By Matters India Reporter
Gwalior, Dec 15, 2018: Bishop Thomas Thennatt of Gwalior has succumbed to a severe head injury in a tragic car accident.
According to a press release from the Diocese of Gwalior, the bishop was returning to his residence after an annual function in a school when his car skidded off and overturned.
He was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital and thereafter to St. Joseph Hospital, Gwalior, where he was declared dead around 10 pm on December 14. He was 65.
The funeral is scheduled at 11 am on December 18 at St. Paul’s Church Morar, Gwalior, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India says.
“In him we have lost a true shepherd and a great human being. We will miss our dear Bishopswamiji,” says Father Varghese Pullan, provincial of the Pallotines in India.
Bishop Thennatt was the first member of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, popularly known as Pallotines, to become a bishop in India. He was known for simplicity, humility and detachment from worldly things.
The prelate was born in a family of six on November 26, 1953, at Koodallor in the Archdiocese of Kottayam in Kerala. After matriculation in 1969, he joined the Pallotine minor seminary in Thiruvananthapuram (then Trivandrum), Kerala capital.
Two years later, he began his philosophical studies at St Charles Seminary in Nagpur. He also did his bachelors studies from St Francis de Sales College, adjacent to the seminary. He joined Pallotine novitiate in Bangalore in 1974 and took his first vows a year later.
He returned to Nagpur to continue his theological studies and was ordained a priest in 1978 by Bishop Joseph Fernandez of Quilon. He obtained a Masters degree in pastoral theology from Papal Seminary, Pune, western India.
He began his priestly duties as assistant parish priest at St. Vincent Pallotti Parish of Amravati in Guntur diocese, Andhra Pradesh, for a year in 1979.
He served as the parish priest of St. Antony Church, Mudfort under Hyderabad archdiocese for three years from 1984. He then served as the secretary of the archdiocesan commissions of youth and family and laity.
In 1991, he moved to Indore diocese as the parish priest of St. Theresa Church of Pushpanagar and director for laity and family and Small Christian Communities. Two years later, he was appointed as regional director for laity and family Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, a post he held for five years.
He has served as pastor in states such as the undivided Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
He also served as the parish priest of St. Pius X Church Mankapur in Nagpur diocese, Maharashtra, since 2012.
Bishop Thennatt was also the director of family apostolate, youth ministry, small Christian Communities, as well as member of many commissions of his congregation He was also rector of the Regional Theologate at Ashta, Bhopal, for ten years.
For six years he was the consulter of the Prabhu Prakash Province of the Pallottines at Nagpur.
Pope Francis chose him as a bishop on October 18, 2016, when he was the parish priest of St Pius X Church in Nagpur archdiocese.