Saturday, May 9, 2009

More on Father Shaji

Friends, please continue to pray for Father Shaji . For what it is worth a local blog, a woman claiming to be the suspected attacker's wife says the man is mentally ill and had stopped taking his medications... [that has not been verified!!!]

from the CALLER-TIMES>>>>>>>
SINTON (Sinton is 30 minutes north of Corpus Christi).— Parishioners on Friday prayed for the priest who handles their baptisms, funerals, marriages, enjoys a good game of basketball outside the rectory and shares his Indian culture with the community while embracing South Texas’ as well.
The Rev. Shaji F. Varghese, 42, was in critical but stable condition late Friday at Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial. He was stabbed repeatedly Friday morning by a man who police said had attended the Mass he had just celebrated at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.
Varghese, known to parishioners as Father Shaji, came to Sinton seven years ago from India to take over the parish. The church administrator was ordained as a priest in 1994.
“Father Shaji is a loving guy, very caring about his people,” said Robert Gomez, 18, an altar server.
With yellow crime scene tape blocking the front door of the church, a handful of parishioners gathered outside to pray, crying and hugging. By 6 p.m., the group grew to about 100 people; some were former parishioners who returned to Sinton to offer support.
Parishioner Mary Alice Garcia said she respects Father Shaji and the efforts that he makes to be a good pastor.
The Rev. Eduardo Montemayor of the Diocese of Corpus Christi helped lead the group in prayers for their priest and for the man accused in the attack.
In small groups they shared thoughts about Father Shaji and some invited others to their homes to continue to pray.
Gomez, who served at Friday morning’s Mass, said the first thing Father Shaji did when he came to Sinton was to install two basketball hoops on the property.
“He loves basketball,” Gomez said.
Montemayor added that Father Shaji played a game Thursday night.
Montemayor and parishioners described Father Shaji as a spiritual man who also is fun and joyful and takes pleasure in sharing his culture, often through food. But he also embraced local traditions such as church picnics with hot dogs, hamburgers and mariachis.
One parishioner bragged about Father Shaji’s curry chicken. Others told of how he grows his own herbs, many of which are native to India. Gomez recalled a bitter melon Father Shaji once gave him from his garden that was much like a lumpy cucumber.
“He loves to talk to us and always asks questions like: How is school? How is work?” Gomez said. “He is genuinely interested in people and knows his parishioners well. He is very well loved.”
Staff writer Mike Baird contributed to this report. Contact Susan McFarland at 886-3778 or <<<<<<<<

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