(08.08.1938 - 13.01.2018)
Fr George Kandathil was a simple and sober person who could hide a thousand feelings behind his innocent smile. After seeing his enthralling smile, God the Father would have appointed him as the gate-keeper to welcome people into the heavenly banquet. Though my life with him was short, Fr George has left behind immortal memories in my heart with his unembellished life. It is the same feeling that most people share about the undecorated and exemplary religious life of Fr George. He left us for his heavenly reward on January 13 after a brief period of illness.
Fr George was born on August 8, 1938 in Alappuzha and joined the Society of Jesus in 1955. He had his novitiate at Beschi College, Juniorate and Philosophy studies at Sacred Heart College Shembaganur. After completing his theology at De-Nobili College, Pune he got ordained there itself on March 17, 1967. A major portion of his priestly life was spent as pastor in various parishes, mostly in the dioceses of Calicut and Kannur. The parishes he served include Pattavum, Mattul, Cherukunnu, Azhikode, Beypore and Malaparamba. Fr George was a wonderful pastor who always engaged in the lives of people entrusted to his care. People fondly remember him as a wise and gentle priest who cared for them with compassion deep concern. Even in his retired life at Christ Hall, Fr George showed great enthusiasm to visit his former parishioners and to maintain close relationship with them. He used to walk with a meditative rhythm, and never in a hurry. In his quiet manner Fr George slowly walked into the lives of his parishioners and inserted himself into their hearts.
Fr. George remained a Latin teacher at Beschi College, Dindigul for a long time. He was my grammar teacher for a year at Samanvaya, the Pre-Novitiate House. Our batch mates always felt that the 'rough and tough' style of Wren and Martin grammar book does not go along with the innocent nature of Fr George. However, it was his simple way of teaching that broke the hardness of Wren and Martin and we could easily follow him. He was a brilliant teacher who had a wonderful, compassionate way with the students and a rare sense of humour that drew them to him. He had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge which always kept him busy with reading and asking innocent questions. His students remember him as a mentor who taught not only English grammar and Latin but also valuable life-lessons that guided them to success.
Fr George was a simple man who enjoyed the simple things that life offered. He enjoyed the spiritual enrichment of simplicity till the very end of his life. He could make life comfortable with very minimum needs and he never bothered about a secure life. I never heard him speaking ill of anybody. He was a virtuous man who never had any complaint in life. Even after retirement he served as spiritual father at the Divine Union Vocationery at Mulayam. From 2014 he had been taking rest in Christ Hall, Calicut…. In Fr George we have lost a committed Jesuit and a Zealous missionary who radiated joy on his smiling face. We now pray that God reward him as he has journeyed to meet his Lord face to face.