Body of priest, who died in Scotland, to be sent home soon

Father Martin Xavier Vazhachira served at St John the Baptist Church, Corstorphine in Edinburgh.

Father Martin Xavier

The body of Father Martin Xavier Vazhachira, who was found dead on a beach in Scotland on June 23, is likely to be sent to Kerala this week after an autopsy and other formalities are completed in Edinburgh.

Official sources said that the cause of the death remained unknown. He was found on the beach in West Barns, near Dunbar town, nearly 28 miles east of Edinburgh.

The Consulate General of India in Edinburgh is in touch with the authorities on the issue.

Several priests from Kerala, Nagaland, Mizoram and other states have moved to Britain in recent years to serve in parishes.

A Scotland police spokeswoman said Vazhachira’s family has been informed about his death.

Vazhachira, 33, was ordained as a priest of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate in Kerala in 2013, and arrived in Scotland in July 2016 for post-graduate studies in the University of Edinburgh. He served in Catholic parishes in Falkirk and others places in Scotland.

Reports from Scotland said an alarm was raised last Tuesday after he failed to show up to celebrate Mass with the parish community of St John the Baptist, Corstorphine, where he was the administrator.

“The news of Fr Martin Xavier’s death comes as a great shock and a great sadness to all those who knew him and loved him,” Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh told the Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO).

“Our thoughts and, more importantly, our prayers are with him and with all his loved ones in both Scotland and India. May he rest in peace.”

The Syro-Malabar community in Scotland has been especially in grief: “It’s a big shock for them, because first of all he’s a priest belonging to that community and also the same area,” Fr Sebastian Thuruthippillil, parish priest of St Joseph’s Church in Whitburn and a chaplain to Scotland’s Syro-Malabar community, told the SCO.

“It’s (also) big news there in India; people are really shocked,” he added.

Source: Hindustan Times

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