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Fr Panampara Abraham (INH) dies in an accident

By Castilino
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Hyderabad, Jun. 11. Fr Panampara Abraham (fondly called P.E.), aged 83 - the last surviving of the first batch of pioneers who initiated the Salesian charism in Andhra - died in an accident enroute to the street children work at Vimukti, Vijayawada.  The incident occured at 2pm on June 11, 2012. The funeral of this veteran Salesian is scheduled for June 13, 2012 at Don Bosco Philosophate, Karunapuram at 3.30 pm.  
Fr Panampara was one of the first three Salesians to set foot in Andhra Pradesh in the year 1964 when the Salesians  were invited to take over St. Michael's technical school and boarding at Guntur.  The other two Salesians, Fr Benjamin Puthota and Br Gabriel Fernandez, who were with him then would surely accord him a royal welcome at heaven's gate.  

Fr P.E. was born on February 8, 1929 in Kerala and entered the Salesian congregation on May 24, 1958.  He was ordained on April 8, 1964.

Some of the highlights of Fr Panampara Abraham's illustrious vocation:
-- the radical call he made after laying down office as the Principal of Sacred Heart, Tirupattur to opt for the missions in Andhra Pradesh.  
-- the bold and passionate move to open up the Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur to the otherwise forbidden in the 1950's. Thanks to that move, thousands of young people, who otherwise would have never seen the portals of an educational institution in the north Arcot region of Tamilnadu were blessed with a quality education.  The fact that several of his past pupils and professors still called on lovingly upon Fr P.E. Is a proof of how deeply he understood and brought to life Don Bosco's charism for the poor and abandoned.  
-- the production of the Telugu hymnal 'Gana Dyana Prathana Manjiri' along with one of the first telugu devotional cassettes of the times, 'Stuthi geetalu' in colloboration with Fr Vincent CSSR. Though he could never sing two words in tune nor put a line in poetic rhythm, he went on the bring out several volumes of the cassette - the tunes and hymns of which are now a household melody, sung in practically every traditional Church.  (Though confreres pulled his leg by dubbing the title of the cassettes as 'sutthi gettalu' - songs of boredom - Fr P.E. never took offense and was clear in stating, ''It was the best mission strategy then.'')
-- That fact would bring us to perhaps something that most of us would love to remember him for, something that gripped him for 29 years since he came to Andhra, something that would be his alter name, something of which no meeting would conclude without being voiced by him - missions and his love for the mission work!  

Besides the inspirational challenges he leaves behind, he will be remembered for his simplicity of life (that red cotton towel he used all the while could very well be preserved as the most efficacious relic!), zeal for work, the passionate interest with which he picked up using his laptop even when advanced in years,  the series of Divine dramas and booklets on catechesis which he kept churning out from his laptop year after year, and last but not the least, his engineering skills!  Though aged and not in the best of his health, he was never perturbed by the idea of death.  In fact it was during the funeral of Br Gabriel Fernandez, that he was fooling other elderly confreres (those younger than him!) that they would be the next!  All that he wished was to die in a mission field doing his beloved mission work.  

His final appointment was at Don Bosco Mission Complex, Mariapuram.  Prior to that he was a pioneer at St Mary's, Kollapur - a school and boarding which was entrusted to us Salesians by the Diocese of Nalgonda.  And the reason he consented to go to that remoter interior place was that it offered a great scope for evangelisation.  His strenuous efforts in the mission stations of P.T. Parru and Ponnur would be his living testament for the one charism that literally possessed him in the last three decades.  One had only to add the word 'mission' or 'evangelisation' to anything and even before the sentence or statement would be complete, he would reply with an enthusiastic 'yes'. Such was his love for Christ and His mission.  

With fond memories - Fr P.E. intercede for us for we know that with the fervour with which you lived your life in total dedication to Christ and his proclamation, the Trinity would itself be your receptionists at heaven's pearly gates.  Go in peace and God bless you!


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