Remembering Fr Elias Kerketta while searching for a new theology

Fr. Elias Kerketta

Excerpts from a homily at months-mind Eucharist by Dr. Stephen Mavely, SDB
… How would I like to remember Fr Elias? – with two images…
The first in 1963 leading us early morning from Mawlai to the Cathedral on a cold wintry morning for the funeral mass for Fr Matha who had drowned at Raliang – we were the choir, and a good one at that. I can still recall him collecting the frost from the small wooden bridge in front of present St Anthony’s College and shoving it down our collars to make us walk fast and catch up with him…
The last just two months ago at my birthday supper at Azara, relishing the dinner that we had, enjoying the light banter with the us and the Archbishop, and taking from me two recent books to read – he kept alive that habit of reading and updating himself to the end… and, with some vivid, pleasant and grateful memories…
I remember himas someone who touched my life in the most impressionable years and left an impact that has lasted a lifetime (I was just 12 when I came into contact with him… He had been ordained a year earlier and had just taken over as our Prefect of Studies). He is one of those persons that I thank God for… for bringing him into my life.
I remember himas someone in whom I saw an abundance of the type of talents that would stand me in good stead as a religious and a Salesian – cultured behaviour, pride in oneself, ability to inspire others (in music, on the play fields, in the classroom)…
I remember him… as someone who inspired me to excel in what I was good at, and try my hand at those things that I was deficient in… There were ample opportunities for both in Juniorate those days.
I remember him… as someone who kept telling me that there is more I could do than I was actually doing, who introduced me to the idea of tapping unrealized potential early in life.
I remember him… as someone who, even in his last years, made light of his ailments and aches and pains, and went about his tasks with an evident zest for life.
I remember him… as someone who, in these last years at Maligaon, would come over to Azara whenever we asked him to, to talk to us, to hear our confessions, to encourage us with our work and our dreams, to share a glass of wine and talk of the good old days. He seemed to enjoy doing that… the last time, as I said, was just three weeks before he died, towards the end of November.
… In brief, I thank God for having brought him into my life, leaving some footprints there…
and a concluding thought for ourselves
If we can celebrate a life once it has passed away, and feel good about it…
Why is it that we are so reluctant to do that when persons are alive?
Why is it that issues like positions and colour and ethnicity blind us to the basic human goodness that we all share?
Why is it that we allow harsh judgements and criticisms to colour our relationships?
Why is it that we nurse hurts, real and imagined, and allow them to poison our days and traumatize our nights?
Why is it that we prefer to hide in the shadows and mutter under our breath rather than celebrate life and love in the light?
Give it a thought...  may be we need a new theology for that too!  … or, may be just a change in vision and perspective? 21 January 2011,  Don Bosco School, Maligaon, Guwahati, Assam.


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Filed under DB Tech, Elias Kerketta, Salesian, Stephen Mavely

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