Archbishop of Shillong dies in US car mishap, PM condoles

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HT Bureau

SHILLONG, Oct 12: Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong and Father Mathew Vellankal California of died in a road accident in California, United States.

The accident occurred October 10 when the two were travelling to Clearlake in California along with Father Joseph Parekkatt, another Indian priest.

Their car collided with a semi-truck in Colussa Country, California, according to a press note from the diocese of Oakland. The accident occurred around 11 pm (10:30 am India) on Thursday when the two were travelling to Clearlake in California along with Father Joseph Parekkatt.

Father Parekkatt, who was seriously wounded, was stable in a hospital, the press note says.

Salesian Archbishop Jala was 68. He had gone to the US to attend a meeting on English liturgy in New York.

Father Vellankal, 50, was the pastor of pastor of St. Isidore Parish in Danville, California, since 2016. He was a native of Kerala and had been ordained a priest in 1987.

Archbishop Jala was born on July 12, 1951, at Mawlai in Shillong.

He was ordained a priest for the Salesians of Don Bosco on November 19, 1977. He was the provincial of the congregation’s Guwahati province before he was appointed the archbishop of Shillong on December 22, 1999. His episcopal ordination was on April 2, 2000.

Archbishop Jala is the second Indian archbishop to die in a car accident abroad.

Earlier, Archbishop Alan de Lastic of Delhi died on June 20, 2000, in a car crash in Poland.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has mourned the passing away of Rev. Domnic Jala, the Archbishop of Shillong.

The Prime Minister tweeted he was anguished by the passing of the Archbishop. Modi said the Rev. Domnic Jala will always be “remembered for his impeccable service to the society and for his passion towards Meghalaya’s Progress. May his soul rest in peace.”

The North East India Regional Bishops’ Council (NEIRBC) has expressed grief in the death of Archbishop of Shillong Most Rev. Dominic Jala in a road accident.

“It is with great sadness that we bring you the news of the premature and sudden death of Most Rev. Dominic Jala the Archbishop of Shillong in a road accident in the United States of America,” stated a NEIRBC press release.

Archbishop Jala was actively involved in all matters connected with the church in North East India and CBCI. From 2012 to 2019 (September) he was also NEIRBC’s chairman, apart from being the chairman of the Liturgical Commission of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India for several years.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma also condoled the untimely demise of Archbishop Dominic Jala. Nagaland chief minister, Neiphiu Rio also joined in extending his condolences and tweeted, “Saddened to hear the passing away of Most Rev.


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