Changanassery: The funeral of Mar Joseph Powathil, the former Metropolitan Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Archdiocese of Changanassery, was held on Wednesday. A sea of humanity converged at the St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral, the famed Valiyapally, to bid adieu to the 92-year-old Metropolitan Emeritus who passed away on Saturday.
Priests, nuns, and the faithful came in large number to pay their last respects. In their midst laid Mar Joseph Powathil in eternal sleep, surrounded by white flowers and wearing golden-hued holy vestments. The flock that joined the funeral procession that commenced on Tuesday filled the street and sang hymns.
The body, that was kept at a private hospital in Chethipuzha, was brought to the Bishop’s residence at the headquarters of the archdiocese at 6.30 am on Tuesday. Throughout the day the clerics and laity continued to pour in to pay their last respects to Mar Joseph Powathil.
Following this, a Holy Mass and the first part of the funeral rites were conducted under the leadership of the chief celebrant Archbishop Joseph Perumthottam. In his sermon, Mar Perumthottam said that Mar Powathil was a person who had lived for the Church and that through his life, he had borne witness to the essence and fullness of a Church-centred life.
The funeral procession followed. The faithful from the Changanassery forane walked in the front.
The faithful from Kurumbanadam forane, which includes the home parish of Mar Powathil, formed the rear. Seminary students, nuns, and priests joined the procession by reciting prayers. A special vehicle, covered with glass and carrying the mortal remains of Mar Joseph Powathil, moved in the middle. Priests, nuns, and the faithful from the 250 parishes of the archdiocese took part in the funeral procession.
Initially, homage was paid under the leadership of the Cathedral Vicar Fr Dr Jose Kochuparambil and the trustees of the Church. After this, the Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Tharayil recited the office of the dead. Following this, prominent persons from the social, cultural, and political fields and the faithful offered their last respects in a continuous line.