St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Adimali, Ernakulam District, Kerala was in the news! The Mangalam Daily reported a couple of days back on the funeral of a 60 year old individual, who committed suicide because he couldn’t afford treatment for his diabetes / kidney trouble. He left his family in deep sorrow.
Death is the normal end of life, but suicide is a cry for help. From the news report its is clear that he belongs to an Orthodox parish. I have some puzzling questions. Did the parish know about his condition or request? Was there any effort from the Church to help this individual in any way? Did they explore possibilities to help this family out by getting the needed medical help? Why does the Church have a Medical College and other medical establishments?
As far as I know, there are several parishes outside Kerala, including the parish that I am serving, especially in the US and Gulf countries, who are willing to help deserving and legitimate cases. So, if the diocese or the said parish did not know about such services, please update your information. If the parish has done what they could, then it is beyond anyone’s guess or control.
Secondly, this issue is opening a major theological and ethical question to all members of the Church. What are our priorities? We spent millions of rupees to celebrate a silver jubilee or reception of a bishop elect or to celebrate a palli perunnal. I am not saying such celebrations are wrong but do we have a certain amount set apart to help people and prevent his untimely death? Mr. Joy has three children.
Our ministry needs to go beyond regular house visiting to more personal relationship with families. “Parson is the person of the community” with a responsibility to attend to the “total need” of the individual and family. Every parish or diocese should have an emergency trust to help those, who are in need. If they cannot get adequate help then they should contact other parishes or dioceses, who can help. Parishes shall collect funds to help the poor before they demolish and rebuilt new churches.
If Mr. Joy’s family needs financial assistance with the education of their children, St. Thomas Community Services, 805 Glenn Parkway, Hollywood, Florida USA can partially support them through their parish. I am sure more parishes from Kerala dioceses and outside Kerala dioceses will come forward to help this family.
St Thomas Church, Adimali is under ANKAMALI DIOCESE (Telephone 0484-2624339).
Achan used to visit Joy quite often and was very helpful.Let us all pray for the family. The 40th day of demise falls on Saturday.–This information was passed by Thomas David from Kottayam. Readers may contact the church for more details _ Editor