Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy

A country priest comes to Kakinada, finding joy with his people in Christ's Sacred Heart.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Advent Deeparadhana -- worshipping Christ "with lamps"

It's cold season in India, but faithful at Sacred Heart Church are continuing their nine-day tradition in these days leading up to Christmas, gathering pre-dawn to worship Christ and to bring this worship to their streets. Asked why people gathered so early and concluded Advent in this disciplined way, Fr. Varghese reminded us that shepherds were awake, keeping watch over their flocks, when angels came to tell of Christ's coming. It's a beautiful expression of devotion, for people to wake early, wait and watch for Christ, said the priest. They declare their love of the Christ Child by processing prayerfully through their streets. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Jesus, Light for All Souls

The Eucharist is on the altar exposed for Eucharistic Adoration. Jesus is
present here Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity.
Clay oil lamps filled compound and hall at Sacred Heart Mission in Kakinada, as faithful gathered to pray for the souls of their departed beloved Friday evening, November 4. In this special month in the Church to remember the Poor Souls in Purgatory, people had already joined pastor Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy for a Mass in the cemetery for All Souls Day, November 2. The priest is still recovering from post-monsoon Malaria that sent him to the hospital for six days. Despite his illness, Father has kept a full schedule since returning from the hospital and a week-long diocesan priest retreat in his Diocese of Visakhapatnam. 

On Friday, he and a few helpers arranged hundreds of lamps, fastening many in peeled plantain trunks, a traditional custom in India. The effect was stunning, as faithful gathered Friday night for Eucharistic adoration. The people begged Jesus, the Light of the World, to have mercy on them and on the Poor Souls, who in turn, are powerful intercessors for their loved ones on earth. 
May the Poor Souls in Purgatory Pray for Us! Jesus, Light of the World, Have Mercy on Us!

Little clay oil lamps are fastened into peeled plantain trunks.
Jesus is Light of the World.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November is for Souls

Anyone gathering with Fr. Varghese and Sacred Heart faithful in their Kakinada cemetery November 2nd, might have seen in vibrant color this reality -- faith makes death beautiful, and that those who go before us to God, in faith, are blessed. 

Families cleaned and decorated loved ones' graves and prayed for and with the souls of the faithful departed. Fr. Varghese is still recovering from Malaria, but blessed each grave and prayed with the people, offering a special outdoor Mass. He always takes special care on the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls, to explain Catholic teachings on death and the afterlife. The Poor Souls in Purgatory need our prayers, and in their gratitude, are powerful intercessors for those on Earth. In a unique way, these days of celebrating the whole Community of Faith, in Heaven, Purgatory and on Earth, are marked with solemnity, remembrance and joy.


To bury the dead is a Corporal Work of Mercy, and to pray for the living and the dead is a Spiritual Work of Mercy. May we live November, the month in honor of the Poor Souls of Purgatory, prayerfully and well. Dear Poor Souls in Purgatory, Pray for Us! All Saints in Heaven, hear our prayers.+++


Monday, September 26, 2016

Saving Lives in Monsoon Season

"We saved a girl," Fr. Varghese texted on September 24, as monsoon floodwaters peaked. He took this photo (right) in rural Kakinada before the water rose to its highest level.

He described how waters swept through just such a hut while he was out doing rescue relief for locals. He saw a little baby sweep out with the current, from where her mother had left her peacefully napping. Going into deep water after the girl, Father held her above his head and brought her to safety. It was a "special day" for him, Father later skyped to a friend. A day never to forget, when he saved a life.

By September 23, people were "really suffering because of the flood," said Fr. Varghese. In a letter to a friend, he wrote: "For the present crisis in our mission, the great issue is food, even I don't have provisions to eat...the flood is increasing."

People were losing homes and going into public shelters, wrote the priest. He himself set up tents for Mala people who were from another part of India, didn't speak the local language and were displaced from their homes.

"Three children washed away in the flood, animals things, everything, gone."

Again on September 25, Fr. Varghese texted: " is raining. I am very much needed in a flood hit area...we rarely get network. We have rehabilitated another 20 families who lost their homes."

  Friends helped Fr. Varghese distribute sacks of rice and cabbages to the hungry in five locations. Whenever floods come, he helps with evacuation efforts, food distribution, and offers the best support of all -- spiritual uplift though home visiting, daily Masses and the Sacraments.

Fr. Varghese's Honda Hero bike was in a repair shop when floods hit, so a kind-hearted parishioner lent Fr. V. his motorbike to use to reach his people in the worst flood-stricken areas.
Fr. Jayaraj (left) joins Fr. Varghese (right) in giving food to an elder to bring to his people.