Cardinal Toppo urges youth to follow Camille Bulcke

Father Bulcke’s mortal remains were installed in Ranchi

By Matters India Reporter

Ranchi: Father Camille Bulcke’s mortal remains were installed inside the campus of St Xavier’s College, Ranchi, on March 14 in the presence of Church leaders and hundreds of the Jesuit missionary’s admirers.

Cardinal Telesphore P Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi, who led the installation ceremony, said it fulfilled the long cherished dream of Chotanagpur people to bring the great missionary to his karmabhumi (place of action).

Cardinal Toppo, who narrated the Belgian missionary’s life and works, noted that India’s most famous Christian Hindi scholar had dedicated his life for promoting Hindi literature and Indian culture. He urged the gathering, mostly students of St Xavier’s College and educational institutions in Ranchi, to dedicate themselves to carry forward Father Bulcke’s works.

The procession (Ranjit Tigga)
“What does the presence of Father Bulcke’s mortal remains in Ranchi signify? It is to remind us how he had spent his entire life to spread the message of love, spirituality and interreligious cooperation,” the 78-year-old prelate said.

The missionary, who resembled a sage, spent his time spreading the message of selfless service and brotherhood in an environment of hatred and selfishness, the cardinal said.

The prelate said that due to Father Bulcke’s untiring efforts thousands of people of other faiths in northern are now familiar with Christianity and its message.

Also present at the function were Father Vernon D’Cunha, regional assistant to the Jesuit superior general, Ranchi Jesuit provincial Father Joseph Marianus Kujur and more than 150 priests and hundreds of nuns.

The installation ceremony began around 10 am. Earlier, the casket containing the remains was opened for the public at Manresa House, the headquarters of Ranchi Jesuits. It was then taken in a procession to St nearby Xavier’s College for installation, Jesuit Father Ranjit Tigga, who brought the casket to Ranchi from New Delhi, told Matters India.

Cardinal Toppo blessing the casket (Ranjit Tigga)
The casket was brought to Ranchi the previous day. The Ranchi Jesuit provincial received it at the Ranchi airport from Father Tigga. It was then carried to Manresa House, 8 km north. Senior church functionaries, priests and nuns, his admirers and students accompanied the casket. Prayer services and speeches on the priest’s life and work were also held in Manresa House.

It was placed beneath a pedestal with a white bust of the scholar-priest.

Father Bulcke died on August 18, 1982, in Delhi at the age of 72. He was buried at Nicholson Cemetery near Kashmere Gate in Old Delhi, where he was largely ignored.

He came to India in 1935 as a Jesuit seminarian and became an Indian citizen in 1951. He headed the Hindi and Sanskrit departments of St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi.

Manresa House in Ranchi was the center of his activities. The administration has renamed Purulia Road that passes in front of Manresa House as Camille Bulcke Path.

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