On the cool morning of 10th August, 2021, the Mumbai community rose up early to sing “Jubilate, Jubilate” to Fr Cyril Pullan as on this day he was completing 50 years of his dedicated ministry as a Pauline Priest. The celebration began with the Thanksgiving Eucharistic Celebration in our community chapel. In his introductory words, Fr Alfonso Elengikal briefed the gathering of his upbringing and highlighted his generous services to Pauline life and apostolate and his special love and unique contributions to our Hindi publications.
Fr Alfonso recalled that as a junior professed, he did the final proof reading of the first complete Catholic Hindi Bible printed and published by St Pauls in 1965, and he helped in the printing machine and in the binding of the same. His studies in Rome did not diminish his passion for our national language and he continued to teach, to write and to translate in Hindi, giving a major contribution to our Pauline Hindi publications.
Fr Alfonso quipped, “Though so many of us began our Pauline life in Allahabad and lived there so many years, Fr Cyril stands out as one of those few Paulines who realized the apostolic value of learning Hindi, our national language, and showed keen interest in mastering it, mostly by self-study and hard work from his very early years of formation.” “In the six decades of his Pauline life he has made valid contributions to every field of our apostolate…. He has by now translated more than ten books into Hindi from other languages and is always ready to do more.” He continues to assist in the publication of Ish Vachan (Hindi Bible Diary), Prabhu ka Din, and the books of Atmonnati Prakashan. He has to his credit the christening of our Hindi publications as “Atmonnati Prakashan”.
The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by the Jubilarian himself and Fr Varghese Gnalian, the Provincial, and Fr Johny, the Superior as co-celebrants at the altar. The community glorified God for His marvelous blessing by singing “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” with rhyme and rhythm. Bro James Uppani composed and sang solemnly the responsorial Psalm, “Tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinum Melchisedek” (You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedk).
The homily was given by the Provincial. In his homily, he mentioned the various responsibilities which Fr Cyril held in the Province namely as editor of Hindi Publication, as bursar in many communities, as teacher, translator, editor of Inspirational Quote, Sunday Liturgy, Prabhu ka Din, etc. The Provincial also appreciated his dedication to the apostolate, his spirit of prayer, personal discipline and poverty. He is very gentle and humble in character and friendly and approachable always. At his age of 79 he enjoys good health because of his disciplined habits in eating and daily exercise.
On this 50th Anniversary celebration Day, Fr Cyril once again uttered with joy and thanksgiving in Jesus’ own words, “This is my Body which is broken for you….this is my Blood poured out for you..”. Fr Cyril has truly lived his Pauline Priesthood in great fidelity and love, a true and loyal son of Alberione in the Indian soil.
After Communion, the Jubilarian thanked God for the gift his Pauline vocation and priesthood, he thanked his parents for his life and Christian upbringing, and the two uncle priests who encouraged him to become a priest and his uncle Fr Stephen Pullan, ssp who brought him to Society of St Paul. He gratefully remembered all those teachers in the school, our Blessed Founder Alberione in Rome and all the superiors, masters and others who had played vital roles in his priestly life and apostolate. He also thanked Fr Johny and all the community members for all their love and efforts in arranging this day as special and memorable for him.
The Solemn Felicitation Ceremony was kept for the evening when the Provincial community with local community gathered together in the dining hall for an entertaining time of fellowship and food. The program began with the grand entry of the golden boy in royal costume and everyone welcoming him with a thunderous applause. After a prayer dance, he was felicitated with a floral bouquet, with gifts and with songs. A pre-recorded interview with Fr Cyril was presented on the screen by Fr Renold, in which the Jubilarian touched the hearts of those present by sharing some of his happy and sad moments in his life. However, he said he was always happy to be a Pauline and he tried to make himself useful in the apostolate and joyful in his life.
The programme stretched into a “housie game” in which the first “jaldi five” was won by the golden boy himself. He also won other prizes during the rounds. Finally, the memorable Jubilee Day ended with grand dinner arranged by Fr Johny and our expert kitchen staff.
Fr Cyril and his beautiful life example as a convinced, committed, humble, simple Pauline Priest will remain always indelible in the minds of many people in the Pauline family and outside. He said “It is not a completion but a continuation”. May he continue to cherish and live fully his Pauline priestly life for many more years, enjoying good health. Ad multos annos!