BANDEL, (C.M. Paul) — Salesian Fr Jacob Champanil, assistant director of Don Bosco Prison Ministry at Berhampore, Murshidabad met with untimely death, 8 May 2013. Found dead in his room, 62 year old Fr Jacob was buried at the Salesian cemetery in front of the Marian Shrine Basilica at Bandel, 11 May.
Salesian Bishop Joseph Suren Gomes of Krishnagar presided over the Eucharist along with the Salesian Provincial Fr Thomas Ellicherail and Fr Jacob’s priest brother Fr C.J. Sebastian, nephew Fr Francis Thonippara CMI and some 90 concelebrants.
A large number of faithful including Salesian Family members, other religious, lay friends, parishioners and Santhal children were present at the funeral.
Among a ten member delegation of family members who came to the funeral from Kerala were his brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces.
A popular teacher and spiritual guide Fr Jacob was author of two books and the manuscript of his third book containing reflections on Easter is ready for print. His first book in Spanish language “Te Felicito Dios, Reflexiones Insprativas De La Coleccion Salesiana” is available on amazon.com while his second book is entitled “99 Days of Grace” listing daily meditations for Lent and Easter season.
With a Master’s degree in Theology and Missiology from the Salesian University in Rome Fr Jacob had varied pastoral experiences in the missions and formation communities.
He spent ten years in the Patagonia region of Argentina and at Salesian Mission Office New Rochelle, New York.
Besides holding various responsibilities in Kolkata Province Fr. Jacob was Assistant Director of Novices for three years at Nazareth Bhavan, Siliguri and for another three years he was confessor, teacher and administrator of the aspirants and pre-novices at Savio Bhavan, Azimganj.
Jacob who arrived at Bandel 50 years ago at age 12 to pursue his missionary dream. was also assistant parish priest at the shrine of Our Lady of Bandel. His elder brother Salesian Fr. Sebastian Champanil performed his last rites.