Rector injured in road accident dies

Father Poonthuruthil was wounded on January 14

By Matters India Reporter

Shillong: Father James Poonthuruthil, rector of Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong, succumbed to his injuries on January 21.

Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong informed the press that the Salesian priest died at 7:55 pm at NEIGRIHMS (North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences) in Shillong, capital of Meghalaya state. He would have turned 63 on January 27.

Father Poonthuruthil was critically injured after his Tata Nano car rammed into a truck near Nongpoh in the Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya state on January 14 afternoon.

The former head of the Salesians’ Dimapur province was on his way to Guwahati in Assam.

On January 15, the doctors conducted a surgery to remove a part of the priest’s skull to treat the brain, and prevent it from swelling and from stop hemorrhages. They removed a blood clot and cleaned remains of bleeding.

Father Poonthuruthil’s body was taken to the Sacred Heart Theological College. It will be taken to the headquarters of the Dimapur Salesian province in Nagaland on January 22 for burial at the Salesian Bhavan. Dimapur is some 350 km northeast of Shillong.

The Salesian priest had done doctoral studies in Moral Theology at Alfonsiana, Rome, with the thesis “Towards Responsibility: A Study of Erik H Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development and Viktor E Frankl’s theory of Logotherapy.”

He was registrar of the Sacred Heart College from 1988 to 1992; and from 1994 to 1995. He was rector of Salesian College of Higher Education, Dimapur, during 1995-2001. He became the president of the Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong in 2003, a post he held for three years. He was the head of the Salesian Province of Dimapur, Nagaland, from 2006 to 2012. A year later, he was appointed director of Integrated Training for Laity and Religious.

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6 thoughts on “Rector injured in road accident dies

  1. My memory of Fr.James goes back to 1978, when I was a first year Philosophy student at Salesian College Sonada,Darjeeling. He happened to be the Pantry in-charge for some time and I had my special milk-break at 10am and 6pm, since I had a weak stomach. I can still remember the smile that he radiated when he used to keep (Milk,Biscuits and Horlix) every day in the old St.Joseph’s Dormitory which was the infirmary those days. The care ,concern and the affection that he manifested those days still lingers in me with so much of freshness. A strong reminder to us all, that at the end of the day it is all interpersonal relationship that matters in our day today living. Bye Fr.james……….your memory will be fresh for years to come.

  2. A good man. A dedicated and well-qualified priest. Helpful and aware of the needs of formees. Certainly a deeply felt loss.
    Fr Joe Mannath SDB

  3. An inordinate number of priests die in car accidents. A sociological study should be conducted to ascertain the root causes.Ther could be two possible reasons:

    1. A reckless attitude towards life because they have no dependents
    2. Sudden power and status on becoming a priest, that goes to the head

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