Sunday, 14 December 2014

Kuriakose Elias Chavara declared Saint

Pope Francis declared Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the founder of CMI (Carmelites of Mary Immaculate) and co-founder of CMC (Congregation of Mother of Carmel) a saint on November 23, 2014. Kuriakose Elias Chavara was a visionary Carmelite priest  whose creative and path breaking initiatives, played a pivotal role in initiating a spiritual and social revolution in Kerala, the southern state of India. Witnessed by 5000 strong crowd of  St. Thomas Christians from Kerala, who flocked Vatican Square on the day of canonization, Pope Francis declared that, "they [Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Euphrasia] responded with extraordinary creativity to the commandment of love of od and neighbour...their preference for the smallest and poorest was the reflection and measure of their unconditional love of God."

Kuriakose Elias Chavara was born at Kainakary, Kerala in 1805 and was ordained a priest in 1829. It was in 1831 that he found the first religious Congregation for men in India, Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. He dared to think beyond his times and emphasized the need for education, the publication and reading of books, organising the liturgical texts, initiating spiritual exercises, the necessity to preach homilies and retreats, the quest to bring down the caste barriers and above all to lead people to God. He was rightly called by his cotemporaries as 'man of God.' He bid adieu to his illustrious earthly life in Jan 3, 1871 at Koonammavu, his mortal remains where later entombed at Mannanam. He was declared venerable in 1984. Pope John Paul II declared Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Alphonsa Muttathupadath blessed in 1986 at Kottayam Kerala.

Vatican approved the miracle cure of squint eye of Maria Rose Kottarathil with the exclusive intercession of Kuriakose Elias Chavara. It was this miracle which cleared the final hurdle for canonization. To declared him blessed in 1986, Rome had earlier approved the miracle which helped Mr. Joseph Mathew Pennaparambil to overcome his congenial deformity of the legs which took place in April, 1960.

The joy, happiness and gratitude of Catholic Church in India, was in full display at  the National Thanks Giving day celebration at Rajagiri Valley, Kochi, Kerala. A whopping 60,000 catholics attended the Holy Qurbana presided over by Major Arch Bishop Mar George Alencherry and the public gathering. Prominent attendees include Rt. Rev. Salvatore Penachhio, Apostolic Nuncio,  Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, the head of Malankara Church, Mr. Oommen Chandy, the Chief Minister of Kerala. The thanks giving day celebration was well attended by Bishops, Priests and prominent figures from political and social arena.


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