22 February 2013

Kenya: Komarock Shrine Founder Laid to Rest

Machakos — Rev Fr Thomas Vadassery, the founder of Komarock Shrine in Catholic Diocese of Machakos was laid to rest on Wednesday, February 20, at Katoloni cemetery. Fr Thomas passed away on Saturday 16 two weeks after the Catholic Diocese of Machakos' Prayer Day which was held at the shrine. He did not attend this years' event for he had already been hospitalized.

Before the burial, Rt Rev Martin Kivuva Musonde, the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Machakos led priests (over 100), sisters, religious men and women and the laity in a funeral service at Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral in Machakos town.

Bishop Kivuva praised and thanked the late Fr Thomas for his service, contribution and dedication he offered to the diocese. He said that he will not only be remembered because of his work at the shrine but for other developments and spiritual nourishment he offered in all the parishes that he served.

"He was very committed to his work. A sacramental priest; from confessions to Eucharistic retreats that he offered in addition to being very self-less. He received a lot of support and escort by everyone when he was taken ill. We should not mourn but hope that our Fr Thomas is safely in heaven. Remember that 'the way you live is the way you die'" said bishop Kivuva.

Four of Fr Thomas' family members attended the service and told the congregation that Fr Thomas "loved the people of Kenya more than those in his motherland, India."

Fr Thomas was born in1928 in India and ordained in 1960 as a Society of Jesus (Jesuit) priest. In 1979, he was invited to the Catholic Diocese of Machakos by the late Bishop Urbanus Kioko where he worked as a Fidei Donum before being incardinated into the diocese.

He taught in Machakos Boys School then worked as a parish priest in the following parishes; Ngunga, Mitaboni, Tala and Komarock Shrine. He single handedly started most of the outstations in these parishes from scratch; from buying the land to fully constructing new church buildings.

Of his 52 years as a priest, 32 were spend in the service of the Catholic Diocese of Machakos. Fr Thomas spent his twilight years developing Komarock Shrine which attracts thousands of faithful both Catholics and non-Catholics who go there for pilgrimage, retreats and for prayer. The shrine is located 50 kilometres east of Nairobi along Kangundo road.

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