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A SAINT IS LAID TO REST: Funeral of Br. VD Varkey Held at Bandel Basilica
By Fr. Samuel Mondol, SDB
Kolkata, Jun. 17. Br. Varkey Villuviruthil (V.D.), who had passed away on 12th June, 2014 was laid to rest at Bandel Basilica in the presence of over 70 Salesians, members of the Salesian Family, numerous relatives, friends and lay faithful.  Fr. Nirmol Gomes, Provincial, presided over the funeral Mass, at 2.30 PM. Fr. Joseph Kizhakkekara, former Provincial of Kolkata and New Delhi, performed the funeral rites in the church and Fr. Thomas Ellicherail, former Provincial of Kolkata Province, presided over the rite of final commendation at the cemetery.
A moment from the Funeral Mass celebrated in the Bandel Basilica, with Fr. Nirmol Gomes presiding.
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During the Homily, Fr. Provincial highlighted the human qualities of Br. Varkey saying, ''He was an exemplary religious and a good person rich in human qualities, working most of the time in the formation houses.'' He also underlined how Br. Varkey would carry out his responsibilities with meticulous care and precision.

After the final prayer, farewell addresses were given by various persons connected with the life of Br. Varkey. Fr. TV Jacob Rector of Provincial House said, ''It was easy to look after Br. Varkey as he was very patient, cooperative and obedient''.  Fr. Joseph Kizhakkekara, representing the Province of New Delhi, among other things pointed out that Br. Varkey was an elegant Salesian who dressed well, which reflected his deep interior life. He also described how Br. Varkey showed great daring and spirit of self-sacrifice in 1981, when a highway robber lunged with a knife at Fr. Edigius Vigano'  who was then on a visit to Kolkata as Rector Major. Br. Varkey endured deep wounds on his hands as result of trying to protect the Rector Major. ''We are burying the mortal remains of a saint today,'' commented Fr. Joseph, after reiterating the virtues of the deceased.

Br. Sushanto Biswas spoke on behalf of all the Salesian Brothers of the Province of Kolkata. Mr. Jomon Joseph, one of Br. Varkey's nephews, thanked everyone for their support and care.  He particularly appreciated all those who were involved in making the funeral service smooth and prayerful.

With the final commendation and last rites 85 year old Br. Varkey was finally laid to rest, while the aspirants along with the confreres and the faithful prayed the rosary and sang hymns at his grave.

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