Very Rev Fr Mathew Alakulam MCBS
- Founder of the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament
Fr Mathew Alakulam, the architect of the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS), was born on 30 th March 1888 at Poovathode near Bharananganam. After his primary and high school education he joined the Puthenpally Seminary as a scholastic of Changanassery Archdiocese. On 21 December 1913 he was ordained a priest by Mar Thomas Kurialassery.
Fr Mathew, a zealous young shepherd, served as assistant parish priest at Kurusumkal, Koonammavu, Mundankal, Cheruvandoor, Elamthottam, and Pravithanam and as parish priest at Poovathode, Edamaraku, and Elamthottam. Since 1919 he was professor of Syriac at Puthenpally Seminary. When Mar James Kalassery became Bishop of Changanassery he found none other than Fr Mathew as his first secretary. He was superior of the Franciscan Third Order, and the mastermind behind the Orphanage Press and Priests’ Provident Fund in the diocese of Changanassery.
Foundation Of MCBS
On 7 th May 1933 Fr Mathew Alakulam together with Fr Joseph Paredom founded the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS) at Mallappally Mission church. Today MCBS, a religious congregation of the pontifical right, is known as the Benedictines of the Syro-Malabar Church due to her unique liturgical, Eucharistic, and missionary charism and contributions.
Loud Speaker Of The Holy Spirit
Even when Fr Mathew was a young priest he was renowned for his inspiring speeches. His writings and sermons on Holy Spirit were so famous that he came to be known as the ‘Loud Speaker of the Holy Spirit’. Attuned to the voice of the Spirit and walking long distances barefooted, he preached hundreds of retreats in every nook and corner of Kerala.
Like St Ephrem Fr Mathew was a powerful instrument in the hands of the Holy Spirit. He was sub-editor of the magazine Eucharist and Priest published from Puthenpally Seminary and was the founding editor of Vedaprachara Madhyasthan, the official tongue of Changanassery Archdiocese. He wrote many articles and authored 24 theological books.
Missionary And Mystic Of The Eucharist
Fr Mathew, a great mystic and missionary of the Eucharist, often exclaimed in joy and wonder, “praised be to the Most Holy Mystery of the Eucharist full of goodness and glory. Let there be worship and glory to the Most Blessed Sacrament as innumerable times as there are stars in heaven and clouds in sky”. He was called for eternal reward on 21st December 1977 and his mortal remains were buried in the church at the MCBS mother house,Kaduvakkulam.
Very Rev Fr Joseph Paredom MCBS
Father Joseph Paredom, one of the most brilliant and saintly sons of the Syro-Malabar Church , was born on 15 December 1887 at Mutholapuram in Palai diocese. After high school studies at Puthuvely and Mannanam, on 9 January 1908 he joined the Puthenpally Seminary as a scholastic of the Changanassery Archdiocese. There he found his closest friend and the greatest personality, the Most Holy Eucharist. On 28 th December 1914 he was ordained a priest by Mar Thomas Kurialassery.
Father Joseph, a good shepherd who won hearts of his sheep by his love and gentleness, praiseworthily served at various parishes such as Mutholapuram, Bharananganam, Muttuchira, Thathampally, Kainady, Vadakara, Chemmalamattam, and Marangattupally.
The deep desire of Father Paredom to become a religious was consented on 19 April 1933 by Mar James Kalacherry, the Archbishop of Changanacherry. Led by the Holy Spirit, on 7 May 1933 Fr Mathew Alakalam and Father Joseph Paredom founded the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS).
Trusting fully in the Eucharistic Jesus and heeding always to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, Father Joseph, the first Superior General of the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, courageously led the congregation during its initial 22 years.
Prophet Of The Most Holy Eucharist
As John the apostle at the bosom of Jesus in the Upper Chamber (Jn 13,25), during his old-age Father Joseph spent most of his time before the Blessed Sacrament, thanking, adoring, praising, and glorifying Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist. Like a branch united to the vine (Jn 15,5) he experienced God’s love and intimacy in a special way in the Holy Eucharist, which is evident from his words, “How lovely to dwell in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament! What there can be more joyful than this! That is what God has given us”. Light Lit On The Mountain Father Joseph Paredom, the role model for the Eucharistic Millennium and the Eucharistic Year, received his eternal crown on 21 August 1972. His mortal remains were kept at the MCBS Mother House, Kaduvakulam, Kottayam. Today, like a light lit on the mountain, Father Joseph illumines everyone in the Third Millennium by teaching us, “the goal of apostolic endeavour is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of his Church, to take part in the Sacrifice and to eat the Lord’s Supper” (SC 10).
Exhumation and Reburial
The mortal remains of our venerable Founders, Fr. Mathew Alakulam and Fr. Joseph Paredam were exhumed from the tombs at Kaduvakulam and reburied temporarily in the tombs prepared in our Lisieux Minor Seminary chapel at Athirampuzha, on 12th May 2009 in the presence of Mar Joseph Perumthottam, the Arch Bishop of Changanacherry.