Bangalore Archdiocese bids tearful adieu to Fr K J Thomas

Bangalore Archdiocese bids tearful adieu to Fr K J Thomas
From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore
Bangalore, Apr 2:
The entire Archdiocese of Bangalore with a large number of diocesan clergy and religious priests and scores of sisters led by the Archbishop of Bangalore Dr Bernard Moras, who was joined by the prelates of Ootacamund Diocese Amal Raj, Dharmapuri Diocese Lawrence Pais, Salem Diocese Singarayar and Mysore Diocese Thomas Vazhapilli, offered a solemn requiem mass for the repose of the soul of Fr K J Thomas, Rector of St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary, who was brutally bludgeoned to death by unknown killers, in the small hours of Monday.

The chapel of St Peter’s Seminary, where the soft-spoken and mild-mannered gentlemanly formator had trained thousands of seminarians for priesthood during his long association as teacher, professor, theologian, philosopher, friend and guide as Rector for the second term and earlier as theology professor, was jamp-packed with religious priests, nuns and laity both inside and outside – some of them shamelessly sobbing while others quietly wiping their eyes with kerchiefs -- for the requiem mass which was scheduled at 7.30 am on Tuesday, was a touching sight to behold.

As the cortege carrying the body of the 62-year-old priest, who had innumerable friends both within the Catholic Church and outside was brought in a van from the St John’s Medical College and Hospital at Koramangala, where it was shifted for embalming after post-mortem at the nearby M S Ramaiah Hospital, thousands of teary people gathered at the portico of the Seminary for a last glimpse of the deceased priest.

You Taught us to be Human, Now a Martyr too!
It was indeed a struggle to carry the flower-decked deceased body inside the chapel of the Seminary, where Fr KJ Thomas or simply Fr KJ as he is known by all and sundry must have been the main celebrant on innumerable occasions. The simple and straight message that was painted on a plain white paper and kept near the mortal head of Fr KJ facing the altar was touching: ''Oh Dear Father, we miss you forever. You taught us everytime, How to be Human; Finally, How to be a Martyr too.”

When the gathered crowd of the faithful had found themselves seating place or standing elbow-room, the Archbishop of Bangalore Dr Bernard Moras, delivered a touching and heart-warming eulogy to Fr KJ. The Archbishop first read out the condolence messages that he had received from Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio to India by Archbishop Salavatore Pennacchio, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, President of CBCI and CCBI and Archbishop of Mumbai, Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Mar George Cardinal Alencherry, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly Syro-Malabar Church and Telesphore Cardinal Placidus Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi.

Did Not Believe Fr KJ Is Dead: Archbishop Moras
''At this precious time of the Year as we start the Easter Octave, this is not an occasion that I wished to meet you here in St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary,”  began the Archbishop Dr Moras, saying: ''With a heavy heart, deep shock and profound sorrow, I wish to express my sincerest sentiments of condolences and sympathies: First of all to all the seminarians of the Seminary, staff and domestic helpers, beloved family members, board member bishops, the priests, religious and people of Ooty diocese.”

''When I heard the shocking news yesterday (Monday April 1) morning around 7.30 am, I could not believe my ears and did not want it to be true as well because of the gruesome and inhuman way in which the murder has taken place,”  he said.

An Erudite Scholar
Dr Moras mentioned that Fr Thomas Kochupuryil was born on May 13, 1951 at Ettumanoor, near Kottayam, Kerala. After his high school studies in his native place, he joined the Diocese of Ooty as a minor seminarian due to the fraternal and vocational influence of his uncle, who is a priest still alive. He did his major seminary studies and had formation at St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary/Institute in Bangalore. He was a studious and illustrious student as we hear from his professors, who vouch for it. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Ooty on May 14, 1980. Subsequently, he completed his Master’s Degree in History from Mysore University and another Master’s degree in Political Science from Madras University. Later, he completed his M.Ed. from Madura Kamaraj University. He served the Ooty Diocese for about 8 years as Assistant Parish Priest and school principal.

Having recognized the caliber, character, capacity and piety of Fr Thomas, the Board of St Peter’s Seminary selected and appointed him as a staff, formator and lecturer starting with the year 1988. He was sent for higher studies in Rome in Systematic Theology and came with a Doctorate with flying colours in 1983 from Urbaniana University.

The Board of Bishops, who had observed his simplicity, honesty, hard work, dedication and the spirit of austerity, appointed Fr KJ as Procurator for two terms of five years from 1994. Concurrently, he also held the office of the Department of Systematic Theology for many years with distinction. He was installed as the President of the St Peter’s Pontifical Institute in 2009 and renominated to the same post in 2009 and named as the Rector of St Peter’s Pontifical Major Seminary. He has served the seminary with ''utmost care, devotion and dedication.”

