FR. SANTIAGO VELANGANNY, S. J. (72/44)
Died at XTTI, Patna, on 30th November 2014.
Born: 01.05.1942 Entered the SJ: 14.12.1969 Ordained: 16.04.1978 Final Vows: 15.08.1985
Teacher (& Headmaster 1980-88); 1979-88
Co-Pastor, Muzaffarpur & Director of Education of the Dio; 1988-89
Director, Xavier Hall, Bangalore; 1989-1992
Headmaster, St. Stanislaus Mission School, Bettiah; 1993-96
Headmaster, Catholic High School, Ara; 1997-98
Asst. National Director of Apostleship of Prayer,
Eucharistic Crusade & Vocation Promoter of Madurai
Province (Res: Dindigul); 1998-2001
Minister, Satya Nilayam, Chennai; 2001-04
Pastoral Ministry, Sri Lanka; 2004-07
Parish Priest, Koath; 2007-09 Headmaster, Latonah; 2009-10
Educational & Pastoral Ministry, Sri Lanka; 2010-12
Fr. Santiago was not only a ‘late’ vocation to priesthood, but an ‘experienced’ one – he had finished his B. Sc and B.T. and worked as a special revenue inspector for one year and as a high school teacher for two years before he entered the Society of Jesus. He was very clear about his goal of wanting to do more and more for the Lord Jesus Christ. He was passionate about his mission and there was always a sense of ‘holy restlessness’ in him. He was a model of disciple and hard work; but that did not deter him from enjoying the simple and innocent pleasures of life, be it food, music, and warm human relationships. He was a true friend, guide and an inspiration for many a youth.
Fr. Santiago was a multifaceted person: He was an educator, pastor, administrator, vocation promoter and formator; he was a musician; he promoted sports and cultural activities; but, above all, he was an exemplary Jesuit and a dedicated missionary priest. In the field of education, he was a committed teacher and an efficient headmaster who paid attention to the integral development and spiritual / character of his students. One of his students in Ara was so inspired by the exemplary life of his teacher and headmaster that after his graduation he started a school and named it as Santiago High School and made sure that Fr. Santiago inaugurated it. He was a great vocation promoter – he promoted vocations for not only Patna Province but for other Provinces of the Society of Jesus, for the dioceses in Bihar and encouraged many girls to join different religious congregations of sisters. The missionary zeal in him took him to Sri Lanka, brought him to Koath and took him back to Sri Lanka. The three year stint as Asst. National Director of Apostleship of Prayer and Eucharistic Crusade showed not only his simple but vibrant faith but his spiritual hunger to give an experience of the unconditional love of Jesus to young boys and girls.
The Lord seems to have planned a different type of a ministry for Fr. Santiago in the last two years of his life on this earth: From late 2012 Motor Neuron Disease began to affect Fr. Santiago. On 12 April 2013 he returned from Sri Lanka to Chennai and after receiving treatment there, came to Patna on11 June 2013, and has been in XTTI since then. In spite of all medical treatment, his physical condition was continually deteriorating. It was painful for us to witness this teacher and headmaster who used to command and guide his students, in a condition in which he had to be assisted even for his ordinary needs - he couldn’t hold a cup or a spoon, couldn’t speak a clear word, ... But, by the fortitude with which Fr. Santiago encountered his physical suffering, he has given an eloquent witness of obedience to God’s will. The Lord indeed gave a share of His passion to his beloved disciple, and this disciple joyfully drank the cup (Mt 20:22). His death was as unassuming as his life – on 30th Nov.‘14, as usual, Br. Francis, our infirmarian, fed Fr. Santiago his supper, both of them seated in chairs next to one other. After having taken a little water, Fr. Santiago collapsed (probably from a massive heart attack) and died on the chair.
May Jesus whom Fr. Santiago served with so much love and devotion all his life, in health and sickness, welcome him into eternal glory. Thank you Fr. Santiago for your exemplary life.
(All members of Patna Province should offer one Mass for the repose of his soul and members of XTTI community two Masses)
Funeral Eucharist at 3.00 pm on 2nd December 2014 in XTTI chapel, followed by burial in XTTI cemetery.
Download Obituary of Fr. Santiago in pdf