Blessed Kunjachan

Feast Oct 16

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Blessed Kunjachan Kunjachan

Kunjachan in the words of other Bishops

Kunjachan - A priest who practised virtues heroically

Mar Sebastian Vayalil*

It is in the fitness of things that I make a few remarks concerning his virtues which I deem heroic. Of course the Church has to give a decision on this. But as far as human knowledge permits, I conclude from his life and career that he had practised heroic virtues proper to the Christian ideal of perfection. He was inspired by a deep faith in God and complete confidence in his mercy. His love for Jesus was most fervent while his love for fellowmen, in particular, for Dalits, bespoke a charity of the widest range and rarest intensity. He also practised in an extraordinary manner the moral virtues of chastity, obedience, prudence, justice and temperance. It was a life of sacrifice and service that led. Now, it is known that he possessed the charism of prophecy and the power to work miracles. May our Divine Master deign to reward this servant of God by proclaiming through the church that his life was really heroic and thereby render him worthy to be honoured as a canonized saint. From everywhere prayers are being offered to obtain from Christ, the Shepherd of souls, the favour of making manifest to the whole world the state of blessedness that Kunjachan has passed into after his mortal life here among us.

As a Man and a Priest

Even from his boyhood, Kunjachan was a pious and dutiful person. He never shirked work but was wholly deveoted to his studies and ever obedient to the teachers and fathers who taught him. He made no complaints against any of them or against his classmates either. Besides discharging his duties, he was always eager to do for others some little service or other. He cherished a fervent love of Our Lord and confided in Him whole heartedly. Never did he seek his own personal comforts. On the contrary he was always motivated by the ideal of service and sacrifice. It was with considerable difficulty that he made his journeys to Mannanam and later on to Verapoly puthenpally Seminary. At the seminary, too he was ever conscious in his studies and submitted himself to the superiors, obeying them cheerfully and ungrudgingly. He was glad to be of help to his class mates whenever they needed his services. He prepared himself carefully and diligently for his ordination. At the time of ordination Christ the Saviour filled him with great joy. He was always happy. If he was Though small in size and stature, large hearted, being capable of a charity that reached out to all men of whatever creed and caste. This fact is well attested by his class mates and the priests who moved on intimate terms with him.

Kunjachan as a Missionary

Kunjachan may be considered as "the apostle of the Delits" even as St. Paul was considered the apostle of the Gentiles. From the day he was appointed assistant Vicar of Ramapuram with special charge over Harijan Catholics he saw himself as one among them. He called them his children, his heart beat in sympathy with theirs, partaking of their joys and sorrows, worrries, and consolations. At the beginning there were not more than 300 Delits Catholics in the Parish but at the time of his departure from this field he could number no fewer than 5,000. It is by fervent prayers, fastings and acts of penance that he was able to accomplish so much. Even when he fell ill he would enquire after his beloved "children" and give them instructions from his sick bed. He loved them sincerely and in their turn the Delits loved him tenderly. They grew so fond of him that they came to think of him as their "own" Kunjachan. He was a father to them, spiritually and bodily; for Kunjachan had taught himself enough of herbomineral medicine to be able to treat his people in their illness. In treating his patients, he is known to have effected many miraculous cures. Hearing of these wonderful cures, even upper class Christians and Hindus sought his help and they were all carefully treated and looked after by him. Further, he possessed by God’s grace the charism of working miracles and the gift of prophecy. Several occasions are reported about his foretelling the future of some of his spiritual children and others who trusted in him.

Kunjachan Thevarparampil was a man of God. He was in constant communion with Our Lord present in the Blessed sacrament. He spent long hours by day and night to converse with him and to plead for helps of various kinds for his people and for the Church as a whole. He would gladly accept from the hand of God the sorrows that would be his share in the role of Christian witness facing the challenge of earthly living and dying. His was a life rooted in faith and nourished by a fervent love of God and man. It was a life fortified by the practice of virtues-the evangelical virtues of poverty, obedience and chastity; the moral virtues of justice, patience, temperance and fortitude. Kunjachan lived his life of virtue and charity at a level of excellence that can be called "heroic".

Kunjachan - A man of Deep Faith

Mar Joseph Kundukulam-Bishop of Trichur

The essence of Kunjachan’s life is summarised in the gospel text: "Whoever believes in me will do what I do". While Kunjachan was alive, he believed in the good God, loved Christ and sincerely tried to imitate him. First and foremost comes his intense faith. He really believed. It was not a mere profession with lips. He loved God practically by loving his brothers and that, the much exploited depressed classes of the day. It was a heroic convition to accept them as children of God, entitled to our love and consideration in those days. To love them as we love ourselves was an idea unheard of them. He saw God in those humble, agonizing humiliated spectre of men. They were living in spiritual, physical social, communal depression and Kunjachan gave his life to uplift them.

I shuddered when I read in his biography that the coir strands of the cot had cut into his tender body through the gaps in his torn mat, and that he hadn’t enough money to replace it even when he was inclined to do so "......"


Kunjachan - Purohit

Mar Sebastian Mankuzhikary - Bishop Thamarassery*

Kunjachan lived the life of a priest-a Purohit. Purohit in sanskrit means, ‘he who is placed in front’. Today Kunjachan is placed in front of us. He is still discharging the mission of all priests to do the work of the Redeemer who came to their midst, to uplift them. He laughed with them, cried with them, suffered with them. He thus passed on the consolation of God to the poor people whom he was serving.

