By Joshy Jacob Vazhappilly
Hyderabad, August 16, 2019: Father Thomas Pandippilly, a member of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), martyred for Christ 11 years ago, is remembered for his commitment to mission.
Born in Kerala, Thomas joined the CMIs in 1987 and was ordained a priest in 2002. He was a zealous missionary working in the mission fields where Christianity is least heard of.
Father Pandippilly was the priest-in charge of the school and the Eucharistic community at Yellareddy, near Hyderabad, capital of the undivided Andhra Pradesh state.
He was murdered by some antisocial elements being influenced/hired by Hindu fanatic groups and political outfits. The gruesome incident took place in the midnight between 15 and 16 August 2008.
He had been to a convent of religious nuns, for celebrating Mass for them on the feast of Assumption and the Indian Independence Day.
The convent was nearly 30 km away from the priest’s residence; the Mass was in the late evening. He was returning home from the convent on a motor bike, it was raining torrential and the road was winding though forest area.
A few unidentified people stopped him on the way; there were signs of struggle and fight as many wounds could be seen on his body. His body seemed to be dragged for quite a distance as it was found on the opposite side of the road from where the bike was lying. Blood was seen on the road for a good length. He was just 36 at the time of death.
A young martyr for Christ!
Reports of various types of blessings received by people who invoke his intercession are pouring in ever since his martyrdom. The school children at Yellareddy regularly visit his place and offer flowers at his memorial.
The latest and the strongest testimony is from Houston, Texas, where a man is reported to be healed of a wound caused during a surgery some years back and which he was nursing all this while.
Father Pandippilly and I belong to the same province- ‘CMI Mar Thoma Mission Province, Chanda’. The mission was started in 1962 as the first CMI mission territory outside Kerala, and stretches in a vast region from Hyderabad in the South to Nagpur in the Central-Northern part of India.
CMI is the first indigenous religious congregation of the Catholic Church in India, founded by St. Cyriac Elias Chavara in 1831. It is the largest clerical religious congregation of Pontifical right in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. The congregation has over 3,000 members with 10 bishops, nearly 2,000 priests, 19 lay brothers and 1,200 scholastics.
CMI missionaries are rendering their pastoral services to the churches in Europe, US, Latin America, Africa, Australia and the Philippines in great numbers apart from setting up Ad Gentes missions (mission to the nations) in various parts of India.