''As an erudite and enlightened professor, he has taught theology to the students but also published several theological articles and books.  To this date, as on record, he has always been a kind father to whomever he came across, a faithful, systematic theologian, an able financial administrator, a friend to all and enemy to none.  He was a guide, philosopher to all those who sought his direction and counseling,” the Archbishop said.

Indelible Mark in Annals of Seminary
''Fr KJ Thomas, we have loved your presence, enjoyed your conversations and it is a pleasure to listen to your appropriate stories and remarkable sense of humour with wit and wisdom, serious and sincerity,” Dr Moras said with a voice choking with emotion, adding: ''The hallmark of your personality will make an indelible mark in the annals of St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary and Institute. You had an indomitable spirit for hard work, study, prayer and service. We will miss you but ever love you. May your Soul Rest in Peace.”

Later, Archbishop Dr Moras read out select messages from near and dear ones of Fr KJ Thomas, especially from his nephew Jaison from Tampa, Florida, USA, Fr Chris Vimalraj, Rome, Irudayaselvam, Taipei, Taiwan, Sr Mary Jacob, Bagalkot, Fr Siby, Shillong, Dr Mohan Prabhu, Ottawa, Canada and Fr Franklin D’Souza, CBCI Office for Youth, ICYM, New Delhi.

A Role Model for Budding Priests
Dharmapuri Diocese Bishop Lawrence Pais said Fr KJ was a simple soul and a soft-spoken person who had never hurt anyone in his life. It is ironical that he met with a tragic end, who least deserved it. He was a very humble and compassionate priest and had inspired hundreds of seminarians as a role model.

''Fr KJ Thomas, the youngest child among five children including three boys and two sisters, was a loving person and died a martyr’s death in the service of the church. His affable manners, soft and mild personality filled with love, sincerity, dedication and honesty were rare qualities of an extra-ordinary human being. He had provided spiritual guidance and sustenance of many seminarians,” described the Ootacamund Bishop Amal Raj.

BJP, Congress MLAs Among Leaders Paying Homage
The other Bishops, Vicar Generals of Bangalore and Dharmapuri and Ootacamund Dioceses as well as the President of St Peter’s Institute Dr Rayappan were among the many speakers, who paid homage to Fr KJ Thomas.

The hearse containing the mortal body of Fr KJ Thomas was taken in an air-conditioned bus to Kottayam diocese around 11 am after all priests, sisters, lay people as well as political leaders, including Malleswaram BJP MLA Dr Ashwathanarayan, Mahalaxipuram Congress MLA N L Narendra Babu and local Congress Corporators and leaders of various Catholic and Christian organizations including T J Abraham, a prominent Christian lay leader, paid their tributes to the deceased priest.

Congress MLA K J George and Anglo-Indian ex-MLA Ivan Nigli, who had arrived at St Peter’s Seminary on Monday morning soon after hearing news of Fr KJ’s murder, had stayed at the seminary and held consultations with senior police officials and Archbishop Dr Bernard Moras till the body of Fr KJ was shifted to M S Ramaiah Hospital in the afternoon for post-mortem.





Comment on this article

  • Thomas Kanat msfs, Vazhoor/Banglaore

    Thu, Apr 11 2013

    It was so sad and tearful. But why no protest...? Why no pressure from the religious and laity to get the justice done...? Why no one is following up? It seems the cassock with which the blood is wiped is not his cassock as it is a short one! If that is the case it is a vital clue!

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  • Joe Lazar, Bangalore

    Mon, Apr 8 2013

    Father KJ , I/We'll continue to pray for your soul and your killers that they may be transformed (in body , mind and spirit)by the precious blood and mercy of Christ and in your martyrdom. 9 days have gone passed since the day of the murder and it is quite appaling that there is absolutely no lead to this murder. We the faithful urge the City Police Commisssioner to deploy enough troops and get down to the truth at the earliest and not bury it amongst the many untraced mysterious muders in the city. Looking at the various reports published so far and including Daiji , looks like ,we cannot ignore the hands of insiders in this henious murder of Fr.KJ. We as the faithful strongly condemn this Barbarious Act which has brought disgrace to this Archdiocease and may Fr.KJ's Martyrdom set right things in this Archdiocease otherwise , this could lead to further degenration. We also prayerfully urge the Arch Bishop to exert pressure on the Police machinary to nab the Culprits and bring them to the books. Let our Great Lord give all of us a heart which will beat ever more stronger to stand up to the attrocities such as these so that our religious can work fearless in the Vineyard of God.

