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First and longest-serving Bishop of Tura laid to rest

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From Our Correspondent

TURA, July 8: Thousands bid a tearful adieu to the beloved Bishop who was a pioneer, architect of the Catholic Church in Garo hills and one of the longest serving Bishops of Tura Diocese. Bishop Emeritus George Mamalassery was laid to rest at the Cathedral Mary Help of Christians Church here on Monday evening.
The main celebrant for the Funeral Mass was Rev John Moolachira, chairman of Northeast Bishops’ council, con-celebrated by Bishop of Tura Andrew R Marak and Auxiliary Bishop of Tura CJ Jose along with other Archbishops and Bishops from the Northeast region.
During these three days, requiem mass and prayers have been offered continuously for Bishop George Mamalassery by all the priests, religious and faithful from Tura Diocese.
It may be mentioned that he was the first Bishop of Tura Diocese and had served for 28 long years (1979-2007) and even after his retirement he chose to stay in Garo Hills and continue to serve the people of the region till his last breath.
Born on April 22, 1932, he was ordained on April 24, 1960 and his Episcopal Consecration was on March 18, 1979. He was known for his tireless efforts in promoting education, healthcare and social services especially for the underprivileged sections of the society. His selfless service and dedication to the people have left an impact on the lives of many.
During the funeral service, rich floral tributes were paid by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma along with his wife Mehtab Chandee A Sangma, Chairman Northeast Bishops’ Council, Rev John Moolachira, Archbishop of Shillong Diocese, Rev Victor Lyngdoh, Archbishop of Imphal, Rev Linus Neli, Archbishop Emeritus of Guwahati, Rev Thomas Menamparampil, Archbishop Emeritus of Imphal, Rev Dominic Lumon, Bishop Emeritus of Itanagar, Rev John Thomas, Bishop of Agartala, Rev Lumen Monteiro, Bishop of Bongaigaon, Rev Thomas Pullopillil, Bishop of Aizawl, Rev Stephen Rotluanga CSC, Bishop of Miao, Rev George Palliparampil SDB, Bishop of Tura, Rev Andrew R Marak, Bishop of Tezpur, Rev Michael Akasius, Bishop of Kohima, Rev James Thoppil, Bishop of Diphu, Rev Paul Mattekatt, Bishop of Dibrugarh, Rev Albert Hemrom, Auxiliary Bishop of Miao, Rev Denis Panipitchai, Auxiliary Bishop of Aizawl, Rev Joachim Walder, Bishop of Nongstoin, Rev Wilbert Marwein, and other dignitaries.
While offering his heartfelt condolence message on behalf of the Meghalaya government, the chief minister said, “We are here to mourn the passing of a remarkable individual Bishop George Mamalassery. His demise is a profound loss for Garo Hills, the Catholic community and all those who knew him.”
“Bishop Mamalassery was a true servant of God, dedicated to the well being of others; his selflessness, his compassion and vision have left an indelible mark in our lives. From his missionary work in Garo Hills and Northeast in particular to his tireless efforts in education, health and social service and has inspired many,” he said.
Further, Sangma mentioned that he was a mentor, a guide and a friend to many including his father Purno A Sangma. He then expressed his utmost gratitude to his numerous contributions for the people of Garo Hills and said that the people of Garo Hills can never forget his good works.
Condolence messages had been pouring in from all corners including from Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Nuncio in India, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State and Luis Antonio G Cardinal Tagle, Pro-Project Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Secretary which was read by Fr Lyngdoh T Sangma, Parish Priest, St Luke Church, Walbakgre.
Fr Thomas John, Principal, St Mary’s Higher Secondary School, Tura, Fr Sebastian Kurichlyll SDB, Salesian Provincial of Guwahati, Sr. Christina Mynsong, Superior General, MSMHC, Rev Dilseng M Sangma, General Secretary, Garo Baptist Convention, Sr Immaculate, Holy Cross Hospital, Tura, Msgr Joseph Thadathil, Vicar General, Diocese of Palai, Seldin Sangma, President, Catholic Union, Fr Joby Mamalassery, CST (Nephew of Bishop Mamalassery), Fr Kurian Padinjarayil were among others who offered a condolence message during the funeral service. Condolence message was also received from Khasi Jaintia Christian Leaders’ Forum (KJCLF), etc.
Former Tura MP Agatha K Sangma, former chief minister Mukul M Sangma, Raksamgre MLA Limison D Sangma, Tura MDC Bernard N Marak, West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Jagdish Chelani, Provincial Superiors, Mother General, Priests, Sisters, Brothers, government officials and people from all walks of life from Tura and beyond attended the funeral service.
Bishop Jose Chirackal, Auxiliary Bishop of Tura expressed the words of gratitude to all after the funeral service.
In his homily, Bishop of Tura Andrew R Marak expressed his immense gratitude to all the Archbishops, Bishops, Priest, all religious and laity for coming and taking part in the funeral service in spite of bad weather conditions and for praying for the soul of Bishop George Mamalassery.
Sharing his thoughts on Bishop Mamalassery, he said that he had served the people whole-heartedly and with utmost dedication without expecting anything in return. He also mentioned that people could not pronounce the name Mamalassery and therefore fondly called him Bishop Mama and added that in Garo Culture Mama refers to one of the most respectable persons in the family.
He also mentioned that Bishop Mamalassery had once said that he was convinced to be sent by God to serve as a missionary in Garo Hills. Further, speaking about his various contributions to the Garo society and Garo hills region in particular, he expressed his gratitude to the late Bishop and wished him greater glory in heaven.

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