Fr. Luke Kalarickal

I am Fr. Luke Kalarickal, belonging to the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Frances de Sales. Born in India on May 25, 1960, I did my schooling and seminary studies in India. I was ordained a priest on April 23, 1988 in my home parish in the State of Kerala. Besides my Philosophical and Theological studies I also secured Bachelors degree in Art (B.A), Bachelors of Education and Masters in English Literature. As a priest I worked as pastor, associate pastor, Assistant Novice Master, Dean of Studies in our Seminary, teacher in our High School and as the Director of a Home for the Aged. As per the need of the pastoral ministries in USA I was sent by the Order to work in USA in the year 1997. In USA I worked as a Pastor in two parishes in the Diocese of Tyler, TX.

It was while working in St. Boniface Catholic Church in Chandler, TX, that I got the opportunity to do an extended unity of CPE from Mother Frances Hospital which is only 12 miles away from the parish I was working in. My clinical experiences were not in a hospital at that time; rather it was in a clinic. It was, indeed, quite challenging. But that boosted my spirit in clinical pastoral ministry and enhanced my pastoral conversation. My appointment by the Bishop in the year 2005 as the chaplain to Mother Frances Hospital enabled me to do the CPE Residency program and later to be certified by NACC. My work in the hospital enabled me to enter into the world of the suffering and to have an increased love in ministering to them. Entering into their emotional as well as spiritual world and working with them seem to be quite fulfilling and rewarding. When you see the face of Christ in each of the suffering you forget about
yourself. I had a touch of Mother Teresa’s experience. It is also an opportunity to share the joys of the parents of the new born. Thus my Pastoral Care ministry becomes a Scripture based one, namely, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep”. Often I find that ‘my presence’ is a wonderful ministry of companionship, comfort and assurance for the lonely patients and the staff.

I now realize that my inborn urge and taste for the pastoral care ministry is being fulfilled today. As a youngster I grew up seeing the sufferings of my mother and of one of my aunts, a religious sister, who was bed-ridden for 28 years due to meningitis. They both were wonderful inspirations for patience, compassion, understanding and accepting suffering in true Christian spirit. More over I myself suffered a lot in my younger days. I had a long lasting eye problem caused by a damage on the cornea. I have traveled with my father many places and hospitals for the treatment. I also had the Rheumatic Fever that affected my active life for a long time. Besides these I had also SMR surgery and another one for tonsils. These sicknesses were responsible for my meetings with many patients, doctors, hospitals, etc. This helped me to enter into a world of sufferings. I began to understand what it is meant by sufferings and pains. I became more and more conscious about how much people look for healing and relieve just as I myself looked for, many times. I wished if I could be a healer and comforter for the sick and the suffering. Since the circumstances didn’t let me I couldn’t materialize my wish. But in the course of time I realized that I could be a spiritual healer to them. That helped me to turn to the life of priesthood. Today I can see that all my experiences were directed to what I am today.