It is with deep sorrow that we inform you about the sad news of the sudden death
of Rev. Fr. Zacharias Thottuvelil.
He was born on 18 th April 1958 as the 6 th son of Late Varkey and Mariyakutty to
Thottuvelil family. He hailed from St. George Church, Manvettam of the Eparchy of Palai,
Kerala. He was baptized on 23 rd May 1958 and was confirmed on 21 st May 1972. His did
his schooling at Government L.P.S. School, Memury and then at S.M.V. N.S.S. H.S. Kallara.
He did his initial studies for priesthood in Good Shepherd Minor Seminary, Palai (1974-
1976) and his Philosophy and Theology studies at St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary,
Vadavathoor (1977- 1984). He has obtained B.Ph., B.Th.
He was ordained a priest for the Eparchy of Palai on 26 th December 1983 by Bishop
Joseph Pallikaparambil. He served the Eparchy of Palai for 18 years in various parishes: As
Asst. Vicar in Vadakara from 1984 to 1987 and in Palai Cathedral from 1987 to 1988 and
C.Y.M. & H.C.M.S. Mekhala Director; as the First Parish Priest of Nambiakulam from 1989
to 1996 (started Computer Centre) and Palakadu near Palai from 1996 to 2001 (Built the
When the First Syro-Malabar Eparchy in the United States was established in the
year 2001, he was deputed to be part of it. He was appointed the first chancellor of the St
Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Diocese, Chicago. He was also the secretary to Bishop Mar
Jacob Angadiyath for 3 years. In 2003, he was appointed priest-in-charge of St. Thomas
Syro Malabar Church, Garland and then Mother of Perpetual Help Church, Miami and
finally of St. Joseph Syro Malabar Church, Houston. Meanwhile he got incardinated to the
St Thomas Eparchy, Chicago in 2013.
In 2018, he moved to the Eparchy of Shamshabad taking responsibilities as Priest-
in-charge of Anand and Karamsed near Ahmedabad in the Gujarat Region and he served
there for one year. He was dreaming to have a Church built for the communities there.
From 16 th to 20 th September 2019, Rev. Fr. Zacharias attended the retreat of the
Priests of the eparchy of Shamshabad, held at Hyderabad along with the other priests
serving at Gujarat. He attended the retreat faithfully and fruitfully and made the
sacrament of reconciliation. After the Retreat and the Priests Conference, along with the
other priests from Gujarat, he left for Anand on Saturday, 21 st September 2019. At 4.30
pm he reached his residence Laxmi heritage. By 5.30 pm, along with the neighbouring
family of Mr. Thomas, he went to the town to get some items for youth Onam
celebrations. After the shopping at 6.00 pm, he complained of dizziness and he had some
juice. Later he was fine and had his dinner together with Thomas’ family.
After having returned to his residence, by 9.30, he complained about his
respiratory problem to Thomas’ family. They rushed to his flat meanwhile contacting Mr.
Anthony, a parish member for assistance. By 10.00 pm, they rushed him to the nearby
Zydus hospital. They reached the hospital by 10.20 pm. Then by 10:40 pm the doctor
declared him dead. His last words were, "l have to offer mass tomorrow, O… God...”
On Sunday morning, 22 nd Sept. 2019, after medical and police clearance, NOC was
given that the body be taken to Kerala. The body will be taken to Kerala on Monday, 23 rd
morning from Ahmedabad to Kochi and from there to Muttuchira Hospital. After the
prayers conducted by Mar Joseph Kallarangatt, the body would be kept in the mortuary.
On 26 th Thursday, the body will be taken to his residence and the first part of the funeral
service will begin at his residence at Manvettam at 1.30 pm and the final rites at St.
George Church, Manvettam at 2.30 pm which will be presided over by Mar Jacob
Angadiyath, the Bishop of St. Thomas Eparchy of Chicago; Mar Raphael Thattil, the Bishop
of Shamshabad; Mar Jacob Murickan, the Auxiliary Bishop of Palai; and many other
priests from Chicago, Shamshabad, Palai and other places.
He is survived by Rosamma, Mary, Thresiama, Leelama, Joy, Baby and Sr. Gracy
Rev. Fr. Zacharias maintained a great smile on his face and tried to encourage
everyone with his sweet and decent words of appreciation. His character was noble and
he was serious in his priesthood. He encountered his sufferings in the right spirit of a
Christian disciple and offered them for the good of the Church and for self-sanctification.