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Fr. Kuthur Vellattukara Chacko SDB laid to rest

By Fr. Bivan Mukhim
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Guwahati, Apr. 9. Fr. Kuthur Vellattukara Chacko of the Salesian Province of Guwahati who passed away at 7:15 pm on Easter Sunday, 5 April, was laid to rest in the Catholic Cemetery at Uzanbazar, Guwahati on 7th April.
The funeral Mass was presided over by Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati and concelebrated by more than hundred priests.  In his sermon the Archbishop expressed deepest words of condolence to the Provincial and the confreres of Guwahati province at the untimely death of Fr. Chacko. He said that the Diocese of Guwahati was indebted to Fr. Chacko for taking care of the seminarians when he was the Rector of St. Jerome Minor Seminary, Sonaighuli. He  highlighted the fact that Fr. Chacko was a priest ''who gave the first priority to God, having his eyes fixed on Jesus.''

Fr. VM Thomas, the Provincial, in his condolence message said that  ''Fr. Chacko was a frontline missionary who had worked in many missions of the province. He was a linguist, with a good knowledge of Assamese, Hindi and Boro. He was enthusiastic, dynamic and friendly. He loved the Church and its liturgy. In fact, he always organised well the liturgical celebrations, forming and training personally the altar boys. He used to personally train them for proclaiming well the Word of God during liturgical celebrations.''

Fr. Provincial went on to say, ''In his passing away on Easter Sunday, we believe that he has risen with Christ to a new life, the Eternal Life, that the Lord has promised to his faithful servants.''

Fr. George Maliekal, Provincial of the Salesian Province of Silchar, in his message said that, 'in Fr. Chacko the congregation has won a great triumph.'' He appreciated the way in which Fr. Chacko was able to embrace all people of all walks of life. He described him as a generous and simple person and his simplicity and generosity won him many friends. He pointed out to the magnanimous way Fr Chacko endured pain and suffering while embracing the sufferings of Christ in his own sufferings.

Fr. CT Varghese who represented the Provincial of Dimapur found in Fr. Chacko a person with good qualities of heart and mind. ''Fr. Chacko was a man for the people. He has an image of a Good Shepherd, a true Shepherd who knows his people whether in Bengtol, Barpeta or Tangla missions,'' Fr. Varghese said. He portrayed him as a person who was loved by all. Even though he suffered much because of his partial blindness, yet he left everything to God.

Fr. Joy Vellattukara, the first cousin of Fr. Chacko on behalf of the family members thanked the people who helped him in his last days. He conveyed the greetings of everyone in his family and said that the Vellattukara family had a special love towards him.

On behalf of his companions, Fr. Philip Barjo, Rector of Don Bosco Technical School, Shillong expressed grief and surprise at his sudden demise. He fondly remembered his old days when they were together in the aspirantate of Savio Juniorate, the novitiate at Sunnyside, the Philosophate at Sonada and the theology days at Sacred Heart Th. College, Shillong. Fr. Barjo described him as a true friend, loving and affectionate. ''Fr. Chacko was very approachable, affectionate and I always could count on him for any help,'' he said.

Others who spoke were Fr. Varghese, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Guwahati on behalf of the clergy of the diocese and Fr. Sebastian Edathumparampil, the Rector of Don Bosco Tangla, the community where Fr. Chacko spend the last days of his life.

Fr. Kuthur Vellattukara Chacko, SDB was born on 28 June, 1956 at Enamakkal, Trichur, Kerala. He made his first profession at Sunnyside, Shillong, on 24 May 1976, and was ordained priest on 27 December 1984.

After his ordination, his first assignment was as the Assistant Parish Priest of Bengtol, a responsibility that he carried out for the next seven years, shouldering the challenging responsibility of managing the parish from 1989 to 1992 in the absence of Fr. Zubizaretta. He was then appointed as the Assistant Headmaster of Don Bosco School, Guwahati, from August 1992 to January 1994. He was then transferred to Boko as the person in charge of the Aspirants from January1994 to February1996. We see him then at Barpeta Road for about a year as Assistant Parish Priest.

In March 1997, he was transferred to Tangla as Rector and parish priest, a task that he carried out till January 2001. It was the turn of Barpeta to have Fr. Chacko once again, but this time as its Rector and parish priest from January 2001 to May 2003. At the end of May 2003, he was appointed for a three year term as the Rector of the diocesan  St. Jerome's Seminary, Sonaighuli. On completion of this responsibility, he was appointed as the director of Bosco Niketan, Tezpur from April 2006 to May 2009.

High diabetes forced his early retirement from active ministry, and so he was transferred to Don Bosco, Maligaon, as confessor from May to August 2009. However, a regular house like Maligaon could not contain the pastoral enthusiasm of Fr. Chacko who was by now practically blind. He then requested to be transferred to Tangla parish which he had come to love so well. In fact, he was officially appointed as the confessor and Liturgical Animator of Tangla parish and community towards the end of August 2009. He also looked after the management of the kitchen and dining room of the Salesians. He served and helped out in the parish till the Lord called him to Himself on Easter Sunday.


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