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Theologian who headed Asian bishops' evangelization office dies

Father Jacob Theckanath was seen as a leader among officials of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: December 01, 2021 07:18 AM GMT

Updated: December 01, 2021 07:44 AM GMT

Theologian who headed Asian bishops' evangelization office dies

The funeral for Father Jacob Theckanath was due to take place on Dec. 1 at St. Thomas Church in Malayattoor in southern India's Kerala state. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Indian theologian Father Jacob Theckanath, former executive secretary of the Office of Evangelization of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), died on Nov. 28, a church communique said. He was 79.

Father Theckanath, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar in eastern India, was “very much involved in the field of evangelization, Bible and liturgy,” said the communique from Maryknoll Father William LaRousse, FABC assistant secretary-general.

A native of southern India's Kerala state, Father Theckanath was ordained a priest in 1967. He did his postgraduate studies in theology and sacred scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome before he began work with the Asian bishops.

His funeral was scheduled for Dec. 1 in his native parish of St. Thomas in Malayattoor under Eranakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese.

He headed the bishops’ Office of Evangelization from 2007-16. After he completed his second term in 2015, the bishops extended his appointment for a year as executive secretary in the period of transition.

He attended FABC plenary assemblies in 2000 in Bangkok, in 2009 in Manila and in 2012 in Xuan Loc, Vietnam.

Father LaRousse said the “highlights of his dedicated work were evident from the successful programs which he organized over the years.”

The seminars and consultations that Father Theckanath organized “touched and transformed the lives of many, playing an important role in evangelization in Asia,” the Maryknoll priest said.

“His untiring efforts and energy together with his generosity contributed” to the drafting of final statements of various FABC plenaries and programs.”

“He was a pillar among the Executive Secretaries and was consulted by and assisted many others,” said the priest note.

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