Dimapur: 29th June 2022:
The first Provincial of the Missionary Province of Dimapur and the Veteran Salesian Priest celebrated his Golden jubilee of Priesthood and Plantinum jubilee of His Religious Profession. He is now 60 years a Priest and 70 as a Salesian. A memorable Jubilee mass was celebrated yesterday at the Catholic Parish, Tinsukia, Assam. The occasion was graced by the Bishop of Dibrugarh, Rt. Rev. Albert Hembrom and many concelebrants. Rev Fr Mathew Pulingathil poses here with concelebrants after the Jubilee Mass on 29 June 2022 in Don Bosco Shrine, Tinsukia.
Fr. Pottukalam Mathew died SDB at 11 pm on14 June 2022, after a prolonged illness and medical treatment in Shristi Hospital, Dibrugarh, Assam. He was 66 years of age. He was a diabetic patient on dialysis for around three years, had some heart problems and post – Covid complications. On 31 May his health deteriorated and he was put on ventilator for some time. He was given absolution, anointing of the sick and blessing of Mary Help of Christians.
Pottukalam Mathew was born at Changanachery, Kerala on 24 may 1956. He leaves behind three brothers and six sisters.
He had his novitiate formation in Yercaud where he professed on 24 May 1976. He studied theology in Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong. He was ordained priest on 27 December 1984.
As a Salesian priest he worked in many places: Asst. Headmaster and Administrator in Don Bosco Dibrugarh; Asst. Parish Priest of Mao (Manipur); Asst. Parish Priest and Vice Rector in Doom Dooma; Warden of Ravalico Hostel in Chingmeirong-Imphal; Asst. Headmaster in Don Bosco School, Chingmeirong-Imphal; Head Master, Counselor and Asst. Parish Priest of Harmutty; Headmaster, Counselor and Asst. Parish Priest of Senapati (Manipur); Headmaster and Asst. Parish Priest of Senapati; Headmaster and Asst. Parish Priest in Margherita; Headmaster, Counselor of Don Bosco Kheti; Asst. Parish Priest and Administrator of Mon; Asst. Headmaster and later Headmaster of Tuli; Administrator and Vice Principal of Don Bosco School Kohima; Director of Youth Centre Kohima; Administrator and Vice Rector of Salesian College Dimapur; Asst. Parish Priest and In-charge of Junior School in Tinsukia; from 2020 till death he was in Don Bosco Dibrugarh for medical treatment and rest.
He had the unique distinction of being good in martial arts (Karate), trained specially under Geeta Raj as a student of theology in Shillong. When asked why, he used to say he wanted to train youth in martial arts. Perhaps he was inspired by John Paul II who used to say that God creates billions of people none of whom are carbon copies of others (cfr. the late Pope’s book The Acting Person). He appreciated and zealously cultivated God’s special gift to him. The Province of Dimapur has lost a precious member in the person of Fr. Pottukalam Mathew, already third Salesian in 2022. May his soul enjoy eternal rest in heaven.
DIMAPUR, 10 JUN: The Don Bosco Society of Dimapur Province, comprising the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Upper Assam, held its 14th triennial convention (provincial chapter) from sixth to ninth June at the Provincial House, Dimapur. It refocused its attention on the deliberations of the 28th General Chapter of the Global Don Bosco Society held in 2020 at Turin in Italy, with the theme, “What kind of Salesians for the Youth of Today?”
In the afternoon of 6th June, Fr. Jose Kuruvachira, Provincial, welcomed all the 75 Chapter members and five observers as well as the invited guests. In his message Bishop Dennis Panipitchai of Miao Diocese (East Arunachal Pradesh) invited the participants to revive Don Bosco’s mission to the poor youth, update formation of Salesians to meet challenges of today’s youth and to share their mission with the lay persons. Sr. AlphonsaKurisingal FMA, (Provincial of the Salesian Sisters of Guwahati Province), Sr. Ancy Varghese MSMHC, (Provincial of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians, Province of Tinsukia), and MsKaisaKaikho, (on behalf of Mr. Joseph Adani, coordinator of Salesian Cooperators), delivered their messages and prayed for the success of the 14th Provincial Chapter.
Fr. Tony Pellissery, Secretary to the Don Bosco National Forum for the Youth at Risk (based in Delhi), delivered the keynote address of the 14th Provincial Chapter. He stressed on three urgent requirements to work for today’s youth: (a) Compassion that urges action, (b) Courage that dares to lead, and (c) Creativity that finds ways and means to help the needy youth. The Salesians,moreover, need holiness and heroism to be relevant in the context of Northeast India, he said.
On 7th June, former Bishop Joseph Aind of Dibrugarh, presided over the Eucharist, and urged the chapter members to acquire the heart of Don Bosco that was beating for the love of poor youth. Mr. WanphaiNongrum of Shillong, who has spent considerable years working for neglected youth in various parts of India, and who is associated with the Don Bosco MSW College at Jorhat, shared his valuable experiences of living with and working for the deprived youth.
On 8th June Bishop Albert Hemrom of Dibrugarh prayed for and invited the chapter members to look back and imitate the hard work Salesian pioneers who introduced Don Bosco’s work in Northeast India in 1922. Moreover, he invited all to combine the hard work of Martha and the piety of Mary (Lk. 10:33-42).
On 9th June, Fr. Karinattu Benny Kurian presented the financial status of the Province of Dimapur. He also urged for solidarity of all Salesian institutions while working for the neediest youth of the region.
In his valedictory speech Fr. Jose Kuruvachira, Provincial, exhorted all chapter members to continue Don Bosco’s workfor youth with greater zeal and enthusiasm while striving to adapt to the fast changing situation of the modern Youth.