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A Salesian Alchemist for the Indian Church!

By Gilbert Choondal
Fr. Paul Puthanangady, SDB
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Bangalore, Nov. 14. How do you define a person who is a writer, orator, liturgist, preacher, teacher, author, ecclesiastical activist, argumentator, organizer and theologian? Such complex personality was St. Paul. Perhaps, Fr. Paul resembles his patron saint in every way! Fr. Paul Puthanangady, SDB, an authority on liturgy, could command, demand and reprimand the Indian Ecclesiastical authorities if anything is related to liturgy. This Liturgical Thunder has now entered into liturgical silence today. We take a look into his personality from his contemporaries who have seen him, heard him and lived with him.  
''He loved the Church and stood always with the Church. He lived his priesthood to the full.' Archbishop Soosai Pakiam, Trivandrum

''He is an Institution, I must say. His services to priests, religious and students would surely have renewed the Church in India.'' Bp Aloysius Paul D Souza, Mangalore

''He has done much for the church in India.'' Sr. Francesca Fsp, Macau

''We all remember him so much as our liturgy professor when we were in Sudeep years back. very vibrant, a spirit filled man of God he was and is now too.'' Sisters from St.Vincent's Provincial House, Bangalore

''He has been a dynamic Salesian contributing to the growth of the Church.'' Fr. Albert Johnson, Salesian Provincial of Tiruchi

''He was a dear friend to many of us. I cherish the memory of his friendship with love.'' Bp Bosco Puthur

''I have a very high  regard for him.  In fact, he has been to Port Blair on two different  occasions: the first time to give us, priests and sisters, an  Animation Seminar, to prepare us and the Church in the Andaman and  Nicobar Islands to celebrate the Great Jubilee-2000.  Fr. Paul  Puthanangady was the National Secretary of that great celebration, and he did everything with lot of zeal and enthusiasm.  After that, Fr.  Paul came here again, this time to give us, priests and sisters, a  seminar on Liturgy. At that time, he also preached the Annual Clergy  Retreat here.  His bubbling enthusiasm to do things for the Lord and  for his Church, was always very impressive.  An amazing person!''  Bp. Alex Dias  (Bishop of Port Blair)

''As he has been in the forefront to make the People of God a Worshiping Community, I pray and believe that his last moments of life bring him the unexplainable joy of seeing the Lord as He is Who was worshiped in signs and symbols, which Fr. Paul was trying to explain so clearly and authoritatively as he used to close his eyes and his fisted hand with the forefinger up would touch his forehead.  We the diocesan community accompany him in our prayer all through his last moments. Priests and Religious in the Diocese remember his broad smile at every foolish question that was asked to him in the liturgical seminar we had in Gopalpur just two years ago. ''Dear Fr. Paul as you enter into the Liturgical Silence,  that extends to the Eternity and that you rightly insisted upon so much  in your life and teaching, I convey the love and gratitude of the Diocesan Community of Berhampur!'' Bp Sarat Chandra Nayak

''We were companions from very young days. Though our ministries differed, I always admired his hard work and loyalty.'' Bp Thomas Menamparambil

''Fr. Paul has been my Secretary for  theology text books and for promotion of small Christian communities in India. We wanted to honour him at our national convention of small Christian communities  in Goa taking place from Nov. 19-22 this  month which we shall now do in his absence. He was with me in Goa last july to organize  this meeting.  I thank God for Fr. Paul  and pray for him. He was a great churchman of post Vatican II''  Bishop Thomas Dabre, Chairman, National Service Team For Small Christian Communities,CBCI

''He was one of the stalwarts of the Church in India for the last many years.'' Bp. John Moolachira, Archbishop of Guwahati

''For most of us here in Bangalore, he was a Spiritual exemplar and a stalwart. He is a very good friend of mine, whom I could approach at any time. In the name of all the Religious of Karnataka  we thank God for his mighty works in the Church.''  Fr. Archibald Gonsalves, ocd President, KRCR

''We will miss a great Liturgist in the Church. We the sisters of Charity had many opportunities to participate in the retreats, seminars on Liturgy, Sacraments in Hyderabad as well as at Bangalore NBCLC, Kristu Jyoti and other places.''  Sr. Ancilla Rodrigues.

''As a man, he was fully human and fully alive, in his very being he gave glory to God. As a priest, he was in love with the Church so much, that he could be both critical and constructive. As a Religious Salesian, he was a model of one who lived and proclaimed Gospel values. We are sure he will have a warm liturgical welcome in the Father's eternal home.'' Fr Cleophas Fernandes, NBCLC Director, Bangalore
''We are very good friends. A good and holy priest will say good bye to us anytime. I have full hope that God will admit his soul to the beautiful vision as soon as he breathes his last. He has had his purgatory already. He will certainly intercede on behalf of all of us, especially his Salesian Confreres.'' Bp Ignatius Pinto
\''He was deeply committed to the renewal of liturgical life in our country. Our Indian Liturgical/Liturgists\' Association (ILA) is the fruit of his far sighted vision and against all odds he kept it alive, guiding it till the last meeting we had in Varanasi. He was full of energy when it came to celebrating the Liturgy and leading everyone to a meaningful participation in all liturgical celebrations. While seeking to promote creativity it was as a faithful son of the Church.

When he had come through the first attack of cancer, he called me up, since I was chairman of the CCBI Liturgy Commission, saying that God has given him life again and he wanted to dedicate the next two years to doing all he could to work for the cause of liturgy in the country. In fact he went to some remote parts of our country to conduct liturgical animation sessions. He said that he attributed his cure to the intercession of St. Alphonsa.

I was privileged to learn great lessons in liturgical matters that would  not have been learned in academic classes. I was therefore happy to collaborate with him in his liturgical institute project at Kristu Jyoti College. It is one of his lasting gifts to us in India and I am sure that as he joins the saints in the eternal worship of God, he will be a powerful intercessor for the growth of this institute.

We will never be able to equal the passion with which he gave himself totally to the cause of the Church in our country.

May God grant him the glory of all the faithful servants and may he enjoy the eternal praise of The Lord among all the saints.\'' Archbishop Dominic Jala, sdb
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