to Angamaly L. F. hospital.
Hence the body of Cardinal Varkey will be brought here on 9th Saturday at 6.00 am and it will be here for 45 minutes. Many confreres have told me that they are coming here for viewing and prayers. After the body is taken to St. George Basilica, we will have a concelebrated mass in our provincial house around 7 am. Confreres from Bangalore and Juvy from Rome are coming for the Funeral. Let us be present in person for the funeral as an expression of our support and solidarity. Let us support one another at this time of great loss.                                                            Thank you                                                                                               with prayers,                                                                                    Joy Poonoly C.Ss.R.                                                                                                                                           April 7, 2011

Cardinal Varkey