Donnerstag, 10. Juli 2014

ധ്രുവദീപ്തി // Autobiography / Journey of a Missionary priest / Chapter-II, by Fr. George Pallivathukkal


    Autobiography   / 

 Journey of a Missionary priest / 
by Fr. George Pallivathukkal-  

The Author Rev. Fr. George Pallivathukkal, born in 1933 in Elamgulam in Kottayam District, Kerala and brought up in a faith-filled atmosphere and fired with enthusiasm for missionary. Fr.George joined the diocese (at that time Prefecture-Apostholic) of Jabalpur as a seminarian in 1954 and ordained in 1962. He worked for many years as a real missionary, mainly in the parishes and mission stations in the tribal district of Mandala. Trained at NBCLC, Bangalore, and East Asian Pastoral institute, Manila, in Philippines. Fr. George Pallivathukkal founded and several years ran, the diocesan Pastoral Centre as its Director and He lives in the Clergy home Mandala, M.P., India.


    Autobiography   /  Journey of a Missionary priest / chapter-II, 
by Fr.George Pallivathukkal-  

My call.

Fr. George Pallivathukkal

It was the unseen hand of God that guided my destiny from now on. There were many people who were instrumental and were helping me in my journey towards the future. The death of my parents had relieved me of my duty towards looking after them in their old age. My elder sister was married off fairly early by my grandfather before my mothers death. I was fully aware of my duty towards my two younger sisters. But somehow I was fully confident that the lord would take care of us because we had nobody else to depend on although we were still living with our paternal grandmother and uncles who were supposed to take our Parent's place. My grandfather before his death had made his will and given the three of us a share of his property. However one of my uncles was made our caretaker since we were minors.

Little flower Mission League 

My desire to become a missionary priest got germinated and nurtured during my association with the Little Flower Mission League. Little Flower Mission League is an association for children and youth. It was founded on 3rd October in 1947 at Bharananganam, by Fr.Joseph Maliparampil and Bro.P.C.Abraham. Abraham who was affectionately called "Kunjettan". The aim of the association was to create awareness about the missions amoung the people of Kerala especially amoung the youth and to promote missionary vocations.
Mission League which started with a small group, 66 years ago is the largest lay association in the church. St.Theresa of child Jesus and St.Alphonsa are the two patronesses of this association. Bharananganam is associated with the life, death and the Sainthood of St.Alphonsa.

St.Alphonsa was honored as a favourite saint by the children and the youth long before the church declared her a saint. Alphonsa was a clarist nun who had led a heroic life in the clarist convent of Bharananganam. She was a symbol of suffering. She died on the 28th of July 1946 and was buried in the parish cemetery of the place.Soon after the death her fame spread far and wide, as a friend and intercessor especially of those who were suffering. Thousands of all castes and creeds flocked to her grave asking for prayers and favours. It was but natural that Saint Alphonsa beeing the local Saint became the patroness of the Mission league. This association was named after the Little Flower, Theresa of Child Jesus, because she was the patroness of the Missions in the Universal Church.

Starting of Mission League in the parish.

Fr. J. Malipparambil (l), 
P. C. Abraham ( R) 

While studying in the high school two of us, Bro. T. C.Joseph Thazhathedam and I, used to walk often to Bharananganam to pray at the grave of Sr.Alphonsa. One day out of curiosity we went to the Mission League office. Kunjettan welcomed us warmly. We talked about starting a unit of the Mission league in our parish. We belonged to St.Mary's parish Elangulam in the diocese of Changanassery. I studied in St.Antony's High School, Chengalam in the neighboring Parish. On return from Bharananganam, on the advice of "Kunjettan"(P.C.Abraham),both T.C.Joseph and I went to our parish priest, Fr. Abraham Thekkemury and discussed with him the posibility of starting a unit of the L.F.Mission  League in our parish. The parish priest gladly accepted our proposal, assured us of his full cooperation and gave us a letter to Kunjettan welcoming the Mission League to his parish.

The Parish priest announced to the parishioners on a Sunday that a unit of the Mission League was going to start in our parish. He explained to the people the aim and objectives of the association and how this unit in the parish could function as a springboard of Mission animation and promotion of vocations. He invited the youth to join in the Leage. Thus with all-round support and the blessing of the elders Fr.Abraham Thekkemury, the parish priest, in the presence of Kunjettan,inaugurated the Mission League in our parish with 120 members in 1950. I was elected as the Secretary of our parish Mission league. We remained in those posts until we joined the seminary in June 1953.
We the members of the Mission League, were called "Little Missionaries". We worked with zeal and enthusiasm and the same time without neglecting our studies. As per the guidelines of the League, we were supposed to pray personally everyday for the spread of the Good News, for conversion, for missionaries who were working in the mission field and to collect funds by making personal sacrifices etc. and help the missions. We used to go from house to house every month to collect money or whatever we could get to help missions. Some parishioners were generous and some of them abused us. We were taught to offer those abuses also for the success of the mission of Christ. Before I became an active participantin the Mission League I was a member of the St.Vincent De Paul Society and through this organisation I was in contact with many poor families in the in the parish and participated in the service rendered to them. This service I continued until I joined the seminary. The Lord was preparing me for whatever I was going to become in future. My sisters, meanwhile, were active members of the Legion of Mary in the parish.

Fr. Jacob Kanjiratthinal and his vision.
Rev. Fr. Jacob
During the last two years of my High School studies I came in contact with a saintly and missionary minded priest, Fr. Kanjiratthinal, who was the manager of our school and parish priest of St.Antony's Parish Chengalam. He was a promoter of vocations for the mission dioceses and religious congregations. He had sent scores of boys and girls to become priest and religious to evangelize in the mission areas of central and north India.During the lunch break in the school many of us used to visit him and spend some time with him. He used to share with us whatever information he had received from the missionaries. A mission magazine "preshitha keralam" published from the St.Joseph's Seminary, Alweye, used to feed us regularly with information about the Missions. The Magazine used to publish inspiring articles as well as experiences of missionaries working in the remote areas of the country. Their experiences were challenging and thought provoking. "If they can do it why can't I" was the thought that would come to the mind.

In 1953 "Satprachar "Press, in Indore, Published a mission calender with a picture of St.Francis Xavier printed on it. Under the picture was written the prayer of St. Francis Xavier in Latin- "Da mihi animas, Domine, caetera tolle" (Give me souls,O Lord, take away all the rest"). This Latine sentence I learned by heart before ever I decided to become a priest.

During the last year of our High School in 1953, a German Divine Word Missionary priest from Indore, Fr.Zimmerman s.v.d, came to our school and addressed us inviting us to Indore. We were a class of 50 students-32 boys, and 18 girls. Of these 17 boys went for priestly studies and 13 girls joined convents.//-
( Dhruwadeepti online).

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