By DCD Reporter
The Dalit Christians in Tamil Nadu mourned the death of Fr. Lourdu Jeeva Raj, a young and energetic priest of the Archdiocese of Madurai and the professor of Theology at St. Paul’s Seminary, Tiruchirappalli. He was 47.
Known as Fr. Jeeva was a man of simplicity and had a great heart for the poor who died of COVID-19 on June 15 at the Vadamalayan Hospital, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, south India.
He was admitted to the hospital for 10 days and the condition of his lungs lacked response according to the ICU specialists.
Archbishop Antony Pappusamy of Madurai led funeral Mass and rites for the departed priest, who was buried in the Madurai Archdiocesan cemetery.
“I am saddened to know the unexpected demise of Fr. Jeeva. Last year, he recommended a poor boy from Madurai to get admission to Jesuit-run Loyola College, Mettala. He was a committed and compassionate priest. May his soul rest in peace,” said Father Maria Joseph Mahalingam, Principal of Loyola College, Mettala.
Fr Jeeva was born on April 18, 1974, in W. Puthupatti in Madurai. He served as a deacon in Anna Nagar parish and on April 22, 2001, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Madurai. He was an assistant parish priest at Virudhunagar parish and then was appointed as the Theology Professor in St. Peter’s Seminary, Viraganur.
He was then appointed as the Theology professor of St. Paul’s Seminary in Trichy. From there he went to do his doctoral studies in Louvain, Belgium. Fr. Jeeva was appointed the Property in-charge of the Archdiocese of Madurai. He took the initiative to identify all the unknown properties of the Archdiocese and organized them.
Fr Jeeva, a moral theologian, was committed to his priestly ministry by his works and teaching at the seminary. He wrote many articles in URIMAI monthly magazine published by the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council (TNBC), Commission for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).
It is a great loss for the TNBC – SC/ST Commission and the Church in Tamil Nadu church.
“Every year he gave scholarships to poor Dalit students of the Madurai Archdiocese. He supported many seminarians who are from poor family backgrounds. We miss you, dear father. Heartfelt condolences to his family members,” mourned Fr Kulandainathan, regional secretary of TNBC Commission for SC/ST.
“On behalf of the Dalit Liberation Forum in Tamil Nadu and the Lay Dalit Movements, we pray that the soul of Fr Jeeva’s soul. May rest in peace,” he said.