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Father Sebastian Vadakethannikal, a Salesian who cared for children on the street, passed away

By Fr. Babu Varghese SDB
A father who cared for the children on the street
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New Delhi, Apr. 15. Father V. J. Sebastian, Vadakethannikal, SDB (74), a friend of the poor and the youth, passed away on April 14, 2021. While walking at the residence of Don Bosco Vocational Training Centre, Jhansi, around 2.45 p.m., Father Sebastian had a fall and was rushed to St. Jude's Hospital, Jhansi, where he was declared dead. His mortal remains laid to rest on April 15, 2021, in the Diocesan cemetery at Jhansi.
Father Sebastian worked zealously in Arunachal Pradesh, championed the cause of young at-risk (YAR) in Trivandrum, cared for the poor children of Ashalayam in New Delhi and initiated several projects for street children and the less privileged in Chandigarh.  ''We will miss your simple, humble, smiling and ever ready to help presence,'' said Dr Scaria Thuruthiyil, Professor at Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), echoing the sentiments of the Salesian Province of New Delhi.

Fr. Davis Maniparamben, Provincial of New Delhi Province, spoke of Father Sebastian as a committed Salesian to the young at risk (YAR) and has done much work in centres of Ashalayam Delhi, Chandigarh, Jhajjar in Haryana and Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. He was a person who cared for the children on the street. Father Jose Kuruvichira, Provincial of Dimapur and Father Jose Koyickal, Provincial of Bangalore, remembered him with gratitude for his service.

Father Mathew Kalathunkal, a close friend of Father Sebastian, said, ''He was a man of action and enthusiasm. He did much good work, especially for the poor youth.'' Expressing the sorrow, Father Bijoy Parackal, Rector of Don Bosco Jabalpur, said, ''We trust in God's mercy who prepared him sufficiently through the illness in the recent months and retirement from active ministry.''  

''Father Sebastian was the embodiment of Jesus and Don Bosco in his closeness and service to the poor. He did not wait for the poor to come to him but sought them out to serve them,'' said Carver, a close associate of the Salesians.

The Salesian Province of New Delhi prayed for the eternal repose of Father Sebastian and for the solace of all who mourn his demise, especially his family, the Salesians of the Jhansi community and all the confreres of the Salesian Province of New Delhi.
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