Monday, 30th October 2017

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Church to carry on Archbishop Dominic Jala's work

Jala had started translating the Missal from Latin to English

By Our Correspondent in Shillong
  • Published 14.10.19, 12:27 AM
  • Updated 14.10.19, 12:27 AM
  • 2 mins read
Tributes paid to Archbishop Dominic Jala at his house in Laitumkhrah Telegraph Picture

Archbishop Dominic Jala of the Shillong Archdiocese who passed away in California had left an unfinished task — translating the Missal from Latin to English.

The Missal is a book containing texts used in the Catholic Mass throughout the year.

Archbishop Jala, 68, died on the spot, along with another Catholic priest, at Colusa county, Oakland, California, around 10.30am on Friday (2.20pm on Thursday, local time). Another priest was critically injured.

The news of his death was announced on Saturday by the Shillong Archdiocese diocesan administrator, Father John Madur.

Speaking to The Telegraph on Sunday at the Archbishop’s house next to the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, Father Madur said the Archbishop was working on the Missal’s translation. “While I was tasked with translating the Missal from English to Khasi, the Archbishop was translating it from Latin to English. He completed half the work,” Father Madur said, adding that the work would be completed.

The Archbishop, known for his scholarship and intellectual acumen, was well-versed in Latin, Italian, German, French, Spanish, Garo, Hindi, Greek, Hebrew and English, he added.

Father Madur credited the Archbishop for having started the Small Christian Community, which was replicated across the Northeast, and for the Sunday catechism classes held in every parish and village.

The Archbishop had left Shillong on September 17 to attend the ad limina (periodic or required) visit of the bishops of the Northeast to Rome. On September 30, he arrived in Washington DC to attend a meeting of the International Commission for English Liturgy. The meeting in Washington DC ended on October 6 and he, then, went to California to meet his friends.

“He was scheduled to return to Shillong on October 16,” Father Madur said, adding that the last time he communicated with the Archbishop was on October 10 when he responded to his email. The news about the accident was informed by a priest in California to his counterpart here on Friday.

On Sunday, the Shillong Archdiocese intimated the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in New Delhi about the Archbishop’s demise. Most Rev Giambattista Diqua-ttro is the current Apostolic Nuncio for India and Nepal.

The mortal remains of the Archbishop, scheduled to arrive next week, will be laid to rest on the cathedral compound, as per the Archbishop’s wish. However, as per convention, deceased bishops are laid to rest inside cathedrals. “Archbishop Jala told priests and laity that his body should be buried outside the cathedral and not inside,” Father Madur said.

The church has chosen an area within the cathedral compound and work is on to prepare the grave where the Archbishop’s mortal remains would be laid to rest.

Father Madur said the date of arrival of the Archbishop’s mortal remains is unclear as the autopsy and other formalities were yet to be carried out in California. It is expected that the body would arrive either on Thursday or Friday.

Since Saturday, there has been con celebrated requiem mass at the cathedral of Mary Help of Christians in Laitumkhrah at 5.30pm and this will continue until the mortal remains arrive here.

Along with Archbishop Jala, Father Matthew Vellankal, pastor of St Bonaventure in California, died on the spot. Another priest, Father Joseph Pareckatt, was taken to hospital with serious injuries but was said to be stable.