Khrist Jyothi Province

FATHERS RESTING IN THE LOARD

  VERY REV. FR. FELIX NELLIKUNNATH CST

Born 13/08/1935
Ordination 01/12/1964
First Religious Profession 17/05/1958
Slept in the Lord 13/11/1998

During the small hours of Friday, the 13th of November 1998, the news was flashed that dear Father Felix, our Superior General, is no more. One of the first members of the CST Fathers, Joseph, Felix in religion, who lived and worked very closely with Father Basilius, the Founder of our Congregation, was born on 13th august 1935, the seventh and last child of Ouseph and Rosa Nellikkunnath at Vechoor in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. He had his schooling at Vaikom and at Mookkannur. After passing High School, he joined our religious family in 1954 with the earnest desire to become a missionary. He had his Minor Seminary training in the Mission Home, Pala, as well as at Mookkannur. He made his first profession on 17 May, 1958, at Mookkannur after finishing his novitiate under Fr. Xavier Olickal CST. He made his perpetual profession on 14 April, 1963. He had his Philosophy and Theology courses in the Ponthifical Seminary, Aluva. He was ordained Priest by His Grace Archbishop Joseph Parecattil on 1 Dec. 1964, during the Eucharistic Congress in Bombay, along with Fathers Bruno and John Joseph. For three years, Fr. Felix worked in the Little Flower Study House (Seminary) teaching the Seminarians and as the Procurator of the House. When our Congregation got the first opportunity to do mission work in North India, his heart's desire was fulfilled and he was sent to Bhopal with Fr. Bruno to get the necessary training for missionary apostolate. Prior to this, he also worked in our ashram at Mathumkal. He toiled assiduously for the Lord in the Archdiocese of Bhopal for six years from 1969 to 1975. After obtaining the degree of M.A. from the University of Bhopal, he was sent for Higher Studies in Social Work and Religious studies to USA. There he took MSW from the University of Fordham, New York (1975 - 80). For the next 17 years we see Fr. Felix, as an ardent and zealous missionary in Punjab - Rajasthan. He worked in various capacities, such as Mission Superior, Mission Procurator, Parish Priest, Assistant Regional Superior and Assistant Provincial. He was elected Superior General of the Little Flower Congregation on 10th April, 1997, and held that post for 19 months. He left the Generalate and went to North India on the 15th of October 1998 to take part in the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the mission of Punjab - Rajasthan. After the celebrations he was going round visiting the missionaries in our stations. He was a man of action, bold as well as adventurous, never taking sufficient rest and food. In Rajastihan at Sikar he got a heart attack on 1st November. He was immediately admitted in the hospital there. When he became a little better he was taken to Delhi on 10th of November by Fr. John Kudilil, the Regional Superior and was admitted in the Metro Hospital, Noida. Fr. Joseph Villanthanam, General Councillor, and Fr. Paul Karumathy, Provincial Superior, rushed to Delhi at this juncture. Fr. Felix underwent coronary Angiogram, which showed severe coronary artery disease 99% blockage LAD. Coronary Angeoplasty was done (PTCA) which was unsuccessful with thrombosis of the LAD and low output. Emergency CABS (Coronary Artery By pass Surgery) was done. Every one thought that Fr. Felix has survived and we were expecting him back in the Generalate very soon. His condition became critical by 10.30 p.m. on l2 Nov. 1998. Then Fr. Felix was anointed and he left for eternal reward at 00.30 a.m., on 13 Nov. 1998, in the Metro Hospital, Noida, Delhi.The body was embalmed and was kept in the cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Delhi and a funeral Mass was concelebrated with Rt. Rev. Bishop Vincent Concessao as the Main Celebrant. Arrangements were made to have the coffin flown to Kochi on Saturday in the morning. It was received at the airport and was taken to Lisie Hospital to be kept on the mortuary that day. Fr. John Kochupurackal, the Vicar General and Fr. Abraham Kongapuzha, the General Councillor, had gone to Tanzania in East Africa and then to Europe as delegated by Fr. Felix to find out the scope of mission work over there. As soon as they got the sad news of the sudden demise of Fr. Felix, they immediately rushed to India and could reach the Airport at Kochi in time to receive the coffin. On Sunday in the morning the body was brought to the Little Flower Generalate, Thrikkakara. The funeral rites were started here by Bishop Dominic Kokkat CST and Fr. John Kochupurackal CST. Archbishop Emeritus, Antony Cardinal Padiyara and Bishop Abraham D. Mattam (Satna) conducted the office of the dead. The coffin was taken to Little Flower Seminary, Aluva at 11.45 a.m. On the way it was received at St. Joseph's Provincial House, Aluva were Fr. Paul Karumathy CST sang an office of the dead. Then it was kept in the Little Flower Seminary Chapel for the public to pay their respects at 12 noon. At 2.30 p.m the final rites of the funeral service were performed by Archbishop Varkey Vithayathil, the Apostolic Administrator of the Syro- Malabar Church. There was a concelebrated Mass at 2.30 p.m. at which Bishops Symphorian (the main celebrant), Dominic Kokkat CST, Fr. John Kochupurackal, Vicar General, Provincial Superiors, Regional Superiors and a good number of CST Fathers as well as priests and religious from all over Kerala took part. Bishop Dominic Kokkat preached the funeral sermon. Those who prayed at the bier include Mar James Pazhayattil, Mar Paul Chittilappally, Mar Thomas Chakiath, Thomas Mar Kurillos, Mar Jacob Manathodath, Mar Simon Stock Palathara, Mar Joseph Pastor Neelamkavil, Mar Gregory Karotemprayil and a number of Major Superiors and Vicars General and a large number of priests, religious and laity. The coffin was lowered into the grave only on Monday at noon as a number of CST Fathers from the missions of Gorakhpur, Punjab - Rajasthan could not reach on Sunday. On Thursday the 19th of November, the Seventh Day was observed with Bishop Thomas Chakiath as the Main Celebrant of the Mass. A good number of Priests, Brothers, Seminarians, sisters and laity took part in the same. Father Felix was a zealous missionary, a man of prayer, who lived a life of simplicity and hard work. He was ready to spend himself for the Lord and for others. "He went and did likewise". MAY HE REST IN PEACE "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7)

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General Discipline and Formation