June 14, 2012

Father Pierre Ceyrac SJ: The Last Moments and Funeral

Excerpt from the article "Fr. Pierre Ceyrac" in Madurai News Letter, June 2012
By Rev K. Amal SJ & Rev Henry Jerome SJ

(Photo Courtesy of Rev Henry Jerome SJ)

Fr. Pierre Ceyrac SJ

Father Pierre Ceyrac in 2011
In his residence at Loyola
By the year 2011, he started losing his memory  and often fell down, unable to support himself. As he needed nursing care due to varicose veins, the Loyola community put him up at the Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Chetpet from the end of 2011. He spent his time in prayer and conversations with the numerous guests both from India and abroad. In the beginning of May 2012, he had boils on his face due to scorching heat and he was admitted at K.S. hospital. On 9 May, he was taken back to the Home. On 27 May, Fr. K. Amal concelebrated Sunday Mass with Fr. Ceyrac and found him very bright and cheerful. On 29 May, after supper he went peacefully to sleep. Around 3.30 am, seeing his discomfort the maids called the Sisters for help, but he breathed his last due to severe cardiac arrest. He was taken to Ramachandra Hospital for embalming, as his relatives in France wanted to participate in the funeral.

Father Pierre Ceyrac Funeral
He was brought to the Loyola campus on 2 June at 10 am and kept for public homage at Saulier Hall. Many of his friends came to pay their last tributes to the saintly person who loved the poor ardently, truly making himself a man of God and a man for others. After a prayer at 4 pm by Fr. A. Victor, he was taken in procession to Christ the King Church, Loyola for the funeral Mass. The Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, Dr.A.M.Chinnappa, SDB presided over the Eucharist along with Fr. Sebasti L Raj, Provincial and a contingent of Jesuits and others. Fr. V. Henry Jerome, preaching the homily in Tamil, outlined the good qualities of Fr.Ceyrac as a Jesuit, social activist and human being. Fr.Provincial, in his sermon in English, recalled the beautiful memories of the missionaries from France to the Jesuit Madurai Province. Fr. Ceyrac was the last one, and he said, the French connection seemed to end in the death of this great man.

Father Pierre Ceyrac funeral
He warmly thanked the French province for the commitment and generosity with which it ensured the growth of the Madurai Province. At the end of the Mass, Mr. Pierre Fournier, the Consul General of France who represented the French Government, read out the farewell note by the French Ambassador, Prof. Packiaraj, a long time associate of Fr. Ceyrac, Fr. Antony Raj, SJ, who was closely accompanied by Fr. Ceyrac at the initial days of DACA, Vanishree, a little girl from Fr. Ceyrac Children’s Home for the Girls, Singanur, Mr. Henri Tiphange, a passionate Ex-AICUFer, and Ms. Veronique Ponchet, in charge of the Association of Pere Ceyrac, France and the niece of Fr. Ceyrac offered an emotional farewell. Fr. K. Amal, Rector, Loyola thanked everyone who played an important role in the life of Fr. Ceyrac, especially during the last part of life. He made a special mention of the Little Sisters of the Poor and Mr. Palani, who took care of Fr. Ceyrac with love and devotion in the last two years.
Fr. Oliver SJ, the representative of French Province, said the final commendation in the church and at the gravesite, Fr Provincial prayed the rite of committal. Fr. Ceyrac was laid to rest, while the poor children of his Homes sobbed. May his optimism get rooted in us. May his soul rest in peace, in Our Lord!

K. Amal SJ & Henry Jerome SJ

Father Pierre Ceyrac: A man of God, 
and a man for others


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