Blessed Kunjachan
Blessed Kunjachan Birth and Family of Kunjachan Thevarparampil

 Steps towards Canonization

The news about the holiness and the intercessory power of Kunjachan reached even far off places. Pilgrims began to flock to his sepulchre. His photographs published as an expression of thanks giving for the favours granted, articles in journals and magazines etc. influenced the general public. Many responsible persons opined that his cause might be considered for canonization.

It was Mar Sebastian Vayalil, first Bishop of Palai (Retired) who took the primary initiation in this line. Based on a request made by the retired Bishop, nad convinced of the importance of the matter, Mar Joseph Pallikaparampil placed a petition before the Congregation for saints in Rome to start the process of canonization, of Fr. Augustine Thevarparampil. After a preliminary investigation, the congregation issued the ‘Nihil Obstat’ (no objection) to start the process.

Bp. Mar Joseph Pallikaparampil appointed Fr. Antony Cairoli, OFM, the postulator general of the congregation of Franciscan Minors, Rome, Postulator of the cause of Kunjachan.

 The Diocesan Tribunal

Rev Fr. Joseph James C M I 

   - Chief Judge & Bishop's Deligate

Rev. Fr Joseph Kariyapuram 

   - Promoter of justice

Rev. Fr Sebastian Thayil 

   - Promoter of justice

Rev. Fr. Sacharias Madhurapuza 

   - Notary 

Rev Sr. Eymard C M C - Notary

Rev. Sr. Paul Mariah - Cursor

Inauguration of the Diocesan Tribunal

Card, Simon Lourdusamy, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental churches, during his official visit to Kerala, reached Ramapuram, on 11 August 1987. In a public session held inside St. Augustine’s Church Ramapuram, in the presence of the Cardinal, the diocesan Tribunal was fromally inaugurated. In that august assembly, participated by many of the bishops of the Syro Malabar church, and attended by priests, religious and thousands of lay people, Mar Joseph Pallikaparampil the local ordinary, at first took the oath of secrecy. He was followed by the presiding judge, promoter of justice, notary, and cursor. Thence forth Kunjachan began to be called as the Servant of God. Fr. Kurian Mathothu, a priest of the diocease of Palai, was appointed Vice-postulator of the cause. A list of witnesses, numbering 121 had been prepared and was presented before the congregation of Saints. A circular letter was published in the diocesan bulletins of the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara churches, requesting the faithful to entrust the vice-postulator, with any record or matter that might be of help to the diocesan tribunal in its investigation. The registers and diaries written by the Servant of God, the letters he wrote, received or kept by him, etc were scrupulously collected and examined. The vice-postulator took care to meet as many people as possible personally who might have had contact with the revered priest, from among whom a few were chosen to be additional witnesses.

The Diocesan Tribunal in sitting

Completing the preliminary preparations, the Tribunal began its sitting to examine the witnesses on 15th June 1989. It was quite accidental that, the sessions of the Tribunal were conducted in the very same room in the presbytery, where the Servant of God was staying for more than three decades!

Altogether 129 witnesses were examined in 205 sessions. They included Bishop-1; Priests-30; Rev. Sisters-12; Laymen-73; Laywomen-12; Religious brother-1. On completion of the examination of the witnesses, their testimonies had been translated from the vernacular Malayalam to English.

The final (public) session of the diocesan Tribunal was conducted at St. Augustine’s church Ramapuram on 6th June 1992, presided over by bishop Mar Joseph Pallikkaparampil. The bishop put his signature officially on the packets containing the findings of the tribunal. 

Along with these documents, the letters of the Servant of God, his pocket diary, different registers writtenby him and kept in the Church, biographies in different languages, paper cuttings, articles in magazines, reports of favours received, etc also have been packed, sealed and sent to the Congregation of saints in Rome. The original copies of the documents were kept in the archives of the Bishop’s house.

Historical Commission

On demand from the part of the Postulator, a Historical commission consisting of three members was constituted on 6th June 1993. The commission made a detailed enquiry about everything that might be found about the Servant of God, in the major Seminary at Alwaye, (The Puthenpally seminary, where the Servant of God had his priestly studies was later shifted to Mangalapuzha seminary, Alwaye), Archives of the Bishop’s houses at Changanacherry and Palai, and other places related to the saintly priest. The report prepared based on the findings of the enquiry was sent to Card. Anjelo Felici, prefect of the con. of saints, Rome, on 15th September 1993.

Diocesan Process approved

The findings and the reports sent to Rome, weighed all together 62 kgs. The papers arranged in a number of files, were submitted to the Congregation by Fr. Giovanni Folguera OFM, the Postulator.

As a first step, the documents were bound in 36 volumes. Then the Congregation made a detailed study to see whether the proceedings of the Diocesan Tribunal were conducted according to the prescribed regulations. Finding them to be in the proper order, the Congregation issued by Decree approving the validity of the documents on 26th November 1993. Again on 10th December 1993, Msgr. Jose Louis Gutierezz was appointed ‘Relatore’ for conducting the cause of the Servant of God.

The Death of the postulator, and the appointment of Fr. Giovanni Folguera, O F M as the new postulator

Fr. Antonio Cairoli, who was serving as the Postulator at the beginning of the process, expired on 17th November 1989, due to cardiac arrest. He is succeeded by Fr. Giovanni Folguera, OFM as the new Postulator.

Centenary celebrations of the birth of the Servant of God

On 1st April 1991, the 100th birth anniversary of Kunjachan was celebrated in a simple but meaningful way. Earlier, competitions in painting and elocution were conducted on an all Kerala basis and prizes were awarded to the winners.

On the morning of April 1st, a prayer meeting was held in the Thevarparampil house, presided over by Rev. Dr. Joseph Mattam, Vicar general of the diocese of Palai, and attended by hundreds of neighbours and relations. 100 candles were lit to commemorate the day’s significance.

In the afternoon, the bishop of Palai was the main celebrant in the Holy mass, celebrated at the parish church, Ramapuram. The public meeting that followed was inaugurated by Dr. Peter Chenapparampil, Bishop of Alleppy. Leaders representing the various section in the society, religious and secular, spoke on the occasion.

Blessed Kunjachan