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The People I met in the U.S.-1

Dr.MisenheimerDr.Misenheimer was the Head of the Dept. of English,Indiana State University.He had more than 60 professors in the Dept.It was one of the largest Depts. of English that I had seen. He invited us to his house on different occasions and I had a very good relationship with him.He in fact urged me to remain in Indiana to watch the beauty of the Fall season.He was gracious enough to grant me assistantship and because of that I was able to teach two courses in English while taking my graduate courses.I was also enjoying the privileges of the faculty as I had my own room in the Dept. I still remember seeing his large library at home where he received and entertained us. Dr.Weixelmann I worked with Dr.Weixelman in different ways.He was the Editor of the Black American Literature forum and I was appointed the Assistant Editor to work with him.I did some of the editorial work for the magazine with him.I also took independent reading lessons in Hemingway with him.His room is opposite…
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American Experience,1976-81

American Experience(1976-81)Frs. Jose Alencherry,Ettoly and Matthew Muthuplackal were at the Kennedy airport to receive me. I went with Fr.Ettolil and spent a couple of days with him at his parish. The New Year was spent with him.I saw the New Year parish dance and felt out of place in such a celebration as it was too early for me to get into the spirit of the celebration. Everything was to new to me. It was my first introduction to an American way of life. Fr. Jose Alencherry also took me to his place at Ossining and later they dropped me at the Kennedyairport .There was a two hour flight to Indianapolis and from there a forty five minutes ride to Terre haute by a small commuter plane. I have never ridden a commuter plane with around25 passengers or around that number. I was telling myself what a fool I was after traveling so far and thento end everything by traveling by this small aircraft! I thought it would break down and fall at any moment as it was going up and down and moving si…

Terre Haute, Indiana(1976-78)

My first years in the United States were spent at St.Anne's church, Terre Haute, Indiana. I left  India on Dec.26,1976 and reached the Kennedy aiport on Dec.28.Fr.Muthuplakal, Fr.Jose Alencherry and Fr. Thomas Ettoly were at the airport to recieve me.After spending three days in New York , I left for Indianapolis airport and from there by a small commuter plane to Terre Haute, Indiana.
The Pastor Don was there at the airport and hecalled me by name and we left the airport for the church.thus began my days in he States. After a few days, he took me to the University to register for the new semster. I was introduced the the Sunday after to the Congregation.I met the Sisters who were teaching at t he School there and from the first day onwards , I began to say masses at the church. I would say masses daily eithr in t he morning or in the evening.The people of St.Anne's were very freindly and nice to me and in enjoyed my stay there.There were a few families who were very friendly a…

Priestly Ministry

Sometimes in my vacant moments the thoughts would come to me whether I did accomplish anything in my life.As a priest, I was a silent wayfarer in this long march of humanity. For most of the people, they have families to think of .Through their work and sacrifice, they struggle hard to form future generations.Their children carry the imprint of their lives for generations to come.Their sacrifices and their struggles bear fruit in the lives of their children.Others through their positions of political or social prominence have left their impact on the society.What about us , priests? What are our legacies?

The word s of Gerard Manley Hopkins in one of his sonnets known as the Terrible Sonnets do beautifully express my misgivings about priestly life. Speaking of the birds,he said, they build.At least they build their nests.But priests--What do they have?Nothing. Moving from place to place, having no roots, they leave no foot prints behind.

Our impact on people is easily forgotten.People m…

President Carter and President Clinton

President Carter came to St.Matthew's Cathedral along with the Vice President and many senators at the funeral mass for George Meaney , one of the great labor leaders of the States.I was a concelebrant at the mass and after the mass, as we walked down the aisle, President Carter was walking just behind us. After exchanging a few words with the Pastor, he walked out of the Cathedral.
I had a chance to shake hands with President Clinton when I was working at St.Patrick's church.
He came for the inauguration of the new CIA building which is just a block away from St.Patrick's.Our Pastor , Msgr.Vaghi gave the invocation.All of us priests were invited for the function.After the inaugural function, The President greeted all of us who were there.
I had a chance to see President Reagan after the election when he came to visit the Republican Head Quarters which was across the street from St.Matthew's.It was a view from a short distance as I was returning from my classes at the Ca…

Mother Teresa

After my M.A. examination in 1970, along with a priest-friends of mine form the college, I went to Calcutta with the desire of seeing Mother Teresa and knowing more about her work.We stayed at St.Xavier's college,Calcutta and fro there went to see Mother teresa's lace.We were disappointed when we found out that she was not there.But we spent time with the sisters there and visited the places where the infants and the dying people were nursed and cared for.We some to some of the sisters. There was only one foreign-born sister and she was form Germany. She was young sister and we asked her how she joined the Congregation.She then narrated her story.She came as a visitorfor the Eucharistic Congress in Bombay and at one of the receptions given by the Bombay Archdiocese, she was sitting opposite to Mother Teresa.She noticed that Mother was looking at her specially at the time of the meal.After the meal was over, she walked over to Mother Teresa and inquired why she was looking a…

Meeting with John Paul ll in D.C.

One of the happiest moments in my life came with the arrival of Pope John Paul ll in Washington D.C. in 1979.The Holy Father said mass at St.Matthew's Cathedral for the priests and invited guests.After the mass, he had lunch with the Cardinals at the rectory.Nine of us priests who worked at the rectory were told that we would be able to meet the Holy Father as he came down the stairs after the lunch.We were waiting at the foot of the stairs .The Holy Father was going from there straight to the white House. Archbishop Marcinkus who was coming with him stretched out his hand in front of us saying that the Holy Father had no time as he was getting late for the meeting with the President.But , then, Cardinal Baum, took the Holy father, behind the outstretched hands of the Archbishop and introduced all of us to him. When he came to me, he asked whether I was from India and I kissed his hand and said :"Yes."That was the first time in my life , I have ever come closer to a Pope…

The people I met in the U.S.-3

Bennet WilliamsBennet Williams was one of the top defense lawyers of the U.S. What impressed me most was his presence at the mass.On Saturdays, the priest himself would open the door of the church for the morning mass at 7a.m. at St.Matthew's Cathedral. Every Saturday, when I opened the church, the first person,I would meet was Bennet Williams. This was a great source of inspiration. There is a big law firm carrying his name in Washington D.C. William Conway Bill Conway is the M.D. of the Carlyle corporation and was a a regular attendee at the morning masses at St.Patrick's church.One day after the morning mass, as I was greeting the people, he came towards me told how appreciative he was of my short homilies focussed on Jesus at the morning masses. He helped the Syro-Malabar Diocese several times through his generous contributions. Fr.Paul Liston and Msgr.Michael Farina They both were good friends while I was working as an Associate Pastor at St.Patrick's.We had very lively…