A prayer by Blessed Chavara Kuriakose Elias (Servant of God) from heaven.
Providence guided me, and I lived in that light. There was plenty of work for me everywhere. People around me were poor and were illiterates. Education for all was a dream that I got from somewhere. I started few schools, but was not enough.
One ‘pallikkoodam’ for one “Palli “ was a solution. I wrote a letter to all parishes by my hand asking to start a school. I thank Archbishop Bernadios, for signing it with a warning- ‘No School-No Kurbana’. It found results. That was a miracle that I witnessed. I praise the Lord for making it happen. I am grateful to all the priests and religious who worked without any remuneration to bring up the schools. May God bless them.
Newly converted Catholics were treated badly at that time. They were asked to sit in a corner in the church on Sundays when they come for Kurbana. I took their children in my schools. I even offered them free noon Kanji. Many upper caste parents objected to this and stopped sending their children to school. But I carried on. I remember the school and chapel I built specially for the newly converted at Arppokkara so that they will feel free. Is it still there?
It was a good thing that you gave all schools to the government. Let them pay good salary to the teachers. It is very bad that you take bribe for appointing teachers. But why no one is maintaining those schools. Why are you not building toilets in those schools? I pray for good sense will prevail upon you to update those schools.
Is it true that there are no puthukristianis in our church? Who has driven them away? I hear that Syro Malabar Church do not accept anyone from outside the church. Is not evangelization mandatory for all followers of Jesus Christ? My soul will be hurt if you exclude dalits and become ‘elite’ Catholics.
Better education for better priest was one of my dream. I helped to start many Seminaries to mould better priests. I pray that they should be given modern education.
I remember with thanks so many who helped me to set up a printing press in Mannanam. Without any bank balance I had to beg and borrow to bring the press donated by a king in Europe. The ‘Nazrani Deepika the news paper that I started did not last long. I hear that a daily in the name ‘DEEPIKA’ by the church was also died.
By that time many unhappy things happened in the church. The archbishop found that one way to resist opposition by Bishop Roccos was to promote me as vicar General of Malabar church and transfer. I left Mannanam after working there for 30 years. My dream to start a college in Mannanam was shattered. But obedience was my pledge when I became a priest. In a way I am thankful that I could spend my last seven years at Koonanmmavu-a Latin church.
It pains me to hear that my bones were taken away from Koonanmavu to Mannanam. I doubt that one day they will sell my bones to make money. My only prayer is that part of that money may be spent on free education for the Dalit children.
I hear that the CMI congregation which I started has spread all over the world and that they are richer than any political parties in India. I pray that they spend the money for good things for the people including ‘Dalits, rather than keeping it in the banks. I have not done any miracles or cured the sick ones. Call me a servant of God. So are all of you. My only prayer to you is that do not use my name for commercial gain. Amen.
(The writer is P.C.Joseph . email. firstname.lastname@example.org. The view is personal)