Provincial of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, Fr Walter Thelappilly today said that year-long celebrations would commence from August 1 as part of the canonization of blessed Kuriakose Elias of Chavara on November 23 at the Vatican.
He told reporteres here that Chavara was not only a noted spiritual leader and writer, but also one of the renaissance leaders of Kerala who had made immense contribution in imparting education to all, especially when attaining education was the prerogative of the privileged class.
When schism threatened the Church in 1861, Chavara, then Vicar General of Syro Malabar Church, had taken a strong stand by giving effective leadership in thwarting Thomas Roccos’ intrusion and saved the Church in Kerala from schism, he said.
Chavara had founded the first indigenous religious congregation for men, Carmelites of Mary Immaculate in 1831 and for women the Congregation of the Mother of Carmelites (CMC) in 1866, he said.
Thelappilly said that the MI has now about 2000 priests spread over 122 countries and it has 500 educational institutions besides 1300 aspirants for priesthood.
The main emphasis during the Canonization year would be cn social work, assist poor and downtrodden section of the society at various levels.
A scholar and ardent lover of education, he had made rich contributions in imparting education to all and had directed his juniors to establish schools along with the churches Thelappilly said, adding that all kinds of students, including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were admitted to such schools.
Financial assistance and merit scholarship were also provided to poor and talented students for attracting more and more children to education.
Kuriakose (Cyriac) Chavara was born in 1805, ordained priest in 1829 and passed away in 1871.
He was declared Servant of God in 1980 and Venerable in 1984. He was elevated to the honours of the altar declaring him Blessed by Pope John Paul II on Feb 8, 1986 at Kottayam during his visit to Kerala, Thelappilly said.