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Large number of priest and lay faithful for Father Joseph Oonupalathinkal's funeral
By Father Jose Koyickal
Mumbai, Dec. 22. Father Oonupalathinkal Joseph (J. Joseph) a great son of Don Bosco who laboured hard and reaped a hundredfold in the Salesian vineyard of South India breathed his last at 5 am on 17th December 2017.
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He was born in 1930 in the village of Piravithanam in Kottayam District of Kerala. After his ordination in 1962 he work in Basin Bridge as Catechist, Egmore as Administrator, Katpadi and Sagayathottam as Rector before becoming the Novice Master at Kotagiri.

From 1985 to 1991 he was the Economer of Bangalore Province during which he played a very significant role in the development of the province and starting of new presences and works.

After completing two terms as Economer he pioneered the works in Mampetta, Manacuad, Sachivothamapuram and Angamali almost single-handedly undertaking the constructions and expanding the ministries there. Wherever he was assigned, he gave a magical touch to the apostolates ensuring all the requirements and facilities as well as successfully carrying it out.

As Father Maria Arokiam Kanaka rightly observed in his condolence message Father J. Joseph was ''a genuine son of Our Lady and Don Bosco, ardent lover of the Lord Jesus, the Salesian Charism and the poor young people. He has been a great leader, a formator, a pioneer, a builder, a conscientious administrator and a reliable superior in so many houses. Above all he was a very prayerful person.  He was an indefatigable worker and a man of strong will''.

Father J. Joseph spent the last years in Thope, Kollam as confessor before he was shifted to Mamma Margaret's Home at Aluva since his health was deteriorating and he needed constant medical and nursing care. He was hospitalized several times and recovered from critical condition. However, on early morning of 17th December his pulse rate began to go low and quietly he departed from us for his eternal reward at 5 am.

His funeral service began at 6 am with Holy Mass followed by the first part of the funeral presided over by Mar Sebastian Adayantharath, the auxiliary bishop of Ernakualm-Angamaly Archdiocese attended by many priests, sisters, brothers, relatives and people. The body was taken from Aluva at 8.30 am and kept for an hour from 9.15 to 10.15 am at Don Bosco School Angamaly where he was for 8 years as In-Charge and Rector during which he built the school and residence there. The body reached Don Bosco Bhavan Mannuthy at 11.30 am where many confreres, relatives and friends of Father J. Joseph were waiting to pay their respect to him and participate in the funeral.

The second part of the funeral began at 2 pm officiated by Mar Tony Neelankavil, the auxiliary bishop of Trichur Archdiocese. It was followed by the Funeral Mass presided over by The Provincial Father Joyce Thonikuzhiyil with many priests attending the funeral service.

Father Varghese Pynadath sdb his novice and Rector of Don Bosco Palluruthy gave the homily. After the Mass there were words of homage and farewell addressed to Father J. Joseph by Father Sunny Uppan his rector at Thope, Kollam during his last years, Father K.M. Jose the Provincial of Chennai, Father K.D. Joseph his companion from the days of aspirantate, Father Jiji Kalavanal Message of Father Maria Arokiam Kanaka sdb, the Regional Superior of South Asia was read by Father Jose Koyickal, the Vice Provincial.

The final part was officiated by Father Jiji Kalavanal sdb his nephew. Adieu dear Father J. Joseph! Your memory will remain in our hearts for years all our life.

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