Monday, 12 June 2017

Remembering Fr Panampara

Yesterday was the fifth death anniversary of Fr Panampara Abraham.
that's him with his worn out multi-purpose towel!
I'd known him only as a fervent missionary who was often fooled by confreres for being a 'hose-pipe missionary'... the sort who believes in merely baptising everyone whom he comes across within the first day of meeting the person and not bothering about them later on!

However, I'm also aware of what he was before he consciously opted to be part of Hyderabad Province and this radical evangelization mode.  He was the one who threw open the doors of Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, the then largest institute of higher education in Salesian India, to the poor and the dalits.  It was Fr Panampara who took that bold and radical step of making higher education possible and feasible for the dalits.  Many of those who were the initial beneficiaries of this decision of his, were in touch with him even till the end of his days (read this news bit on donboscoindia).  They attributed their present well being in society to his generous and visionary personality.  He always had a standing and open invitation to the past pupils meet.  All his trips were sponsored and he always returned with gifts... one of which was a laptop, which I was helping him learn to use (that was when I was in the Provincial house in 2008)!!

Of course, later on in years, he totally gave up the education field he was initially involved in and was a fervent advocate of direct evangelisation.  He would not spare any occasion or anyone, when it came to 'preaching Christ!'  He wrote books on catechism and sacraments, was the first to bring out Telugu hymn cassettes (Stuthigeethalu), printed telugu hymnals, started the catechists training centre at Ponnur... never one to back off from a challenge.  Most of us youngsters loved pulling his leg and he loved it too.
the province pioneers: Br Gabriel, Fr Benji, and Fr Panampara
So on this day would like to remember him and thank him specially for his legacy of hard work, dedication and commitment to live and work for the poor and those really on the margins of society.  

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