A young man who survived a train accident is the first priest from the eastern Indian state of Odisha to be ordained for the Missionaries of Faith, a congregation that strives to keep priests and religious in their commitment and faith.
“I received my vocation from the 2010 train accident at Berhampur,” says Sanatan Malabishyoi, who was on September 5 ordained at St. Mother Teresa Parish, Chandrapur, a parish under the diocese of Rayagada in Odisha.
Narrating the accident, he said was traveling from Berhampur to Balasore and fell on a rail track as he was on the platform. A goods train arrived suddenly.
“I was shocked, frightened and speechless and could not do anything. My leg was crushed, and I lost hope to survive. My luggage and certificate were also smashed,” he recalls.
However, some people pulled him out from the track and rushed to nearby Janani Hospital in Berhampur. “On the way I promised God that if I survived I would dedicate the rest of my life to serve him by becoming a priest,” Malabishyoi recalls.
He says a miracle happened as the medical report showed no serious damage to his the leg or any part of the body. He took some medicine for a swollen leg and body pain.
The 28-year-old new priest told Matters India that the accident taught him to “live life in the presence of possibilities and impossibilities, difficulties and easiness, challenges and comforts with the Lord Jesus.”
Around 1,500 faithful, 30 priests and 45 nuns attended the ordination of the eldest of six children of Nikardo and Malabishoyi.
He was born April 2, 1992, at Bandri, a Catholic village under the Chandrapur Parish.
Malabishyoi did his primary education in Muniguda and completed tenth grade in 2009 from Godapur, High School, in Kandhamal. He joined the minor seminary of Mary Queen of Confessors of Faith Ajampuri, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh the following year.
After Philosophy and theology in Andhra Pradesh, he was ordained a deacon in the St. Paul’s Province of the congregation at the Palakad district of Kerala state.
Meera Malabishyoi, mother of the new priest, said, “I am filled with joy and pride that my priest son dedicates his life for the sake of Christ.”
Bishop Aplinar Senapati of Rayagada, who led the ordination ceremonies, said in his homily that the call to priesthood comes from God.
”You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit, fruit that will last and so that whatever you ask in my name that Father will give you,” the Vincentian prelate quoted the Bible to explain vocation.
Father Santosh Kumar Pandika, vice rector of the new priest, described Father Sanatan as “a man of principle and prayerful, man of punctuality and responsibility.”
The Missionaries of Faith congregation was founded as a pious union in Italy by Anna Maria Andreani and Father Luigi Duilio Graziotti on December 25, 1982. Later Cardinal Joseph Siri later raised it as the Missionaries of Faith congregation.
It has two provinces in India — St. Peter Province, Eluru, in Andhra Pradesh, and St. Paul Province in Kerala. It has 35 priests in India. The congregation also works in the Australia, Germany, the United States and Vietnam.
The congregation is dedicated to help priests and religious to persevere in the Catholic faith. It aims to help priests in crisis and foster ecumenism for the unity of all believers in Christ.
The ordination coincided with the feast of St Teresa of Kolkata.
Bishop Senapati recalled that the saint loved priests “very much.” He said as a priest he had taken some seminarians to meet Mother Teresa and asked her to give some guidelines. In her 45-minute talk to the seminarians, he stressed the need for young priests to remain prayerful and faithful and humble so that they could adjust to all situations.
The new priest said he likes Saint Mother Teresa who dedicated her life in the service of the poor, needy, downtrodden. “My love for the poor and needy comes from St. Mother Teresa. I am glad that I am ordained on the 25th death anniversary of the mother, who is my model,” he added.