Golden Jubilee Celebration of Rev.Fr.Eusebius o.f.m

The people of Manapad are celebrating the golden jubilee of the priestly ordination of Rev.Fr.Eusebius o.f.m. Cap on 13th May 2001. His baptism name is Susai Michael Vaiz, son of Peter Nicholas Cruz Vaiz and Theresammal Fernando. He was born 03.09.1921. "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you" (Jn 15:16) are the words of Our Lord. They are true when we look back at the life of this pious priest.

 In 1935 in Manapad 8 people were attacked by typhoid fever, At that time there was no proper medical care. All the 7 people passed away, but this young boy of 15 was miraculously cured. After completing his high school studies, he had a great thirst to join the Capuchin order and follow the steps of the great St.Francis of Assisi. The then Parish Priests Fr.Ambrose Missier, Fr.Antony Fernando and Fr.Benedict Fernando kindled that fire. For sometime he was working as an accountant in his uncle's factory at Kadambur. When he came home he opened his mind to his parents. But his parents were reluctant to sacrifice their son for the following reasons:

1.      He is the eldest son of the family and the second son is 7 years younger to him.

2.      The Capuchin order is a rigorous one and there were no Tamilians at that time.

For the first reason he told that his brother Raphael would come out well in life and take care of the parents till their ends (It became true that his brother passed all degrees creditably and became the Head Master of St.Joseph's High School at the age of 24 (!952-1985). For the other question he had only one answer that he should follow the foot steps of St.Francis of Assisi. The parents were not convinced.

The day came he had to leave for Kadambur to resume his job as the accountant. But he went straight to Chennai. His plan was to join the seminary at Francispet, Mangalore. This young man boldly entered into one compartment and occupied a seat. The soldiers objected, but he won't get down. They complained to their commander. The commander came. He said that  none other than the army personnel could travel in that reserved train. Then this young man opened his heart to the commander. He was a catholic! He took special care of him. From Mangalore to Francispet he took him in his jeep.

Meanwhile his parents found 2 letters under the statue of Our Lady in their house - one addressed to his parents the he was leaving to be in the foot steps of St.Francis of Asissi and another acceptance letter to be signed by his dad and sent to the Superior of the ashram in Mangalore. His parents submitted to the will of God and immediately sent the letter of acceptance to the Superior. From that time his parents sent an amount every month to Fr.Guardian for his maintainence.

He was ordained priest on 11th april 1951 at the Friary Chapel, Kotagiri along with 5 others. His parents and the whole family attended the ordination. Five others had no parents then. So when the time came to get the blessing of their parents before the ordination all the six got the blessings from the parents of Fr.Eusebius.

He was given a warm welcome at Manapad on 13th April 1951. The Fr.Joachim Fernando was the Parish Priest of St.James. He is the 12th priest from Manapad and is the first capuchin priest from Tamil Nadu. His mission started on the very next day. A man in the Victoria Hospital was nearing his end. He would not make confession or receive the last sacrament. The priests and the Legion of Mary tried but in vain. The Fr.Eusebius went to the hospital and consoled him. At once he made his confession and breathed his last peacefully.

He became a popular preacher. He covered all the villages and towns of Tamilnadu, preaching the word of God. Like St.Francis of assisi he was an instrument of peace. He went to Srilanka, Malaysia and Singapore to preach the word of God.

He seems to follow the words of the Lord "Take nothing for your journey, neither bread nor money" very scrupulously. Once he went to a parish in Chennai. As usual he had no money, no bread and only one dress which he had on. The Parish Priest received him at the Station and took him to his house by his bicycle. On the way his old cassock got entangled in the wheels and was torn to pieces. The Parish priest asked Fr.Eusebius whether he had another cassock. "No" was the solemn reply. That priest was kind enough to get him 2 cassocks. Perhaps he may be having them even now! He believed in God and got twofold.

On another occasion he was to preach on a Jubilee celebration of a church near Salem. He came to Trichy station and got ticket to Salem. He saw a train just moving. He asked the TTR  in the train whether the train was moving for Salem. The TTR did not hear him and he replied "Get in Father". So Fr Eusebius entered into a compartment. After sometime the TTR checked the tickets. He was travelling in the opposite direction! It was an Express train and it would stop only after 3 hours. The TTR said "Father don't be worried.  But you have to take ticket to Dindigul and back to Trichy. Then you can use this ticket". Father said "It is not my mistake. You have misguided me and I don't have any money either". The TTR then consulted with his companion. They took special care of him, supplied him proper food and brought him to Salem safely. He gave a Rosary to the TTR as his present. He was very glad to receive it. But he was a hindu.

In Tuticorin diocese he was appointed the first Parish priest of Amalinagar (near Trichendur). The people were all sea going, living in huts. Early morning at 5 am they could hear his voice through the loud speakers preaching the words of Christ. He went around and roused the children and brought them for the holy mass. The people loved him very much. When he left Amalinagar he said "God is always with you. Now you are living in huts. But when I come again here I will not see any huts". Really  now they are not living in huts. Among the coastal villages it is the only village having no conflicts or parties between them. So at the time of the celebration of the silver jubilee of the church they honoured him building a stage in his name "Fr.Eusebius Memorial" even when he is alive.

He was appointed Parish priest of Idinthakarai when the village was in trouble. About 40% of the people converted to other religion. When he came here as Parish Priest his simple life and mission changed their mind and most of them returned to the Lord. He even attended the funeral of the hindus and prayed at their cemetry. None dared to ask him any question.

Now he is 80, still doing his mission silently. His eye-sight is poor. He is now in Assisi ashram, Pambanvilai. His guardian and the whole community regard him as their model and a treasure to their Order.

Let us pray for him. And praise our Lord.