    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Fr. B. Francis Xavier msfs, Kanangadu

    Fri, Apr 5 2013

    With painful tears and shock I learned about departure. May the Risen Lord give you a share of His glory. A great lose to the church and the society.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • sr Annie Nedungattu f m m, Ettumanoor/Rome

    Thu, Apr 4 2013

    Fr.Thomas now u r with our RISEN LORD

    DisAgree [1] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • R. Jerry , Coimbatore

    Thu, Apr 4 2013

    It is a shocking news to hear that Rev. Fr. KJ has been done to death.Even if the culprits are brought to book, I think the Late. Fr. KJ will forgive them. Truly he exhibited Christ in action during his sojourn on this earth. May the Almighty console and comfort the bereaved ones.

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  • dolores dcosta, Auckland/NZ

    Thu, Apr 4 2013

    dear Fr
    You were such a kind, loving,caring gentle ,considerate priest .Everybody was your priority , you felt pain for the suffering .I had the personal experience of staying at your place when my husband was ill. you showed concern &care for him .you always had a lovely smile on your face .&the chatter in the dining room still rings in my ear . may your soul rest in peace
    you are a MARTYR your life was snatched away on EASTER Sunday may the RISEN LORD carry you away safely in HIS arms .May HE help us find the culprits who took you away dearest father KJTRIP YOUR Family must be devastated OUR SYMPATHIES to them all

    DisAgree [1] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Francis, Abu Dhabi

    Thu, Apr 4 2013

    May the soul of Fr. Thomas Rest In Peace, and sure culprits will sucide soon or they will be funished with death sentence.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Fr. James raphel, Canada

    Thu, Apr 4 2013

    It was with immense shock that read the brutal and horrendous murder of Fr.K.J, a good friend of the Claretians. It is my earnest prayer and wish that the black hands behind this brutality should be brought to justice. My heartfelt condolences to the family members of Fr. KJ, all the seminarians and staff of St. Peter's Seminary and to the diocese of Otty. May the gentle soul of Fr. KJ rest in peace.

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  • Fr. Arputhasamy, Madurai,

    Thu, Apr 4 2013

    Dear loving Father KJ,
    It was extremely painful to hear your departure, in this way. We miss you. We love you so much. your presence taught to us to be human your end has taught us to be martyrs. Lord give us the courage to accept your will.
    We pray may your soul rest in peace-Amen.

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  • philip karisserickal, houston,texas USA

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    It is very sad that Fr. K J thomas is no more with us .Let us pray for his soul.I remember the day he visited my family in montreal, canada

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  • Fr.Steevan D'Sa, Hosadurga/ Chitradurga

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    It is impossible to believe that Fr.K.J.Thomas is no more.He has set an example, how be a martyr for Christ! He lived for others and not for profit. Is it lawful to kill the innocent? He did no harm but still he is murdered! It happened to him only because he was only for Christ and to the least. Father K.J. you used to cite the gospel when you taught us " don't be afraid to those who kill the body because they cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid for the ONE who kills the soul" You were faithful to the one who created you and called so He has crowned you with HIS glory and the Resurrection. Kindly forgive them, they did not understand their act. Pray for their real conversion. May your soul rest in peace. Pray for all of us here on earth so that we too are faithful to the LORD who has called us and be committed to the mission which he has entrusted to us .

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  • Henry J. Pinto, Karkala/Bangalore/USA

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    It is very sad to know that Fr.KJ is not more. He was embodiment of simplicity . During Easter week I would say that he lived like Jesus for others and died a Martyr for Jesus. What an exemplary priest!! who trained students for priesthood. His students will try to emulate his spirit. Dear Fr.KJ Please pray for those assailants and for us.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse


    Wed, Apr 3 2013


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  • Regi John, Kottayam

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    It is a great lose for the church in India as well as for humanity. A person who lived for others is is killed so bruttily. Where is our integrity .please arrest the culprits whoever they are.

    DisAgree Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Grace, Mangalore

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    Dear Fr Thomas
    we know u r glorified in the light of Christ&you have sent absolution to your muderers.Please pray for Karnataka&India where moral values are decaying due to human greed.Heartfelt consolations to the bereaved family members.

