Rev. Fr. Dr. Jose Thekkan CMI (1964-2017)
Rev. Fr. Jose Thekkan CMI joined Christ College, Irinjalakuda as Lecturer in Chemistry in the year 1996 which later became his pivotal area of activities. He served as the priest-in- charge of Christ Monastery Church and showed diligent care in pastoral work especially in catechism activities. Being a gifted teacher with a charismatic personal rapport with the students he moulded and guided the young minds in a unique manner which was testified by his students through various social medias after his death. Like the Good Shepherd, he called his students by their name which exemplified his loving and caring nature, a point which the Major Arch-bishop of Syro-Malabar Church Mar George Cardinal Alanchery specially noted in his condolence message. He was equally excellent in research and took Ph. D. in computation chemistry from the University of Calicut in 2007. While teaching at Christ College he also served the College in various capacities like Hostel Warden (BPE), College Bursar and AICUF Chaplain before taking charge as its 10 th Principal on 15 th October, 2007.
The ten years of his service in Christ College, Irinjalakuda as its Principal was a period which helped the college to strive greater heights both in academic and in co-curricular fields. He used all his skills as an academician, researcher, strategist and master planner to help the College grow gradually to soaring heights. Autonomous status, introduction of new courses, research developments, Overall championship in Sports in the University of Calicut, two NAAC accreditations are some of the important land marks during his tenure of office as Principal. The icing of all these achievements came when the College was ranked in the first place in the state and in the 17 th position in India by NIRF under MHRD, Govt. of India. Showing qualities of grandeur in vision, steadfastness and relentless hard work in achieving the set goals, he aimed at a holistic development of the college which included eco-friendly policies, student centered activities, and research focused endeavours. The College got a new face-lift due to his concerted efforts and so in his last years of service many had started to call him as second Gabriel achan.
He served in the Senate of the University of Calicut and in University students grievances redressal committee and his services were specially remembered by the Vice-Chancellor of the University in his condolence message. He also served as the Chairman of Ethics Committee of Amala Medical College and was the member of the governing body of Catholic centre and Snehabhavan. He was in the advisory committee of Academic Staff College of Calicut University and the President of Christian Higher Education Institute. His contribution and advice were also very noticeable in the different committees constituted in Devamatha province, Thrissur.
He was detected with dilated cardiomyopathy at Amala hospital, a disease where the muscles of the heart lose their elasticity resulting in a reduced pumping rate. The expert doctors at Amala and Rajagiri examined his case and suggested further treatment at Fortis Malar Hospital at Adayar, Chennai. After detailed check up and examination by the team of doctors at Fortis Malar hospital, they suggested heart transplantation surgery as the only possible way out. Meanwhile, the expert opinion of the doctors at Madras Medical Mission Hospital was also independently sought and they too suggested the same line of treatment. Accordingly, after initial tests and medications, he stayed at our Rajagiri Bhavan, Chennai. The heart transplantation procedure was held on July 11 th and he initially showed good progress but on July 19 th he had a cardiac arrest. Thereupon, his condition deteriorated and had profound bleeding and on July 25 th he had another massive heart attack where upon he was called to eternal rest.
The mortal remains of Fr. Jose Thekkan was brought to Amala on July 26 th and the funeral service was held on July 28 th at Christ Monastery Church, Irinjalakuda. The people of Irinjalakuda were present in large numbers at Karuvanoor bridge from where his body was taken as a procession to Christ College portico. He was given quite an emotional farewell by the Christ family. Thereafter, in Christ College Auditorium the staff and the students of Christ College, with a sobbing heart paid their last homage to their beloved Principal. People from all walks of life, political leaders of various hues and colours, state ministers, elected representatives, priests, religious sisters, his family, his friends and students thronged the campus to see their beloved Thekkanachan for the last time. Among them were Prof. C. Raveendranath, state education minister and Calicut University Controller of Examination Dr. V.V Georgekutty. Mar Pauly Kannukadanm, Bishop of Irinjalakuda, Mar Andrews Thazhath, Archbishop of Thrissur, Mar Gregory Karotemprayil, Bishop Emeritus of Rajkot, Rev. Fr. Dr. Paul Achandy CMI, Prior General, Rev. Fr. Walter Thelapilly CMI, Provincial of Devamatha Province and a host of priests officiated at the Holy Mass and the funeral rites. Fr. Jose Nandikara preached the homily in which he eloquently presented the life and the activities of Fr. Jose Thekkan especially highlighting the unique part he played in the growth of Christ College, Irinjalakuda. There was a condolence meeting immediately after the funeral ceremony remembering the legacy and services of Fr. Jose Thekkan.
His friendly character, his loving and caring nature, his relentless commitment towards gospel values of truth and justice, his passion in helping the poor, his dedication in work as Principal and a teacher, his magnanimous vision and perseverance in activities have all laid a lasting impression in the minds of all those who were associated with him. His smiles and guidelines will ever be remembered in his pastoral lands which was primarily Christ College. May his soul rest in peace!