Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Indian Priest Kunjachan to be Beatified

Beatification of Father Augustine Thevarparambil ("Kunjachan") from Kerala on April 30, 2006

April 25, 2006

Kunjachan to be Beatified on April 30

Ramapuram (ICNS) -- Father Augustine Thevarparambil, popularly known as Kunjachan, the humble priest from the village of Ramapuram in Kerala, will be beatified in the local village church on April 30.

This is for the first time that the Vatican has given permission for conducting the beatification ceremony of an Indian sainthood candidate in his own village church.

Pope Benedict XVI has given permission to Major Archbishop Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil of Syro Malabar Church to conduct the beatification ceremony of the Venerable Servant of God Augustine Thervarparampil at Ramapuram.

The Vatican has also asked Cardinal Vithayathil him to preside over the ceremony in the name of the Pope.

According to Bishop Joseph Kallarngat of Pala Diocese, Cardinal Vithayathil will lead the beatification ceremony which will be attended by representatives from Vatican, some 70 bishops, hundreds of priests and religious and lay men from across the country.

“This is going to be the biggest and rare ceremony that is taking place in the history of the Church in Kerala. We are preparing for the blessed occasion,” Bishop Kallarngat said.

Everyone in Ramapuram village in Kerala considers Father Augustine Thevarparambil popularly known Kunjachan as a humble priest.

He was born in the village in on April 1, 1891. He was ordained priest, belonging to the diocese of Pala, in 1921.

Interestingly during most of his priestly career, Kunjachan stayed in his own parish, the St. Augistine’s church at Ramapuram as one among the three assistant parish priests for more than 40 years.

Kunjachan died on 16th October 1973. Soon after his death, his tomb at the St. Augustine Church became a center of pilgrimage for people from far and wide.

According to parish priest Father Mathew Narivelil, the biography and the prayer for intercession of Kunjachan have been published in many Indian and European languages.

After Kunjachan was declared a Servant of God, an elaborate enquiry about his life and virtues was followed by a diocesan tribunal. Father Mathoth prepared the 'positio' on the virtues and submitted it to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in Rome on 12 Feb. 1997.

Source: www.theindiancatholic.com

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