    DisAgree Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Fr. Veeresh V. Moras, Madanthyar/Shimoga

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    Dear Fr. KJ, We have no words to express our feelings... You have taught us how to be exemplary both in living and in death... May your soul rest in peace

    DisAgree [2] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • nirmal, mangalore

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    Tell you the fact, I was trying to write and say something about this incident,but I was not able to do. Whole life he has scrificed in the sevice of the Lord to prepare His ways.He has didicated his precious time moulding the young leaders to guide the flock to the to His eternal Divinity.He was slain like a inocent lamb.Whoever committed this henious crime or one who he is behind screen might have forgotten anger of the Lord.I would only say have mercy on those people and seek pardon and repent to avoid from the curse which waiting for them. May Fr. K.J.Josephe's Soul be rest in Peace.
    I only feel how pain and sorrow the sister one who came to visit him might have undergone.Let the Lord God strengthen every one to over come from this pain and May God Bless all.

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  • Bro.christopher.A.P, Panakahalli

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    Oh Resurrected soul your blood will purify the wicked and surely your forgiveness will change the wicked creatures who had murdered you without a human soul.Our hearts are heavy with pain and sad.Lord Jesus!you made your beloved victory over death and joined him in the company of Martyr.Comfort the dear and near and let the Soul be Blessed.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Fr. Richard Pais, Chitradurga

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    we, those who know Fr. K.J. have only tearful sentiments to express, nothing more. Dear Father's simple living and transparency in dealings are contributions to us his students. The talk about this brutal crime is unchristian. may his souls rest in peace

    DisAgree [1] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Charles Antony, Bangalore

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    May the soul of Fr. Thomas rest in Peace. Fr. Thomas, a great philosopher, theologian, and a wonderful priest, a role model indeed for all seminarians and priests, a very simple and humble person, so humane, with a great sense of humour is no more with us, but is in our hearts and minds. A appeal to the police department that search for the culprits be made soon, and finding them, death sentence be uted. Such an incident is very new in the Gardern city, its shoking especially to the christian community.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sr. Clara D'Souza, Jharsuguda

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    It is a great lose for the church in India. A person who lived for others is no more. he will remain in our hearts as a noble person who taught us to be human to be holy. Dear Father we miss you.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mathew Kodappanamkunnel, Bangalore

    Wed, Apr 3 2013

    It was a shocking news for me. I can't believe that he was killed. He was such a good person. This is shame for our community. How could they kill a priest who dedicated his whole life for the betterment of the humanity? I am also a candidate for priesthood. whatever is the motive behind it, it is so bad. He lived what he preached. He led a life according to the teachings of Christ. He is a role model for me too. O,People, You killed a KJ Thomas, but a lot of KJ Thomas will born on earth to die for Jesus.
    May the Soul Rest in Peace.....!

    DisAgree [2] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse


    Wed, Apr 3 2013


    DisAgree [1] Agree [33] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mons Kurian, Geramny

    Tue, Apr 2 2013

    It is realy schoking.He was a priest who loved all and taught all of us how to love others. His life is a source of inspiration for all of us to commit our lives as of Martyers. May his soul rest in peace.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Fr Franklin Dsouza, CBCI Office for Youth,ICYM -New Delhi

    Tue, Apr 2 2013

    It is unbelievable that Fr. K.J. Thomas is no more.I am filled with sorrow ever since i heard the news. May God give us courage to accept this in FAITH. They kill your body & not the soul. Dear Staff, Students of St. Peter's Pontifical Seminary, Fr. K. J died a Martyrs death. Let his faith and love for the Church inspire us. I assure my prayers. I know life without his presence how difficult it is there for all of you. "DO NOT BE AFRAID, I AM WITH YOU" Isiah 41:10 be our strength. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

  • KRPrabhu, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Tue, Apr 2 2013

    There are no words to describe the sorrow of sad demise of Rev.Fr.K J.Thomas that too in the hands of anti social/unscrupulous hands at the age of 65 yrs.A person who worked for others,never worked for profits,wished only good to others has met the end this way is realy so sorrowful.Indeed a great loss not only to Christrian fraternity but to enrire peace loving citizen .We never heard of such a heinous crime in the heart of Bangalore.Though the true cause of death is not known till now nothing could be ruled out and only PMR is to waited.Hope the police have seized of the matter and crack the case at the earliest.Bangalore police are the best and full hope on Jyothi Prakash Mirgi Police Commissioner as is a very able police officer and also Yeshwanthpur police people.The issue has thrown a new challenge to Christian fraternity in Bangalore on security matters of Priests residing inside Churches and this needs to be addressed urgently by Archdiocese.
    May the sould RIP.....

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Title : Bangalore Archdiocese bids tearful adieu to Fr K J Thomas


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