Catholics overjoyed over sainthood of Father Chavara, Sister Euphrasia

Catholics overjoyed over sainthood of Father Chavara, Sister Euphrasia

Ceremonies crowing the new saints were held at the Mannanam church and the Ollur convent. A public meeting was also held at Mannanam later in the evening.



By T.k. Devasia

Published: Mon 24 Nov 2014, 9:53 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 2:35 AM

Trivandrum: Catholics in Kerala celebrated canonisation of two of their spiritual leaders by Pope Francis at Vatican on Sunday.

Church bells rang and firecrackers went off across the state as the Pope raised Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia to the realm of saints along with four others from Italy. The ceremony in Vatican was shown live on television in most of the Catholic churches in the state.

Heads of Syro Malabar Catholic Church Cardinal Mar George Alencherry and Syro Malankara Church Cardinal Baselios Cleemis and senior prelates from all the three denominations of the Catholic Church attended the ceremonies at Vatican.

Besides, an Indian delegation led by Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P J Kurian and a Kerala government delegation led by Water Resources Minister P J Joseph also participated in the Vatican ceremonies.

Cardinal Alencherry said that over 10, 000 Keralites from all over the world also had come to Vatican to witness the event.

The Pope held a brief meeting with the delegates from Kerala after the ceremony. The canonisation ceremonies at Vatican will conclude on Monday with a thanksgiving Holy Mass in Syro Malabar Rite at the main altar of the St Peters Basilica. Cardinal Alencherry will be the main celebrant at the Holy Mass.

Faithful from various parts of the state gathered in large numbers at St Philomena’s Forane Church at Koonammavu in Cochin, where Fr Kurakose spent his last seven years, and St Joseph’s Monastery at Mannanam in Kottayam, his last resting place and at St Mary’s Convent at Ollur in Trichur district, where the tomb of Sr Euphrasia is located.

The canonisation was accompanied by holy mass and special novena at Mannanam and Ollur. Ceremonies crowing the new saints were held at the Mannanam church and the Ollur convent. A public meeting was also held at Mannanam later in the evening.

The canonisation enables faithful to organise feasts and celebrate Mass in the names of the two saints. Their images can also now be placed at the altar and their names invoked for prayers by faithful around the world.

With the elevation of Fr Kuriakose and Sr Euphrasia, the number of saints from the tiny state of Kerala, where Saint Thomas is believed to have arrived in 52 AD, bringing Christianity to India, has gone up to three. The first was Sister Alphonsa, who was elevated to sainthood six years ago.The three are among a total of four saints from India. The only other saint from the country is Gonsalo Garcia, who belongs to a Portuguese parentage. He was canonised in 1862.

Albanian-born Mother Teresa is also on the road to canonisation. She was beatified in 2003.

The bid for the sainthood to Fr Kuriakose, who is known as a reformist priest, began long back. He was declared a ‘venerable’ in 1984 and beatified in 1986, the same year Pope John Paul II visited Kerala. Sr Euphrasia, who died in 1952, was declared Servant of God in 1987 and beatified in 2006.

Faithful in Kerala believe that the sainthood to Fr Kuriakose and Sr Euphrasia would strengthen faith and encourage service. While Fr Kuriakose strived for the upliftment of downtrodden irrespective and caste and religious considerations, Sr Euprasia showed the power of the prayer.

Fr Paul Thelekkat, spokesman of the Syro Malabar Chuch said both the saints were very good examples of the art of life. “The new saints are two ordinary individuals of the last century. Both tell us the story of becoming, the process of saint-making which simply meaning good human beings,” he added.


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