Skip to main content

70th Birth Day

Saturday, July 24, 2010

70th Birthday

What I can remember

When I look back over the past years of my life in this 70th year , 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 upon me.”

I am not a pious person in the traditional sense nor did I behave like one in my life. I like to associate with people with who read and who have ideas to share. I feel happy in their company. I like to read a lot and share thoughts with people of that nature. It was difficult at times to meet people of such mind-sets. I never found myself happy in the company of people who gossip and indulge in derisive comments about others. In fact one of the promises I made to myself while I joined the seminary was never to use any abusive or contemptuous word to comment on others. I am glad that I kept that promise until now even though I had to deal with several people who were real trouble makers.

But I enjoyed my time with people who are poor and dispossessed.. The mess servants, the menial workers at the college, and the daily wage earners who worked on the campus were my good friends. I am happy that I could be of help to them at different times in their lives.

I have enjoyed my time with my students whose lives in some way I have been fortunate to mould. I wanted them to grow up and develop as the best ones in the country. Now I realize that the time I spent for my students were worth the effort when I see them occupying very important positions in different parts of the country. Often, when I was the warden of the hostels of the college, I thought to myself why I was wasting my time for them as it always involved a lot of stress and tension. Most of the days, my time was spent in enforcing the discipline and dealing with those who violated the rules of the hostel. But it all turned out for the good from what I had seen in the lives of the students. I saw that my efforts had borne fruit from the positive reactions and responses from the former students. On one Christmas day, I received a card from one of my former students who is now working as a doctor thanking me for the care and consideration I had given him while he was a student at the hostel and making me aware that my sympathetic dealings with him has made him a better doctor.

The teachers of S. B. College were some of my closest friends in my life. They were very gracious and inspiring in their dealings with me. Whenever I get time during my vacation, I made it a point to meet with them. The teachers of the English Department from Prof. K.T..Seabstian on wards were persons of great benevolence and goodness. I have no words to describe the joy that I get when I spend time with them. I could regain the happiness of the former times whenever I was with them.

I was also fortunate to get very good teachers at the Catholic University, Washington D.C. Also the priests at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, and at St.Patrick’s church in Washington D.C. were great friends and sources of inspiration and encouragement. Recently some of those great priests of the Archdiocese of Washington passed away. I feel very sad at their demise as they were very close to me and always would be at my disposal whenever I needed their help. Msgr. Farina of St.Patrick’s Church, Msgr. Bernard Gerhardt and Msgr. Louis Quinn are some of those priests whom I can never forget. The years I spent with them were the greatest years of priestly joy and serenity. I have found in their company a lot of encouragement and support.

I can also never forget the some of the former principals of the college who were very good to me. Fr.P.C. Mathew and Rev.Dr.Anotny Kurialchery are some of the great Principals I hold in great esteem.

Archbishop Kavukatt who admitted me to the seminary with great words of encouragement and who later ordained me and sent me for higher studies is a person whose memeory will always be cherished in the depths of my heart. It was he who sent me to the college for teaching and even suggested the subject I should select for my Master’s degree. Abp. Antony Padiyara who sent me for higher studies in the US. and Abp. Joseph Powathil who appointed me the Principal of the college and who appointed me to various leadership roles are the archbishops I can never forget in my life .I am also deeply grateful to Fr.Joseph Karimpalil, the Vicar General who put great confidence in me when decided to appoint me as the Vice Principal at a very critical time of the development of the college. It gave me a wonderful opportunity to work along with Fr. Maroor who was a great friend of mine for starting new ventures for the college .It was that daring and strong move on the part of Fr.Karimpalil that made my career burst forth in full bloom in the academic world.

I have so many people to mention in my life who were kind and gracious to me. I know it is not possible to mention all of them.

But let me mention a few priests, teachers and friends. If I have left any, it is not because I love them less but because of the shortness of space.

Fr.Joseph Valiaveetil, Fr.Joseph Olassa, Fr.Seabstian Cherussery, Fr. Joseph Ithiparampil, Fr.Joseph Thaiparampil, Fr..Thevary, Fr.Geregory Karikampally,Fr.James Valiaparmapil, Fr.Mathew Mepreth , Fr.Joseph Alummootil are some of the priests who have left us for their eternal reward but who are remembered with great love in my heart.

Some of the teachers who are alive are Sr.Espirit,Fr.M.C. joseph S.J. Prof.K.T.Sebastian, Prof.K.K.Matthew,Prof.P.J.Devasia, Prof.K.V.Joseph.Prof.P.C.James.Prof.A.J.Francis,Dr.Joseph Sendry etc.are rememebered with great gratitude.

I know it has been sometimes difficult to live with priests in a community as some have different traits and attitudes. But I was happy in our college community. In many years of my life at the college, I lived in a community of more than 14 priests and the time I spent with them from the moment I joined the college as a young priest were happy and enjoyable. One touching moment in my life was when I received a tape from the college a few months after my arrival in the U.S. for higher studies in 1976 where all the priests right from Rev. Dr.Antony Kurialacherry giving their advice and fond recollections of my time at the college. That tape left tears in my eyes.

Now I live with a few priests at the Bishop’s residence of Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago. Bishop Jacob Angadiath who never knew me personally before I came to live with him offered the post of the Vicar General of the diocese when I was working in Washington D.C. I accepted it because of the fact that I could do some input in the formation of this new diocese. Abp. Powathil also asked me to accept the offer. I am very thankful to Mar Jacob Angadiath for the graciousness he has shown towards me.

I have always felt confident and happy in my life as a priest. I have accepted my vocation as a priest consciously and it was my strong feeling that whatever might be my personal failures I would never fail the Lord and Savior of my life, Jesus Christ. In His presence I have always felt the greatest happiness in my life.


Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…