While mourners in Meghalaya are waiting to know the date for arrival of the mortal remains of Archbishop Dominic Jala from USA, the Diocese of Oakland in California has confirmed that funeral of Fr Mathew Vellankal will be held on October 21.
“The mass of Christian burial for Father Mathew Vellankal will be celebrated at St. Bonaventure, 5562 Clayton Road, Concord 94521-4158 on Monday, October 21 at 10:30 am,” a statement of the Diocese of Oakland said.
“May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace,” the Diocese said.
Fr Mathew of the Salesian of Don Bosco along with Archbishop Jala died in a car accident at Colusa County, Oakland in California on October 10 at around 2.20 pm (October 11 in India).
A Toyota Prius where Fr Mathew, Archbishop Jala and Fr Joseph Parekkatt were travelling in was hit by a tractor-trailer truck on California Route 20 near Wilbur Springs.
Fr Joseph, who looks after St. Anne Parish in Walnut Creek, was also injured.
Fr Mathew, 58, was ordained as priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco in 1987.
He was born in Ayavana in Kerala.
He ministered in parishes and schools in India before coming to the Diocese of Oakland in 2001.
In USA, the parish assignments of Fr Mathew included Queen of All Saints in Concord, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fremont and Holy Spirit in Fremont.
“Father Vellankal’s joyous spirit and faith will be deeply missed,” said a statement by Bishop Michael C Barber of Oakland Diocese.
The Oakland Diocese also conveyed its condolences and also prayed that the soul of Archbishop Jala rest in the peace of Christ.
Fr Mathew was known for his skills as a magician, which he used in parish fundraising.
He wrote a book titled ‘From Humor to Inspiration: Jokes, Reflections and Quotes to Enliven Your Day,” published in 2005.
The Shillong Archdiocese, however, is yet to confirm as to when the mortal remains of Archbishop Jala will arrive from USA to Shillong.
“Other formalities are completed and the body is undergoing for embalment. As of now we have a little difficulty in getting flight tickets because the flight from San Francisco to Delhi is fully booked,” Chancellor of Shillong Archdiocese, Fr Jimmy Marngar told reporters at the Cathedral Bishop’s House in Shillong.
He informed that three priests and Shillong MP Vincent H Pala are in the United States to do the needful and accompany the body of the Archbishop.
“We are doing everything possible to bring back the body as early as possible. Depending on the availability of flight tickets, we will be able to confirm the exact date and time of the arrival of the mortal remains of the Archbishop,” Fr Jimmy said.