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Showing posts from August, 2011

The people I met in the U.S.-2

Dr.Catherine DunnWhen I applied to the Catholic University for my Ph.D, I was interviewed on the phone by Dr.Dunn.She did all the paper work and sent me the final admission letter to the Ph.D.program.She also gave me assistantship.I was very happy when I got the admission letter.I was excited about the project of living in Washington D.C. and also of the opportunity to pursue my studies at the Catholic University , one of the prestigious graduate schools in the country. By the time I joined the University,Dr.Dunn retired from her post as the Chairperson of the Dept. but I had a chance to meet her a few times while I was there. When I passed my Ph.d. exam , she sent me a book with a note congratulating me. Dr.Joe Sendry When I started my classes at the Catholic University, it was Dr.Sendry who was the Chairman.I remember the happy day when he met me as I came out of the library telling me that I was awarded a fellowship.That meant, I was given a higher assistantship along with my duty of t…

The familiesI met in the U.S.-1

The Secrests,Terre Haute,IndianaThere was one family at Terre Haute , Indiana who was a member of the parish of St.Anne's ,1440 Locust street,Terre haute, Indiana.They had 6 children at that time and they would all come for the masses.Two of the boys ,Michael and Ray, were very friendly with me.The family was always present for the daily masses, and the mother, Marie Secrest would read at the masses.They would invite me often to their houses for meals.I would walk over to their house from the church.Some times, I would play games with them.I remember one day going with them to cut down a Christmas tree from a big nursery where they had a large number of Christmas trees.We cut down a very big tree but we could not drag it to the truck. Then, we cut down a smaller one and carried it to the church. Another time, they invited me to go for water skiing with them on a summer day.They came to the university and picked me up.I put on the skiis on my feet and the boat sped along.I plunge…

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…

Reflections

Now, that I am retired from my ministry here, I am wondering whether these long years of my ministry were beneficial to any one.There is nothing tangible out there for me to see whether my life was effective.For more than 40 years I have ministered as a priest.Was it a waste of time or life?Was I faithful to my vocation? What does that faithfulness mean? People often speak of priests as alter Christus. How often did I live like alter Christus?I have not found much meaning in these expressions.They are good for developing a theology of priesthood.But how many priests in their personal lives are Christ-like to those who live with them or interact with them? We are all weak , fragile human beings, carrying with us our own little prejudices, ambitions, arrogance or selfishness. Very rarely do we find among ourselves people who can exemplify in their lives the qualities of a Christ-centered life. We are all wounded healers, to use a famous phrase of Henri Nouwen. When we do the works of heal…

Vicar General

Vicar General It was in one early morning that I got a phone call from Antony Planthara telling me that a new diocese was created for the Syro-Malabar Catholics and that Fr.Jacob Angadiath was appointed the first Bishop.I called Fr.Angadiath a few hours laterand offered my congratulations.He had just returned from the Archdiocese of Chicago after being officially intimated of his appointment.In July 2001, I went to Chicago for the Syro-Malabar Catholic convention as well as for the Consecration. Fr.Vayalil and Fr.Thomas Puthiyadom joinedme while in Chicago for the Convention and we stayed in a private house .After a few weeks, I was told by Fr.Antony Kurilacherry before his departure for India that I would get a call from Chicago and that I should accept the offer. Later. when Abp.Powathil came to Washington D.C. to stay with me for a couple of days, he told me that I would be asked to be the Vicar General and that I should accept the offer.It was a tough time of decision for me.I fel…

Priestly Spirituality

,Saturday, July 24, 2010 Diocesan Spirituality-A Reflection The following is a reflection on the Priestly YearHoly Father Pope Benedict XV1 proclaimed on Friday 19, June 2009, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus , in celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of St. John Mary Vianney ,2009-10 as the Year of Priests to highlight the meaning and the importance of Priesthood. Declaring the celebration, he said: “ I think of all those priests who quietly present Christ’s words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world, striving to be one with the Lord in their thoughts and labors.” Without any note of triumphalism, the Holy Father pointed out the greatness and awesomeness of the priestly gift, acknowledging at the same time that this gift is given to weak and fragile human beings.Because of the various scandals associated with a few priests in the U.S. and Europe, there was a widespread diminution of the image of the prie…

