Severe flood damage to St Francis Xavier Parish presbytery and church in North Kuthiathode. Photos: Supplied
In August last year, severe floods, caused by unusually high rainfall during the monsoon season, drastically affected the south Indian state of Kerala. It was the worst flood there in nearly a century. Over 483 people died and about a million people were evacuated. According to the Kerala government, a sixth of Kerala’s population has been directly affected.
In October 2018, Fr Manoj received a personal letter for help from Fr Kurian Kattakayam, parish priest of St Francis Xavier Church, North Kuthiathode. Fr Kurian described how the deluge had demolished the presbytery building killing six parishioners. Many parishioners’ homes were destroyed and income sources were ruined including agriculture, livestock, shops and small home-based industries. Fr Kurian’s parish was about to celebrate its 200th year jubilee. Instead, the church is closed, the presbytery has collapsed, there are abandoned school buildings, damaged houses and empty shops. The parish was unable to carry out its own recovery and needed outside help.
St Brigid’s parish community in Feilding were encouraged to make donations to the State Disaster Relief Fund. This social justice initiative has special significance for St Brigid’s parish priest Fr Manoj Mathew and parish administrator Fr Robin Kurian. They are both Rosminian missionaries from Kerala and have family and friends in the area affected.
Fr Manoj recommended that the parish community support the affected parish in North Kuthiathode. Through a combined effort from St Brigid’s parish groups including the fundraising committee, a cake stall, the local Conference of Vinnies, and donations from several parishioners, nearly $2000 has been raised.
Our thoughts and prayers in Feilding go out to the community of St Francis Xavier Parish as we work to provide ongoing support.
Tom Roche is secretary, St Brigid’s Parish Community.
Published in WelCom Feb 2019