By Vicki Clark
Copper Basin News
“So far, so good,” says Fr. Matthew Thayil, MSFS, as he settles in as the newest administrator at St. Joseph Parish in Hayden.
Fr. Matthew, who took over the Parish in July, wants to keep the Parish on course and will work to do that, but more importantly to him is the desire to minister to the people who need him the most.
“There are no major problems within the workings of the Parish that can’t be fixed,” Fr. said. So he has set his sights on seeing to the people as their Pastor.
Visiting the sick and homebound is his first priority, followed by perhaps contacting those for whatever reasons are no longer interested in attending Mass. “Church is not the building, but the people…people welcoming people, that’s the message that I want to convey,” he said. He added that he is looking forward to when he will be able to reach out to all those who need him.
“People turn away from the church for a variety of reasons, because they are unable to attend Mass or maybe they are not interested anymore. I want to be able to help these people if they let me,” he said.
He is also very interested in developing “Faith Formation Classes” what he calls the CCD or Catechism program for the youth of the Parish. “It’s so important that parents be involved in this process, parents need to pay attention and attend to their duties involving their children,” he said. “It can’t be left up to the CCD teachers.”
Fr. Matthew was born and raised in India and completed high school studies in 1955. After finishing Inter Science in Nirmala College, Musvattupazha, he joined the St. Joseph Mission Home Palai in 1957. Soon after he entered Fransalian Seminary Pune. After finishing his novitiate he made his first vows in May of 1961 and after completing further studies, he was ordained priest on Sept. 21, 1967.
During his many years of ministry Fr. Matthew served in a wide range of capacities largely in the realm of education. Along the way he earned several degrees including a M.A. in English and added a course in Counseling.
In the summer of 1995, Fr. had the opportunity to visit England, France, Switzerland, Italy and the United States. During this visit to the U.S., he had an experience in Pastoral ministry at St. Patrick Church, Norcross in Atlanta, Georgia for six weeks. He returned to India and continued to work in education till the year 1997. At the end of his term of three years as the Bursar of the Nagpur Province (1997 -2000) and at the request of his Superior General, Fr. Matthew was sent to the U.S. for Pastoral ministry again at St. Patrick, Norcross. He soon after had to return to India.
He was once again sent to the U.S. as administrator of St. Joseph’s Parish in Colfax, Louisiana, in Alexandria Diocese, and after five years of ministry he was transferred to Tyler, Texas to serve in the Wellspring Fransalian Center for Spirituality.
In 2011 Fr. Matthew was transferred to the Diocese of Tucson and was appointed by Bishop Gerald Kicanas as Parochial Vicar at SS. Peter and Paul Church in Tucson. It was from there that he came to St. Joseph Parish in Hayden.
In Fr. Matthew’s vast ministry he says he really has not had any real problem dealing with people, and if he did, he learned from the experience.
“I just adjust according to the situation, do what I can, and leave the rest to God,” he said. And that’s what he plans to do as he tends to his flock at St. Joseph.