70th Birth Day

Saturday, July 24, 2010 70th Birthday What I can rememberWhen I look back over the past years of my life in this 70thyear , I have only feelings of gratitude to my Lord who has led me so peacefully and beautifully through the various phases of my life in joy and peace. I am very happy that I could spend my whole life for Jesus. I have no regrets. Although I worked full time in teaching, I am glad that there was never any moment in my life that I had lost sight of the Person to whom I dedicated my life. It was my passionate attachment to Him that helped me to meet all the hurdles and challenges in my life. What a joy it was to spend my time in studies and teaching! I had such good friends in my life as teachers and colleagues. I had a great galaxy of teachers and friends on my side as I walked through the different walks of life. The only words that come to my mind at this time are: “Thank you Lord, Thank you Lord, I am not worthy of the blessings you have showered …

Retirement and Pastoral Ministry in the U.S.

Retirement and Pastoral Ministry in the U.S. Pastoral Ministry in the U.S.I retired from the college on March 31st,1996.I stayed at my room in the campus for a week and then thought of leaving for the States for a few months as I found that I had nothing really serious to do in Changnacherry . As I could not see myself doing anything there I thought of working in a parish in the US as it would give me an opportunity for more reading and speaking.I was given the job of the Director of Higher Education but that job was a non-starter as it gave me no real opportunity to work in the field of Higher Education.After spending a few weeks in Changanacherry and Ernakulam, I left for the Sates in 1996.I had no intention of remaining in the US for a longer period but God gave me a long life to live here for more than a decade.I spent a couple of months in New York and then left for Florida and there stayed at St.Coleman’s church,Pompano beach, for a couple of months. Fr.Jose Kotta…

Principal,S.B.College,1991-96

Principal,S.B.College,1991-96 Principal (1991-96)Let me mention my participation in some of the major organizations in which I worked while I was working as the principal of the college.IFCUAt the IFCU meeting in Toulouse, France, in 1991, I was elected a member of the Executive Council as a representative from Asia. It was decided at the first meeting of theExecutive that their next meeting should be held in India. As I had no experience of their previous meetings, I thought that I would get the help of Fr.Kottaram, the former Principal of Mar Ivanios and a former member of the Executive. But his sudden passing away put all the responsibility of holding theInternationalConference on my shoulders.Even though Bangalore and Cochin were considered as sites for the meeting, in the end I favored to have the meeting in Changnacherry itself as it would then give the participants an idea of the vibrancy of the Catholic faith in Kerala.I had the meeting arranged on the third fl…

Washington D.C. and Return to India

Thursday, May 5, 2011 St.Matthew's Cathedral and Return to India American Experience(1981)-2St .Matthew’s Cathedral arranged a farewell party for me as I was leaving for India in December 1981.My leave from the college would be over by the end of December and hence I had to join the college before the end of Dec.81.They asked me to invite those who would I like to come for the dinner.The University President Dr.Pellegrino, the members of the Dissertation committee, Dr.Sendry, the Chairman of the Dept. Of English, Mrs.Anne Fuselli and Donna Fuselli ,Barbara Murphy and a few families from the Indian community were invited. It was a great dinner. The President of the University offered to hold a special convocation for me but later it was found out that it could not be held. While I was in D.C. I went on a European tour, traveling through many of the major countries of Europe. Using a Eurail pass, I crisscrossed Europe for two weeks. Paris,Lourdes,Lisieux,Geneva, Munich…

Lecturer,S.B.College

Sunday, August 8, 2010 Teaching at S.B.College: Lecturer Lecturer:As per the direction of Msgr.L.J.Chittoor who was the administrator of the Diocese, I was appointed a lecturer in the Dept.of English. Rev.Dr.Antony Kurialacherry took charge as the Principal of the college in 1970.He is the one who appointed me to the college.

Prof.V.J.Augustine was very gracious to me and gave me the opportunity to teach in M.A.classes right away which he did not give to many of the other lecturers who were senior to me in the Dept.In my first year as a lecturer, I was sent as a delegate along with Prof.V.S.Joseph to participate in a National Conference on American Literature organized by the American Embassy.I presented a paper on D.H.Lawrence.The participation in the conference made me enthusiastic to go for research in the U.S.Another memorable thing is that we formed a Brains Trustunder the auspices of the Dept. of English for faculty improvement. I presented …