Friday, December 07, 2012

On the CMIs Departed...

There are 725 members in the CMI Necrology. Out of these, three departed before the canonical establishment of the congregation. Malpan Thomas Palackal, who died in 1841, is the first. He was one of the founders of the CMI congregation. But he never lived in Mannanam Monastery as a member. He was buried in his own parish church, Pallipuram. Malpan Thomas Porukara, a co-founder of the congregation lived many years in Mannanam, died 15 years after the founding of the monastery at Mannanam. He was the first one to be buried at Mannanam. Fr Kunchacko Puthenpurackal, one of the zealous pioneering priests, came to Mannanam in 1842 and lived there thereafter, died in 1853, just two years before the canonical establishment of the congregation. Therefore, in the strict sense, the number of members of the congregation who are dead is 722. This includes 5 bishops, 566 priests, a permanent deacon, 118 brothers, 22 scholastics and 10 novices.

The first one to die after the canonical establishment was Fr Jacob Valyara, who died 16 days after taking the vows. Among the 11 priests who had their vows, six died within 18 years, one celebrated silver jubilee, one celebrated ruby jubilee and two celebrated golden jubilee of the religious profession.
In the 19th century 40 people departed. In the 20th century, 508 members passed away and in the present century, in just 13 years, 174 of the CMI brethren left for their eternal reward. 183 of the elders departed before the division of the congregation into provinces in 1953. In the first hundred years of the congregation, 185 of the CMI members passed away. Members died, had age from 18 to 102. Fr Ananias Punnoor who lived for 102 years was the oldest member of the congregation.The average age of the departed ones is 71. The median age is 73 and among all ages, the maximum number of people (26) passed away at 76.

506 of the departed, that is 70%, are buried in 16 monasteries.  Mannanam leads the table with 77 tombs, about 11%, followed by Chethipuzha 60, Elthuruth 45, Ampazhakkad 39, Vazhakulam 38, Pulinkunnu 29 and Koonammavu 27, of which except Chethipuazha, all other monasteries were founded by Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara. One of the priests is buried in Peru. Some are buried in places like Madras, Mangalore, Pune, Mananthavady, Varapuzha and Pallipuram where CMIs are not present.

As per the primary records and descriptions of the contemporaries, several of the members led virtuous life. Among whom, only Kuriakose Elias Chavara is raised to the veneration of the Universal Church as a ‘blessed.’ 

By the death of Fr Alexander Kattakkayam (Senior) on October 7, 1909, the first phase of the congregation came to an end. When Fr Gregory Neerackal died on February 22, 1983, all the members who have lived with any one of the first 11 fathers, were probably no more. Hence, period 1909-1983 could be called as the second phase. CMIs are living in the third phase of the congregation. None of the CMIs who are living now, have experienced the sharing from any one of the founding fathers. But they carry forward a great legacy.