Good news. Fr. Augustine Thevarparambil will be beatified in Kerala, India on April 30th. Special permission has been given to have the beatification held in the parish church of the saint.
This is for the first time that the Vatican has given permission for conducting the beatification ceremony of an Indian sainthood candidate in his own village church.
Pope Benedict XVI has given permission to Major Archbishop Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil of Syro Malabar Church to conduct the beatification ceremony of the Venerable Servant of God Augustine Thervarparampil at Ramapuram.
The Vatican has also asked Cardinal Vithayathil him to preside over the ceremony in the name of the Pope.
He was born in the village in on April 1, 1891. He was ordained priest, belonging to the diocese of Pala, in 1921.
Interestingly during most of his priestly career, Kunjachan stayed in his own parish, the St. Augistine’s church at Ramapuram as one among the three assistant parish priests for more than 40 years.
Kunjachan died on 16th October 1973. Soon after his death, his tomb at the St. Augustine Church became a center of pilgrimage for people from far and wide.
I guess that is one diplomatic way to show opposition to the anti-conversion law in India. Though comprising only 2.4 % of the population, the Catholic missionary efforts are obviously a big threat to the Hindi status quo. The effects of the mission of St. Thomas the Apostle are still being felt.
Arthur of the Angry Twins blog has more information about the cure and a nice picture of Fr. Augustine "Kunjachan" here. N.B. Way better than this blog entry and I'm not afraid to admit it!