Died in Patna, India, on the 28th November 2019

Born: 10.08.1938
Entered the SJ: 01.07.1962
Ordained: 16.05.1974
Final Vows: 22.04.1979
Formation & Studies
Secondary Education: K.R.School, Bettiah, 1956-57
Pre-University (PUC): St. Xavier’s, Ranchi, 1960-61
Novitiate: XTTI, Digha Ghat, Patna, 1962-64
Juniorate: XTTI, Patna, 1964-65
Philosophy: De Nobili College, Pune, 1965-67
Regency: Apostolic Sch, Bettiah: 1968
Regency: St. Xavier’s, Patna 1968-69
Graduation: B.A, St. Xavier’s, Ranchi-1969-70
Regency: St. Xavier’s, Delhi, 1970-71
Theology: Kurseong & Delhi, 1971-75
Tertianship: Hazaribagh, 1977-78
Apostolic Assignments:
HM, Teacher, Chuhari, 1975-77
Asst. Director, Prabhat Prakashan, Patna; 1978-1979
Staff, Mokama Pastoral Centre; 1980-81
Dir., Prabhat Prakashan & Editor, Sandesh; 1981-1995
Parish Priest, Catholic Church, Latonah; 1996-1997
Counseling/Teaching, K. R. School, Bettiah; 1998
Retired, XTTI, 2015 & Xavier Bhawan Dec.,2017

“I shall not die, but I shall live and recount the deeds of the Lord. Open to me the gate of righteousness that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord (Ps 118: 17’ 19)”

These verses sum up the deep aspirations of Fr. John Chrysostom. I was privileged to witness and experience God’s mysterious plan being revealed in the life and action of John. I met him in 1959 in Khrist Raja High School, Bettiah. I was in class VII and he was in class XI. He was a compulsive counselor, a trait he maintained till the end. One day he spotted me in the field, called me, enquired about so many things and offered many helpful tips which I still cherish. His aim was to help people build a positive self-image, know oneself better and orient oneself to a successful career in life.

John was born on 10 August 1938 in Bettiah. When he lost his parents at a very young age, he was brought to Fr. Joe O’Brien, S.J., in Muzaffarpur, who handed him over to Mrs. Teresa Raphael for better care and nourishment. From Muzaffarpur, John moved to KR for his High school. He joined the Society of Jesus Patna province in 1962. After completing his philosophy in JDV, Pune and theology in Kerseong and Delhi, he was ordained on 16 May 1974. He made his final profession on 22 April 1979. John served chiefly in Prabhat Prakashan, Patna as administrator, editor and writer and K.R. School, Bettiah as teacher and counselor before retiring to XTTI in 2015.

John was rooted in prayer right from his childhood. He was a good and committed Jesuit totally dedicated to his given assignment. He was a man of dignity, never crossing the parameters of his religious values. He had a heart for the poor; when helpless, he pleaded others to help the needy. He was obedient to the Superior and above all he lived a simple life and did his work without much pomp and show. He was not attached to people or things. He lived his priestly life to the full; ever remaining closely attached to Our Lady whose Rosary he carried around his neck to the end. As Pastor in Latonah he is still remembered for his piety.

He was an educator, administrator and a noble scholar. As director of Prabhat Prakashan, he edited the ‘sandesh’ magazine, wrote many books, upgraded moral science books, etc. In fact, he carried forward the legacy of Fr. R.P. Sah, S.J. and took forward Prabhat to new heights. He was a commendable preacher and director of retreats.

He was a gentleman Jesuit who had everything in its place and was punctual. Discipline is a value he treasured and adhered to with passion. Though straight forward in his opinions, he was a man with no guiles as he would seek a person to clear his misunderstanding rather than keep a grudge. His hearty laughter and childlike demeanor are most likable. He was generous with his time and energy and tried his best to the extent it was possible. He was well read, knowledgeable, intelligent, and reflective. He was sensitively open to all the happenings and used to enquire “why” but was ready to adjust himself to the exigencies of emerging time and happening too.

Fr. John was an avid walker at Xavier Bhawan. The doctor who checked him occasionally said that his walking kept him healthy, even when his mind failed him. Progressive dementia got the better of him and from November 21 onwards he was confined to his room, then to his bed. From November 25 onwards he stopped taking food. Slowly his breathing became labored and he wouldn’t open his eyes. On the night of November 27, at 2.50 am, he went to his eternal reward.

As when healthy, so also in illness, Fr. John hardly complained. Now John has moved into the mansion of His Lord, thanking Him for the opportunities He gave him to serve Him, May the Lord grant him PEACE and REST in the love that Fr. John showed in his life to all he met. Then John would say, “I shall not die, but I shall live in eternity to recount the deeds of the Lord.”

- Fr. Vincent Francis, SJ,
-with inputs from Frs. Lawrence Paschal, Francis Palliparambil & Daniel Raj

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