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.
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.
MATHACHAYAN - PRIDE OF PARUTHICAL FAMILY
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.
“MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE"
James & Chachimma
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.