Centenarian priest, India’s oldest Salesian
By Dominic Mathews
Chennai: A hundred years sit lightly on the broad but slightly drooping shoulders of Father Cedric Anthony Bout of the Salesian Province of Chennai.
On November 11, Father Bout celebrated his 100th birthday with fellow priests and brothers, as well as the faithful and well-wishers, in his familiar surroundings at The Citadel, Chennai.
Father Bout was his usual mischievous self, cracking wits of wisdom and where words cannot flow easily through his toothless grin, gesticulating wildly with his hands.
Father Bout is the oldest priest in the Indian Salesians’ history. He continues to be an active member of the Salesian community at the Provincial House, Citadel in Chennai. He hails from an Anglo-Indian family from Tangasseri (Quilon) in Kerala. He was born on November 11, 1918, the day First World War ended with the Armistice. Cedric is the fourth of six children and his eldest sister Mary Bout is a Salesian Sister.
Cedric did his schooling at Presentation Sisters and St. Joseph’s, both in Vepery and completed his school education at St. Mary’s European High School in George Town. He then went on to do his B. A. in Science from Loyola College where he was drawn toward a religious life. The then parish priest Father Theodore introduced Cedric to Salesian Father Joseph Carreno, the rector of the Salesian House in Tirupattur who invited him to spend a few days to experience the Salesian way of life before making up his mind.
Cedric Bout was ordained a priest by Archbishop Louis Mathias on April 2, 1949, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Madras. The rest, as they say, is history, which continues to be written in the life and times of Father Cedric Bout. As he enjoys celebrating his 100th birthday, all his faculties are still active, save for a hearing loss.