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Father Manual discharges duty, one too many

He also performs a cleric's duties at the Ecumenical Prayer Centre, a 'union church' at Pachakkanam, where he has been working for the past four years.

Published: 25th February 2018 02:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2018 02:12 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

IDUKKI:He comes across as a vendor who sells fruits or supplies water to quench the thirst of tourists.  If you ask him whether he does anything else, he quickly replies: "I do everything." You make your guesses and give up. Hold your breath. I S Manual is a clergyman. In a makeshift tent atop Sitaram hill, a tourist spot near Vandiperiyar in Idukki, Fr Manual sells fruits and snacks. He also performs a cleric's duties at the Ecumenical Prayer Centre, a 'union church' at Pachakkanam, where he has been working for the past four years.

Fr Manual, who had served the church as pastor for 34 years, was appointed priest in the same diocese in 2015 after completing his theological studies in priesthood. The elevation from a pastor to a priest drastically cut short his monthly income. The 70-year-old, who has a wife and four children to look after, had no other go but to start doing other jobs.

"When I was a pastor, I used to get `1,500 as salary per month. When I became a priest, I had to work without salary. Hence, I started doing odd jobs and put a small stall here," said Fr Manual. "There's not much sale here and the shop could be dismantled any time as it stands on the Revenue Department's land. But I need to do it because I've to make both ends meet," he said.

Fr Manual has no complaints and is ready to perform his duties. "I consider my profession as holy. Materialistic rewards don't matter much to me. I'm sure I'll be rewarded by Jesus Christ in heaven," said Manual, who closes his shop at the time of marriages and funerals. He keeps aside a portion of his meagre income for the sick and bedridden. He finds it to be his duty.


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