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Dr. Symphorian Keeprath, Bishop emeritus of Diocese of Jalandhar, passes away

Dr Symphorian KeeprathJalandhar, May 4, 2015 (Yes Punjab News)

Rt. Rev. Dr. Symphorian Keeprath, the Bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Jalandhar breathed his last 10.05 pm on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at CMC Hospital, Ludhiana.


He was 85 years old.


His mortal remains would be laid to rest on Saturday, 9th of May, 2015 in the St. Mary's Catehdral Church, Jalandhar Cantt.


Bishop Symphorian Keeprathu retired from his official responsibilities in 2007, and Most Rev. Dr. Anil Jose Thomas Couto succeeded him as Bishop of Jalandhar.


However, Dr. Franco Mulakkal has now taken over the responsibilities of Bishop of Jalandhar On 30th March 2008, we celebrated the Sacerdotal Golden Jubilee our founder and during that occasion His Excellency Bishop Anil Couto erected the Missionaries of Jesus as a religious institute of the Diocesan Rite.


Life History


Rt. Rev. Dr. Symphorian Thomas Keeprathu OFM Cap was born on 22nd April 1931 as the son of Mr. Cherian and Mariam Keeprathu at Kadaplamattam, Palai.


He had his middle school at St. Antony’s in his village and St. Antony’s School Monte de Guirim, Bardez, Goa. After completing his matriculation from the Bombay University in 1950, he entered the Capuchin Minor Seminary in Goa.


He Entered the Novitiate in 1951 at Mangalore. On 22nd May 1955, he became a perpetually professed Capuchin and he was ordained priest on 22nd March 1958. Fr. Symphorian, who had the profound desire to be a missionary reached in Jalandhar Cantt on 21st July 1970 and installed as the superior of the Community at Dhariwal.


As recognition to his potentials and efforts, Fr. Symphorian was appointed as the first Bishop of Jalandhar on 6th December 1971. Bishop Symphorian Keeprath has brought up the Diocese of Jalandhar from its inception and developed it to its present stature of self sufficiency with 106 parishes and mission stations.


He built up excellent educational institutions, a very committed clergy, many religious communities including a new Diocesan Congregation, a strong group of catechists and thus a vibrant and growing catholic community. He promoted the evangelization of the natives as well as the indigenous vocations.


The diocese of Jhalandahar, under his leadership rendered a marvelous and creditable service in spreading education in Punjab. His sterling life of faith and sacrifice and the heroic leadership that he gave to the church in Punjab remains a sure guide to his flock.
 To realize his missionary goals effectively, Most Rev. Dr. Symphorian Keeprath, founded The Congregation of the Missionaries of Jesus (MJ) on 3rd July 1993.


For this venture, he was deeply inspired by the clarion call of His Holiness Late Pope John Paul II for “New Evangelization”.


Now the community of the Missionaries of Jesus (MJ) is spread throughout the diocese of Jalandhar, and in the arch diocese of Tellichery and the dioceses of Palai and Kannur in Kerala.


Most Rev. Symphorian Keeprath has taken keen interest to bring up this congregation to this height and being its mentor, guide and advisor he is closely watching its growth and encouraging us with his inspiring and prayerful presence.


At present there are fourteen Communities in Jalandhar Diocese and three in Kerala. There are 75 professed sisters working vigorously and serving selflessly in various apostolates. The thirteenth batch of novices made their first profession in the last year. Now there are seven novices from Punjab and Kerala, four pre-novices and 35 candidates in different formation houses.

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