The life of Kunjachan should be a challenging inspiration for priests. For, a priest is one who knows the vedas, according to Sanskrit root. In other words a priest is one who knows God. And this saintly priest took the God he knew, to the midst of the Delits, the poorest of the poor person, the God who came down from Heaven to the midst of the poor men of Galilee, the fishermen, the leper, the outcast. He realised that God had humbled himself so much that no one should claim that he was more needy and more desperate than God. It was such a God, who loved and served men that as a priest he conveyed to his beloved destitutes. In the confessional, Kunjachan was like Cure d’ Ars, patron saint of diocesan priests, who knew that God understands the agonies of man .............


-The Greatest Revolutionary of his Time

Mar George Punnakottil - Bishop of Kothamangalam

What we see in the face of Kunjachan are the expressions of a saintly person, who lived in constant union with God. We know that he laboured for the poor people around him. He could see the men around him as persons. His heart always throbbed in love for the suffering and the ignored masses around him. That was the reason why he frequented their poor cottages and drank gruel with them. He taught them the ABC of christian faith. Only a person with infinite love for them could do such things for them. Kunjachan’s love for the poor was an overflow of his love for God.

And who were those people whom he served with such ardent fervour? The outcast of the society, the Delits, the depressed class of peoples. When we assess the work of Kunjachan against the pathetic background of those poor people, we find that he was the greatest revolutionary of his time. It was his high spirituality that prompted him to embrace such hazardous works for the poor. Only people with a strong inner life can work for a thing till the end. And Kunjachan devoted his entire sacerdotal life for the well being of the Harijan people. He was a man of prayer, who lived always in close union with God ........"


-His Humility Par Excellence

Dr. Peter Chenaparambil - Bishop of Alleppy

Kunjachan was born on 1st April 1891, the fool’s day. Actually he was a man who made himself fool for the love of God. For, it was considered by many that the work he was doing through out his priestly life was mere foolishness. His work among the Harijans did not earn him either power or position, or any pecuniary benefit. He was spending himself entirely for the uplift of the downtrodden brethren, for the love of God. ‘I am nobody. All others are greater than me’, that seems to be his mentality.

He was fully aware of his limitations and shortcomings. He was neither an orator, organizer, writer or scholar. He did not consider himself to have achieved anything in life. He thought of himself as a humble servant in the service of God, through the service of his humble brethren. He took delight in speaking to them the good news of the Lord. That humble priest became a great missionary among the Harijans by his humble evangelization work.


-A Man of Firm Conviction

Mar Joseph Pallikaparampil - Bishop of Palai

Kunjachan was a priest who completed fifty years in priest hood .................. He tried to make the people realise the meaning of the expression, ‘Presence of God’, amidst the poor people for whom he was working. Hardly anybody appreciated him, or congratulated him. But his service was big and commendable before God. He tried to make people understand the love of God, the mercy of God and their practical impact on mankind. He talked in a low voice. Towards the end, his words were quite inaudible. Even then, anybody who tried to converse with him felt for certain that they were talking to a man of God. His message to us was also clear; whatever anyone does to the least of his brethren, he does it for God Himself. This conviction was always guiding him. He found the image of God in the least of his brethern. They are as much entitled to heaven as anyone of the better class ........"

Kunjachan- A Man of Prayer

Mar James Pazhayattil - Bishop of Irinjalakuda

Kunjachan-he was very small in every aspect. Yet he gained an important position in front of God, by his dedicated life. He lived for the glory of God. Working for the welfare of the poor people, this little priest became great. His life is a testimony of a heroic life.

Whence did he gather strength for all the sacrifices he had undergone? It was from the Holy Eucharist. He spent even hours before the Bl. sacrament. Getting up very early in the morning, he did his morning prayers and meditation in front of the tabernacle, before the celebration of the Eucharist. It is only after having dedicated his day’s activity at the feet of the Lord, that he went out to meet his ‘children’ in the villages.

Even when he returned late in the evening, he was very particular to present himself before the Lord, in order to place before Him all the problems and experiences he met with that day. Like John Maria Vianny, the patron Saint of the diocesan priests, who served for about forty years in the parish of Ars, Kunjachan lived at Ramapuram for about half a century in the service of the poor and downtrodden


Kunjachan-His ‘Fiat’ To God

Mar George Valiyamattam - Arch Bishop of Thalassery

Who was this saint’y priest Kunjachan? He was the man who fulfilled in his life the promises given by the Lord. Those who live according to the will of God will be glorified by Him. Nothing can dwindle their glory. "He who keeps his life will lose it. He who spends his life for my sake will gain it", Jesus said.

Kunjachan spent his life for the poor, seeing in them the very image of God. And God has glorified him. He still lives among us interceding for us before the Almighty.........

Kunjachan-Equal To Fr. Damien And St. Vincent De Paul

Mar Abraham Kattumana- Pontifical Delegate

Kunjachan was a priest who dedicated himself to the spiritual and temporal welfare of a marginalised set of people who were poor and exploited for generations. He preached to them the love of Jesus and made them experience the tender care of the Heavenly Father by his self emptying life.

The selfless service that Kunjachan rendered to the voiceless masses of the society was indubitably equal to the inimitable service of Fr. Damien to the lepers in Molokoi and to that of St. Vincent De Paul who went in search of the forsaken people and the thrown away children of France. Kunjachan with effortless ease, followed the footsteps of his master Jesus, who had a soft corner in his heart for the sinners and tax collectors of the time..........

Blessed Kunjachan