Priest’s alleged suicide shocks Salesians

Fr Jose Thiruthany


By Matters India Reporter

Guwahati, June 9, 2019: A 68-year-old priest’s alleged suicide has brought pain and anguish to a Salesian province in India.

“The Salesian province of Mary Help of Christians, Guwahati, Assam, India, deeply mourns the passing away of Fr Jose Thiruthany, (TO), SDB, at 5:30 am on 7 June, 2019, at Dotma,” says a note from Father Januarius S Sangma, the provincial.

Fr Thiruthany was the pastor of Dotma parish under Bongaigaon diocese in Assam.

The funeral Mass was held at 3 pm on June 8 at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral Parish, Panbazar, Guwahati, followed by burial at the Christian Cemetery, Uzanbazar, in the same city.

Father Sangma’s note to his confreres and friends of Salesians said Father Thiruthany was found dead in the premises of the Dotma parish. “We are shaken up with this sudden death of our dear Father T O Jose,” he added.

Sources in Guwahati told Matters India that the priest allegedly hanged from a fan hook in the room adjacent to the altar. Autopsy was on June 7.

The funeral Mass was led by Archbishops John Moolachira of Guwahati and Dominic Jala of Shillong, who was a batchmate of the deceased priest.

Father Thiruthany was the vicar general of Bongaigaon.

“What were the circumstances or compulsions for such a senior priest to take this extreme and painful step?” the sources asked. The priest had contributed immensely to the missions and was deeply loved and appreciated by people, the sources added.

Father Thiruthany was born on December 8, 1949, at Manjapra in the Ernakulam district of Kerala. He joined the Salesians in 1969 at Shillong and was ordained a priest on December 16, 1978, at his home parish.

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5 thoughts on “Priest’s alleged suicide shocks Salesians

  1. I am also deeply shocked . I can never imagine Fr.Jose doing this.
    The saddest part again is the covering up. Media gives no importance to this. The church does not want it either. We hush up and quieten things. If the responsible are within the clergy itself, they must be brought in front of the law. It can be a mental harassment/torcher or who knows even physical extreme steps. The murder of a priest in Bangalore Seminary has gone to world of silence. This too will follow the same. After all Jesus taught us to love and forgive !

  2. If he was born in 1949 he is close to 70. This is not the age when people commit suicide, other than in terminal illness. The reasons for the suicide need to be thoroughly investigated and made public.
    About 40 years ago a young priest in Lucknow dressed himself in his liturgical vestments and than hanged himself over the altar. Again, other than a blame game, no report was ever made public.

  3. Of late, suicide among the clergy is on the increase. It is indeed alarming. It is time for the church/congregation leaders to sit back and do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threat) analysis. They also must do a thorough checking of their “Interpersonal relationships”. The “Peer or Mutual Support System” must be strengthened.

  4. Often when lay people commit suicide they are denied burial by the church. Why these double standards? When Bp John Joseph of Faisalabad, Pakistan, committed suicide publicly he was portrayed as a hero.

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