2 August 2016
The Rev. Jose Manjiyil, C.S.T., seen in this file photo from 1998, has worked for decades to give dignity to the poor in India. (photo: Ilene Perlman)
As a Catholic missionary, the Rev. Jose Manjiyil, C.S.T. spent 30 years of his priestly life in the mission territory of Gorakhpur-Nepal Province of Little Flower Congregation (known as the C.S.T. Fathers).
Ordained a priest in 1986, Father Jose is also a lawyer and educator; he holds a Ph.D. in civil law, along with degrees in Arts and Education.
Through the years, he has been a good companion of CNEWA. His relationship with CNEWA began in 1997, when we provided financial assistance for constructing Mount Carmel Church in Gorakhpur.
In the years that followed, St. Mary’s Primary School was upgraded to a Hindi medium school for the poor children of the villages recognized by the Uttar Pradesh Government, thanks to Father Jose’s hard work and the generosity of American donors through CNEWA.
But healing the sick in Gorakhpur was Father Jose’s main concern. CNEWA supported his mission — and he received acclaim for his efforts.
He was honored with the Best Social Worker award in 1998 by the District Collector and Magistrate of Gorakhypur, Uttar Pradesh, India. The same year, he was featured in our magazine, describing his efforts to help the poor:
“The problem we face is poverty,” says Father Jose. “You know it, but you don’t feel it. If you ask a mother to add just one more spoonful of medicine to help a child, she will answer, ‘How can I? Where should I get it?’
“You can feel that poverty when you go to the village. We say you have to do this or that to prevent a disease and, if the people are poor, we will give them the medicines. But you still have to get them to want to do it.”
Diocesan social workers go from village to village to offer health care and teach villagers basic hygiene. They teach mothers natural methods of family planning and administer immunization programs; the task is gargantuan and, at times, frustrating.
“Our goal is empowerment,” says Father Jose, “to teach people how to keep clean and treat problems at home.
Father Jose’s hard work has brought smiles to many who persevered in difficult moments of life. He has attracted a beautiful blend of young and old. He cherishes them all. To quote him, “Old is gold, youth is bold. When you put both together, products are sold.”
CNEWA continues its support in Gorakhpur today among the poor — providing faith formation, help with hygiene and sanitation, assistance with finances, and pastoral outreach programs.
Today, Father Jose is the Director of Educational Institutions under the Little Flower Congregation, which runs more than 60 schools, technical schools and colleges.
He has been a great asset to the Catholic Church in India — and is a true CNEWA hero.