ധ്രുവദീപ്തി // Autobiography //
Journey of a Missionary Priest-
Fr. George Pallivathukal
Our Lady and the Cobra
Since Junwani mission area was very vast and two priests alone could not cater to the pastoral needs of the people of the entire area, it was decided to divide the Junwani mission into two with sakwah as the head-quarter of the new mission station. In preparation for the division a piece of land was bought and the Bishop appointed Fr. Milo Der Kinderen, a Dutch Norbertine, to construct a church, presbytery, convent and a dispensary in the newly bought land. Fr. Milo was residing with us in Junwani and looking after the construction work. A group of Hindu Leaders of Ghutas opposed the building of a new mission at Sakwah. WE ignored the opposition and went ahead with our plan. It took more than a year before the buildings were ready. //- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
After the Tehsildar incedent and jail experience our mission tour continued as before. I was on a tour of an area called Sarangar-Charpani. A catechist, Kharia by name, was stationed at Sarangar and while on tour we used to stay in his house. I left my luggage in the Catechist's house at Sarangar and proceded to the neighboring village,Charpani, a distance of about three kilometers. Kharia and Indal Das were with me. After visiting the people of Chapani we were returning to Sarangar where were to spend the night. when we were on visit to Villages I had the habit of walking alone and praying the Rosary.
|Fr. George Pallivathukal|
While returning from Charpani we had to cross a stream and both sides of the path were filled with tall grass. I was walking ahead with Rosary in my hand. It was dusk and almost getting dark. Suddenly I felt that something was moving under my right foot. When I looked down I realized that a snake was under my foot. Fortunately I stamped the snake on his neck and so he could not turn back and bite me. I screamed "Jesus" and took my foot backwards. The snake also got frightened and jumped ahead and stood a little far away with its hood up. This was a cobra. By that time Kharia and Indal also joined me. They also saw the snake. We hit our stiks on the ground and the snake disappeared into the grass.
I was holding my Rosary tight. I thanked Jesus who came to crush the head of the Serpent and Mother Mary who gave us our Redeemer from the bottom of my heart. Yers later, when I was making a retreat in Muringoor one who counselled me asked me whether I was ever saved by Mother Mary from the bite of a ferocious snake. Instnatly I remembered this incident and asked him how he knew about it. He said when he was praying he saw in a vision a snake trying to bite me and Mother Mary lifting me up so that the snake could not reach me. Mother Mary alwas protects her children.
Bishop returns to Jabalpur.
We usually have the anual retreat of the priests, both the Diocesan and Norbertines, in the month of October. Bishop Dubbelman returned to Jabalpur after the Vatican II Council session before our retreat in October 1964. The day the priests were supposed to reach the Bishop's house for the retreat I had hearing of my case in Mandla. After the hearing when I reached the Bishop's House, the Bishop and the priests were having their dinner. As I entered the Dining Hall Bishop Dubbelman saw me coming in, he got up from his seat, came forward and hugged me saying " Thank you George for what you have undergone for the people of our diocese. I have heard everything ; the suffering you endured will bring a lot of blessings to the people in our diocese. I am with you,thank you, and God bless you, George". I felt rewarded and thanked the Bishop for his understanding and support. Mgr. Thaliath was watching the entire scene and grinding his artificial teeth. I asked him after the dinner how he liked the Bishop's reaction to me. He turned back and walked away without uttering a word. Poor man!
A new Bishop from Junwani.
|World Eucharistic Congress was held in Bombay. 1964|
In 1964 the World Eucharistic Congress was held in Bombay. Pope Paul VI had come for the occasion. On the 3rd of December 1964 the Holy father consecrated five Bishops representing the five continents. The one to represent Asia was Bishop Leobard D'Souze - Co-adjutor Bishop of Jabalpur.Leobard D'Souza did his studies of philosphy in St. Albert's College, Rome. When he returned to Jabalpur after his studies in Rome, Bishop Dubbelman appointed him Assistant to Fr. Paymans in Junwani. He remainded in Junwani less than one year. However during that short period he made himself very popular amoung the people. He loved them. When he was still at Junwani Archbishop James Knox, the newly appointed Internuncio to India, asked the Bishop of Jabalpur for Leobard's service as his secretary in the Nuntiature in Delhi.
Archbishop Knox was the Rector of the Propaganda Collage, Rome when Leobard was studying there. So they knew each other. He remaind in Delhi for six years. Then he went to Ireland for his post graduate studies in History. While he was a student in Ireland was chosen to be the Bishop to succeed Bishop Dubbleman in the Diocese of jabalpur. When the people of Junwani heard that their previous Junior Priest (Chota Swamy) had become a Bishop they were overenjoyed. When Leobard visited Junwani after his consecration, the people of Junwani gathered enough of gold from their own homes to make a gold ring and presented it to him. When Leobard was still the assistant Bishop the Internuntio Knox visited jabalpur diocese and he came to Junwani and spent two days with us.
Saved from the mouth of a Tiger.
My team of missionaries, Indal, Prakash, and I were on our way to Soda- Salaiah area on mission visit. After crossing the river Burner we had to cross a dense forest, a distance of about 5 km to reach our destination. As usual I was walking ahead of the other two praying Rosary. I heard behind me some one running and when I looked back I saw my two companions running back. I turned back and started walking towards them. They shouted to me and said "Father go ahead, don't come back, there is a tiger sitting close to where you are standing". I looked around and saw a tiger sitting at a distance of about 20 feet away from the path we were walking. I got the shock of my life. I clung to my rosary for my dear life although the animal was cool. He was in turn looking at me and looking at my companions who were running back. I quietly walked back. He continued to sit there without threatening any body. After some time my companions joined me. They took a defferent route to come to the place where I was standing. All of us had the shock of our lives. I thought of Daniel in the lion's then. God protects his children These are unforgettable moments, when we experienced the protecting hand of the Lord.