Businessman gifts 100-million-rupee church to Kerala parishioners
By George Kommattathil
Kozhikode: History was made in Kerala recently when a Syro-Malabar businessman built a 100-million rupee church for Latin parishioners.
Bishop Varghese Chakkalakal of Calicut Latin diocese on April 19 blessed the Holy Redeemer Parish in Vellimadukunnu, a suburb of Kozhikode (formerly Calicut), Kerala’s third largest town.
Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil of Thamarassery, a Syro-Malabar diocese, joined hundreds of laymen, nuns and priests from all three Catholics ritual Churches at the ceremonies.
“Usually we watch a rivalry among different rites in Kerala. By building a church for the Latin rite he has built a more marvelous example for all Catholic and it is a tall testimony that we are all one,” Roy Augustine, Catholic journalist in Kozhikode, told Matters India on April 25.
The Catholic Church in India comprises Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara rites.
Dinu Joby, a Vellimadukunnu parishioner, said their 80-year-old parish had no church building until now. “We were using the chapel of a convent for services until now. God has heard our prayers,” he told Matters India.
The church was built by George Sebastian Kizhakkeyil, a native of Peravoor, a parish under Tellicherry Syro-Malabar archdiocese.
Bishop Chakkalakal said Kizhakkeyil came to him with the Vellimadu parish priest for permission to build a church for 20 million rupees. “I gave him the permission to build the church of his dream,” the prelate told Matters India on April 23. “He built a marvelous church within 700 days,” he added.
>Kizhakkeyil designed the church that ultimately cost a total of 100 million rupees. “God has blessed him abundantly,” the bishop said.
Kizhakkeyil, who has worked in the Persian Gulf for the past 30 years, said building the church was his long cherished dream. The automobile engineer dedicated the church to the memory of his priest uncle, who died at the age of 48.
The idea came to him from his wife Chinnamma, who “compelled me to undertake the project,” he added.
The layman, who is engaged in automobile business in Qatar, said he travelled extensively to find a suitable design. “I have spent a lot of time drawing a super design for the church,” he added. He also supervised the construction and handed over the key to Bishop Chakkalakal after the blessing.
A Pradeepkumar, who represents the area in the Kerala legislative assembly, finds the church “very beautiful and spacious” at a prime location. “The architecture is astonishing and this church will be a priceless gift to the people of Calicut,” he added.
Kizhakkeyil, who has bought a house in Kozhikode, had left Kerala for Bahrain with a diploma from Calicut. He started the automobile business in that country, but later shifted to Qatar.