Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Road to Sainthood : Monsignor Lawrence Puliyanath.

I consider this brief article as a thanksgiving for all the favors received and as a prayer for the canonization of Monsignor Lawrence Puliyanath, who lived his saintly life in my hometown. A monsignor who illuminated thousands of lives with the message of love, a genuine Christian hero, a man of action who obeyed god, by having a mental state of being incredibly optimistic against overwhelming odds. Monsignor Lawrence Puliyanath was declared as the ‘‘Servant of God’’ on February 4th, 2011 completing the first step in the process of canonization.

His mortal remains are venerated in the St. Lawrence Church at Edakochi, where faithful from places throughout the state visit, in order to give thanks, for the favors received through his intercession. I consider myself blessed for being in the church locality, where a priest, who lived as one among the ordinary people, glorified the name of god. His life was dedicated to fill this world with love and to make people love one another. His life is a message for each of us to understand each other and to be generous in our lives irrespective of religion, cast and creed.

The over flowing devotees to the pilgrim centre at Kochi is a reflection of his exceptional holiness. Thousands of devotees consider him as a father figure who guides and helps them throughout the hard journey called life. Most of the familiar faces in my hometown are living testimonials who still remember how; he personally touched the lives of people through selfless service and love for the community.

Monsignor Lawrence was born on 8th August 1898 in Kochi, to the blessed couple Maria and Peter, of the Puliyanath family. He was fortunate enough to have a good school education and eventually attained a doctorate degree in both Theology and Philosophy from a Seminary in SriLanka. He was ordained priest on 1926 and started off his apostolic mission for the poor, serving the society at large. During his 33 years of church service, he served as a professor of Philosophy in Alappuzha Seminary and later as a Forane Vicar in the parish of St. Lawrence Church, Edakochi. He was conferred the title ‘‘Domestic Prelete’’ by His Holiness Pious the XII-th in 1951. His simple life with no special attachments to material comforts in the midst of glory makes him an ideal religious teacher. His humbleness was revealed when he declined the promotional title offered from Rome, to be the first local bishop in the Diocese of Kochi. He was sick during his late days, yet was always concerned about the needs and lives of the people. The divine soul of Monsignor Lawrence left to heaven on 20th February, 1961.

Like the two sides of a coin, with the touch of god, come miracles and blessings as well as sufferings and the cross. Dear lord, as Christian followers, we know that our lives would be subjected to testing and temptations throughout our life, to strengthen our faith. Monsignor Lawrence Puliyanath is our local guardian, who guides us through this worldly life, to follow your way of light. We consider this stage of canonization as the phase of our struggling and we hope our prayers, along with the ever glowing candle lights, in front his sacred tomb, would one day open the gates of heaven and bring out the shower of miracles and blessings by declaring his sainthood.

To Visit the Official Site of Monsignor Lawrence Puliyanath. Click here.

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