Santhidham Province, Ghaziabad
Venerable Fr. Varghese Payapilly was a priest of the Diocese of Ernakulum in Kerala. He was born on August 8, 1876 at Konthuruthy a typical village in Kerala in the Diocese of Ernakulum. He was ordained on Saturday 21 December 1907 at the age of 31 at Papel Seminary Chapel, Kandy by the then Bishop of Kandy, Msgr. Clemens Pagnani OSB. After completing fruitfully his syriac study, Fr. Varghese was assigned to pastoral ministry at Kadamakudy as the parish priest.
Later, he served also as the vicar of Alangad (1910-1913 and 1916-1920), manager of St. Mary’s School, Aluva (1913-1918 and 1922-1929) and vicar of Arakuzha (1920-1922). It is during his ministry at Arakuzha that he founded the St. Joseph’s parish at Meenkunnam as a token of his compassion on the people who had to walk a long distance to reach the Church at Arakuzha to attend Holy Mass. During this period of his ministry in these parishes for 10 years he lived with his fellow priests in fraternal love and communion sharing all resources as in the proto Christian community of Jerusalem. He was also a member of the diocesan council, and served as director of the provident fund for priests and director of apostolic union.
His zeal and love for the kingdom of God had prepared him to begin the parish activities as a committed pastor. According to the heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd he led an exemplary priestly life and exercised his priestly duties with great zeal and piety. His unconditional obedience to the ecclesiastical authority, consulting nature and submissiveness are very evident in his letters and petitions to the bishop on all matters regarding the parish. He was a good organizer, always involving people in every undertaking.
His compassion extended to all creatures. He had a universal outlook which enabled him to accept everybody beyond the barriers of any discrimination. His appointment as the Manager of St. Mary’s School, Aluva was itself a recognition by ecclesiastical authorities of his wisdom and skills to deal with state officials. He had great love and affection towards the students, staff and parents of the School.
The Venerable was a man of courage and principles, compassion and merciful love and a true friend of the underprivileged people. He was an able educator, exemplary administrator and manager and a role model for teachers. He was a man of good will and mercy and an excellent formator of students and boarders. He uplifted the untouchables and his relief work in the monster flood of 1924 was an expression of his generous and compassionate heart.
Fr.VarghesePayapilly’s transformed personality-more divine and humane, transparent and attractive- made his relationships all the more personal, cordial and enjoyable. His deep faith, radiating compassion, caring love, clear cut vision, strong sense of value and self determination, generosity and lowliness of heart, boundless reserve of courage and strength of obedience helped him to commit himself unambiguously to compassionate Jesus by serving the poor and destitute.
Fr. Varghese Payapilly died of typhoid unexpectedly on 5 October 1929 and the responsibility of the Congregation was entrusted to Msgr. George Valliarumpeth who was appointed as its director and the spiritual director of the sisters. He took charge of the newly assigned responsibility on 28 October 1929. He was endowed with the spirit and magnanimity of its Founder Fr. Varghese Payapilly and could assimilate the same charism and internal attitude that prompted the founder to found and nurture the Congregation. He was a person of deep faith, discipline and asceticism with an ardent devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He directed the Congregation in its original charism for 41 years till his death on 11 May 1970. The Congregation is highly indebted to Msgr. Valliarumpeth for its spiritual and material growth.