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Indian Co-Founder a “Servant of God”

THRISSUR, India, JUNE 11, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Indian Father Joseph Vithayathil, co-founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Family and spiritual director of its founder, has been declared a “Servant of God.”

“Servant of God” is the title given to a person who has been inscribed in the register of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, in Rome, to open a cause of canonization.

The news was received with a Eucharistic celebration on Monday, presided over by Bishop James Pazhayattil, at the Blessed Mariam Thresia Pilgrimage Center in Kuzhikkattussery. After the Mass, the document was read declaring Father Vithayathil a “Servant of God.”

The historical commission for Father Vithayathil’s cause of canonization was instituted last September.

The Indian priest was born on July 23, 1865, in Puthenpally, in the state of Kerala. He was ordained a priest in 1894.

After working in parishes in the Diocese of Thrissur, Father Vithayathil became the spiritual director of Blessed Mariam Thresia Mankidiyan, who founded the Congregation of the Sacred Family in 1914 with headquarters in Kuzhikkattussery.

Sister Annie Palathingal, superior general of the congregation, told SAR News that profound faith and spiritual vision enabled Father Vithayathil to discern the work of the Holy Spirit in Thresia’s life. He died on June 8, 1964.

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