Memories of Indian “Summer Priest” in Germany

Book Cover of “Summer Priest” with Prof Thuruthiyil’s photo in set.

LAMMERSPIEL IN MUHLHEIM AM MAIN, Germany (C.M. Paul) – It is rare that an Indian priest celebrates 25 years as summer priest in a German parish. Not only, he has also published a book to mark the occasion. Salesian priest Prof. Scaria Thuruthiyil former dean of the Philosophy Faculty at the Salesian University (UPS) Rome is currently in Lammerspiel in Muhlheim near Frankfurt. He celebrates the silver jubilee of his arrival in St. Lucia parish, Lämmerspiel, Saturday 17 July, with a solemn Eucharist at 6 P.M., followed by reception open to all the parishioners of both St. Lucia and St. Sebastian (Dietesheim) parishes.
“I have been coming to this parish each year since 1985 at least for one month,” says 63 year-old Prof Thuruthyil who heads a massive fan club in the region.
“My book in German will be released during a reception held in my honour to celebrate 25 years as “summer priest” (sommerpfarrer),” says Prof Thuruthyil who was recently appointed rector of the professors community, St Dominic Savio at the UPS Rome.
“When I come here [in Germany], I substitute the parish priest who goes for his holidays. Since last 15 years this parish has been amalgamated with neighbouring parish (St.Sebastian, Dietesheim) and I look after both the parishes,” says Prof Thuruthyil who has been honoured in 2006 with “Ehrenplakette in Bronze der Stadt Muhlheim” by the Mayor Bernd Muller of Muhlheim which has over 28,000 inhabitants.
“I thought of writing a small book of memories (entitled Sommerpfarrer) for this memorable occasion,” says Prof Thuruthyil.
Author of 14 Books
Giving details of the book, he says “it contains 47 anecdotes with a sketch drawing for each anecdote, besides a forward and a dedication.”
Incidentally, the cartoonist is the parish priest of the neighbouring parish of Sts. Markus and Maxmillian Kolbe. An excellent cartoonist, Fr. Dekan Schmitt-Helferich, has done the sketches in homage to Prof. Thuruthyil.
The 100-page book contains remembrances of persons and interesting events, both joyful and laughable experiences of these past 25 years.
“It is meant as my personal gift to the parishioners who have been very friendly to me for all these past years: a celebration that could last for a while with some good laughs and cheery anecdotes,” says Prof Thuruthyil hoping his writing would also inspire hope and optimism.
There has been an overwhelming response to the venture and the first edition of 850 copies of the book is already running short and I am thinking of ordering a second edition to be at hand soon.
A couple of people who read the manuscripts are highly appreciative of the book and have already asked for the second volume of the book to be written.
Author of 14 books in English, Italian and Malayalam, Prof Thuruthiyil’s latest 358 page book in Italian is entitled “Principi e valori educativi, nella tradizione Indiana.” It is due for release in September 2010.
Born in Pala
Born in the diocese of Pala, Kerala in 1947, Fr Thuruthiyil studied in Bandel, Salesian College Sonada Darjeeling, UPS Rome and Jnanadeepa Vidyapeeth Pune.  In 1972 as professor of Philosophy at Salesian College, Yercaud, Tamilnadu, Prof Thuruthiyil founded the SSGY (Social Service Guild Yercaud) – an organization of Religious men and women formed to coordinate various initiatives for the poor. The SSGY continues to be a well-run organization to date.
He was ordained priest in Pala (1977) and was appointed Administrator and vice Rector at Don Bosco Tech New Delhi and became professor of Philosophy at Salesian College Sonada (1981-1984). After completing doctorate in Philospohy from UPS Rome, Fr Thuruthiyil returned Kolkata where he worked as assistant parish priest at Kalyani and professor of Philosophy at the Morning Star College regional seminary Calcutta where seminarians from 28 dioceses studied.
From 1988 Prof Thuruthiyil has been at the UPS Rome as well invited professor at the Università di Roma, La Sapienza, Dept. of Ethnic Religions (2003 onwards). From 2004 he also lectures at BEDA Pontifical College (Philosophical Anthropology and History of Modern and Contemporary Philosophy) Rome.
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1 Comment

Filed under Don Bosco, Salesian, Salesian College Sonada, Salesian University Rome

One response to “Memories of Indian “Summer Priest” in Germany

  1. I hadn’t seen this write-up earlier….Congrats on all your books, and your mission to write as you teach and interact. It’s a great way to record the synthesis that history, culture and involvement produce…Also, you’re proficient in so many languages which makes your work accessible to a wider audience, which is great. Well done! Keep going!….I wish I had seen this blog earlier.

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