Sunday, August 23, 2015
"The church is supposed to be blessed by the Archbishop, but he is not able to climb the hill, so I became the main celebrant," wrote Fr. Varghese. After the challenging road trip, "Fr. S. (Sridhar) was not feeling well, so we carried him."
Spotting a tiger on a cliff, a bear and chimpanzee in the foliage, and a crocodile near the water" added some excitement to the trip, said Fr. Varghese. He said the workers by the side of the road were harvesting medicinal plants such as pepper and cardamom.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
A migraine sent Fr. Varghese to the hospital a few weeks ago, and a CAT scan helped lead to the diagnosis of Post Trauma Vision Syndrome. Father says that in his youth, he used to "head" the soccer ball "at any height and at any cost." Also, he hit his head some time ago in a scooter accident.
|Playing "soccer" with friends in America|
|Fr. Varghese showed his U.S.|
friends how to make Indian
dishes like yellow rice and
Doctors found that a former head injury had impacted Father's optic nerves. Thank heavens he is now getting needed treatment, which includes special glasses. He was just back at the doctor’s with a fever and infection in his lip, so was on medication for that, and he visited a dentist in Hyderabad to have a wisdom tooth drilled and capped. But, overall, he’s keeping active and happy at his mission: always something new to report. Please keep Fr. Varghese’s health and recovery in prayer.
|Vibrant pictures drawn by Fr. V’s |
schoolchildren reflect life in India.
|Fr. Varghese walked to Chicago's |
Millennial Park after a friend treated
him to the Art Institute through
|Standing on a glass ledge over |
Chicago at the Willis ("Sears")
Tower -- no fear.
|Fr. Varghese (in homespun cloth from India|
because of the rainy day) sang a Telegu song
honoring mothers to his U.S. host's mother.
|Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo.|
Father and his host family mostly ate at home and shared many family meals. Fr. Varghese often did the cooking and taught them to make Tandoori Chicken with just a few ingredients over a campfire when they went to Wisconsin. At Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin, Father spotted a large porcupine munching leaves up in a tree! And Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in LaCrosse, WI, was lovely, with its basilica and prayer path up the wooded hillside to the church.
|With a couple young friends after |
concelebrating Mass at a church
|American friends took Fr. Varghese into |
downtown Chicago on this lovely summer day.
|His host family's sons played in this homeschool band concert.|
|Curious sights at Fullersburg Nature |
Center outside Chicago.
|Fr. Varghese was honored on his jubilee |
day in the Indian way -- fed bites of cake.
|On his May 5th ordination anniversary day, |
Fr. Varghese concelebrated Mass at
"Marytown," the U.S. National Shrine
to St. Maximilian Kolbe in
|In America, Fr. Varghese enjoyed learning |
to make Rosaries out of fisherman's twine.
|At the only Syro Malabar Cathedral|
in North America in Bellwood,
|At Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine|
|Honoring the Blessed Mother with prayer and flowers |
in her month of May.
|Fr. Varghese's family came to Sacred Heart in Kakinada for Rincy & Chinna's wedding. Shown in top photo are Dad Jose, Mom Philomena, niece Anna Marie, Fr. Varghese and his sister Rinty, and her husband, Michael.|
Fr. Varghese stayed mostly healthy this trip (no pneumonia like last year). After his 23-hour flights home and a 10-hour train ride from Bangalore, he plunged back into serving his people.
An unusually bountiful meal shared at a Malayalee home, for the harvest festival of Onam. At right is Fr. Varghese's dinner plate back at Sacred Heart -- a typical meal is heavy on rice and vegetables.
|Traveling in India's heat and humidity, |
Fr. Varghese improvises head protection.
Akhila was thrilled at Father Varghese’s return from America. Father adopted Akhila when she was just 2-years-old and brought to his door. She is faithful, heads her class in studies, and works hard around the mission. Fr. Varghese re-enrolled her at her English medium day school the week he returned from America.
|Akhila helps around the mission.|
Father had First Communions and his sister’s June 17 wedding, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Thomas feasts to celebrate. He also formed new youth and Mariadalam (Legion of Mary) groups.
And like anyone returning from vacation, he had many details to see to back home. During the heat wave, many of his chickens had died and his lovebirds were stolen. His other animals (buffalo, cow, sheep) became skinny, but survived. After Father’s return to India and the start of rains, water-born illnesses flourished. The priest made bedside visits to the sick and was home just a day or so, when he visited fellow missionary Fr. Sridhar, who suffered from heat stroke, stomach issues, malaria and typhoid over the summer. Fr. Varghese visited the priest in his family home, helped him return to his mission, and also brought him to the doctor.
|School in India resumed the week Fr. Varghese flew |
home. In traditional dhoti, he is shown here at Sacred
Heart Mission with the schoolchildren.
|Soon after his return to India, Fr. Varghese's former seminary |
classmates gathered for special days of recollection in Srikakulam.
Fr. Varghese was asked to be celebrant at the first Mass.
|Besides caring for their flocks, good priests also |
support each other like brothers. After returning
to India, Fr. Varghese brought his friend and
former seminary classmate, Fr. Sridhar,
to the doctor.
|Fr. Varghese (2nd from right) and a decade-old |
photo of his seminary class for the Diocese of
|Fr. Sridhar’s mother is |
shown here at her son’s
mission, steaming rice & lentil
“Iddly” for breakfast.
|Area children gather to help Fr. Varghese |
around the mission. Here, they're preparing
feed for his animals.
Fr. Varghese saved the life of his lamb Drowsy by rushing her to emergency care after a dog bit her through to the bone, and on another day, one of his turkeys gave birth to healthy chicks. The Feast of the Assumption on August 15, marked also India's Independence Day and Akhila's birthday. Fr. Varghese celebrated a special 7 AM Mass, and presided over flag raising ceremonies at Sacred Heart Mission and Akhila's school. Akhila received a new white dress and shoes, and distributed gifts of little books, a piece of hard candy and a slice of cake to area slum children.
Little touches beautify Fr.’s mission; now that the worst of the heat is past, Fr. V's animals are healthier; lizards are common in mission rooms; rains flood the grounds; Akhila plays with Drowsy the sheep and Alpha the dog; new turkey chicks; a gift of crabs from a fisherman.