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Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
  
17 May 2016
Greg Kandra




The Rev. Roy Mathew Vadakkel initiated several construction projects to help the poor in India. In the photo above, he visits one of the projects CNEWA funded, which supplied harvesting tanks for rainwater. (photo: CNEWA)

Four years ago, we interviewed a remarkable Syro-Malabar priest in India who was working tirelessly to care for the poor and the outcast. The Rev. Roy Mathew Vadakkel had launched several construction projects, including one that has built harvesting tanks for rainwater.

Our regional director in India, M.L. Thomas, wrote: “He makes it a point to see that nobody is deserted in the streets or at homes nearby. He feeds and looks after them by collecting help from local residents. Father Vadakkel gets help from everyone, and gives help to everyone, regardless of religion and caste.”

In his interview with us, Father Vadakkel said:

My mother, who died when she was just 46, was a very pious lady, and her great wish was that I should become a priest. She sent me to church every day for Mass. She taught me prayers and showed me by her own actions how to live for the poor and the needy. So I always had the urge to become a priest and to help the poor.

While I was in the major seminary, I used to visit prisoners, beggars, the sick and other forsaken people.

As for his work today:

I want simply to be a source of “hope to the hopeless.” There should not be any person with no one to look after them. I hope to do the most good for the greatest number of people by supporting them — by deeds more than words. Thus each life is to be dignified. As a priest, I have no other option but to dedicate my whole life in service to the poor. As it is said in the Bible, “Wash each other’s feet ... do good ... and be merciful.”