When priests serve mission dioceses, they often bid family goodbye for years. Fr. Varghese answered God's call to serve where he was needed most, and left 30% Christian Kerala in southwest India, to serve missions along the eastern Bay of Bengal, in an area less than 3% Christian. Visits back home have been few over the ten years since Father's ordination for the mission Diocese of Visakhapatnam, because needs are heavy in the missions and resources scarce.
|Before he left for his visit home, Fr. Varghese |
celebrated his birthday with parishioners at his
Sacred Heart Mission in Kakinada.
He was also thrilled when a chance arose this past September to visit his parents and their home parish two hours drive from Ernakulam. A year prior, Fr. Varghese forego an opportunity to visit home after cyclones hit his missions. He used funds earmarked for his trip, to provide safe tankers of water for his people around Holy Family Church in Yeleswaram and its five mission stations.
|Fr. Varghese's sister Rinty, above, and niece |
Anna Maria, below, feeds him a piece
of birthday cake.
|Fr. Varghese celebrates a birthday Mass at his |
parents' home parish in the state of Kerala.
Nearly 130 priests were there for the burial. "I was deadly tired, but we made it," he wrote. "My legs are swollen, because of standing."
The day after the funeral, Fr. Varghese wrote that the "missionaries are again in action, after a long and tiresome journey. Priests in the Archdiocese were appreciating us for the immediate response to the need of a fellow brother priest."