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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

An Interview with Father Stephen Nadakuzhackal

Gordon: When and Where did you attend Seminary?

Father Stephen: Minor Seminary: From 1959 to 1962 in Mount Mary Arumanoor, Ettumanoor, Kottayam Dt., Kerala, India. Major Seminary: From 1963 to 1969 in St. John’s Regional Seminary, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Gordon: What was the most challenging course that you took and why?

Father Stephen: The most challenging course I took was Indian Philosophy and Spirituality, as all my Mission Service was going to be among the Poor People of the Most Remote Rural Village Areas of Andhra Pradesh, especially in Visakhapatnam Area. MY PASSION IS TO SERVE THE MARGINALIZED POOREST OF THE POOR.

Gordon: Where are some of the places you have served?

Father Stephen:

1) From 1970 to 1981, 11 years in the St. Peter’s Cathedral Parish, Gnanapuram, Visakhapatnam, Assistant first, then Parish Priest, In the Diocese of Visakhapatnam.

2) From 1981 to 1992, 12 years in R.C.M. Church, Mandapeta, East Godavairi District, Parish Priest, In the Diocese of Visakhapatnam.

3) From 1991 to 1993, 2 ½ years in St. Theresa Church, Rajam, Srikakulam, as Parish Priest, In the Diocese of Srikakulam.

4) From 1994 to 1996, 2 years, as Director of the Diocesan Social Service Centre, Srikakulam, In the Diocese of Srikakulam.

5) An unfortunate incident of failed Attempt of Murder on me by poisoning in 2003. Only in 2007, I came to know about it, and with that, I went into Terrific Shock, Trauma, and had to undergo prolonged Psychiatric Treatment and Complete Rest at home most of the time, and occasionally in the Diocese, for several years. Finally, I had to go for Retirement, and till 2016 I was without any Assignments, Mostly at home and partially in the Diocese.

6) In 2017 I decided to go to East Africa and take up Mission Work again in different environments, made the necessary arrangements with the “Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales” (MSFS) of East Africa Province, who are doing wonderful Mission Service in the 3 East African Countries of Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. I went and joined them in March 2017 as an Associate Member of the MSFS Religious Society. First in Tanzania, then in Uganda, my 3 years of Mission Experience was wonderful. In both places, Parishes with Schools and Boardings for Boys and Girls, above 1000 each, I gained plenty of valuable Pastoral Experience among the Elders and Youth of Africa. Poverty and Religious Fervor of the People of Africa touched me deeply, and I returned back to India, for good, in this January 2020, with a firm determination to turn my full attention for the rest of my life specifically for the service of the Very Poor in the Rural Villages, sincerely and dedicatedly. Already when I was still in Uganda, I gave shape to my Dream Baby “SNEHA SMILE SEVA SOCIETY” (Love Smile Service Society) and its LOGO, got it registered in India in my absence in August 2019. After my return to my Diocese in India, for good and no more going back to Africa, I completed the rest of the formalities for the proper functioning of the Society, and now it is a fully legally Registered Entity to take up any Social Action.

7) I have visited the USA thrice in the past, in 1989, 1994 and 2018. In my 1994 visit, I worked 2 months in a Parish at Bronx, New York, as a Summer Substitute. Never at any time, I stretched my hand before anyone for any help, even as a Missionary I never like to be a BEGGAR FROM INDIA. But now seeing the pitiable condition of the poor people of the villages, whom I serve even at this my retirement age of 78 through Love Smile Service Society, I don’t mind being a Beggar for Christ’s sake and His countless Poor, both Believers and Non-Believers. The Beneficiaries of the Society Programs will finally come to be a few millions. More than 30 villages surrounding the Project Village, Thalavaram, are our first target group of people to get our Charity Services.

Gordon: Please prove an overview of the poverty in the people that you serve?

Father Stephen: More than 85% of the Population in this Srikakulam District is in the Rural Villages. Only a very limited number are in the Sub-urban and Urban areas, where there are a lot of slum dwellers. In the villages where we operate, people are extremely poor, daily laborers, hand to mouth survival situations as seasonal and occasional labor opportunities keep them on tender hooks throughout the year. Half starvation, sometimes without even One Square Meal A Day, very often they find it quite difficult to make both ends meet. The aftermath of COVID-19 effects has made the Rural Folks’ life situation very miserable and long-lasting.

Gordon: Please provide an overview of your work at Love Smile Service Society?

Father Stephen: Our Mission includes:

(1) Caring for orphan children, abandoned elderly men and women, widows, the mentally and physically handicapped.

(2) Organize Self Help Groups of men and women and programs for the unemployed.

(3) Provide technical training in carpentry, welding, electricity, computer training, tailoring, handicrafts, etc.

(4) Assist people with Cancer, HIV, TB, Leprosy, and other life-threatening illnesses.

(5) Assist the homeless and those living in temporary shelters to have somewhat decent and permanent housing facilities; and

(6) Manage a Medical Dispensary for inmates, and for the poor in and around the surrounding villages of the Project Village Area.

Gordon: How prevalent is Covid-19 amount the people that you serve?

Father Stephen: COVID-19 is heavily overburdening the people whom we serve. We have developed a comprehensive plan to prevent further infections, and care for those who are infected with required facilities and medical equipment, hiring several new staff members and volunteers. We need significant financial support to provide and facilitate these services

Gordon: Can the people that you serve afford to buy masks to prevent Covid-19 transmission?

Father Stephen: The people that I serve are so poor and without daily work or any income in the wake of this terrible Pandemic COVID-19, which is steadily increasing alarmingly day by day. People are really in great dilemma what to do. Nothing to eat, no money to go to a Doctor for any treatment under any symptoms of Corona, even children get no attention when they have to go about without empty stomachs.

The village people’s living conditions being so precarious, where will they find the resources to purchase Face Masks or Sanitizers to confront COVID-19. They just leave things to their Fate, and in God’s Hands. Rarely anyone in the villages uses the Masks or Sanitizers, except the Middle Class affordable sections of people. Those living in temporary shelters find the sky above as their Permanent Roof, and God their only Protector and Provider. Masks and sanitizers are not their Cup of Tea! 

Gordon:  What impact has the Covis-19 pandemic has on the religious beliefs of the people whom you serve

Father Stephen: This unprecedented devastating and global Pandemic has shocked and awakened the Conscience of the people to have more and more Faith in God’s Protection and Merciful Loving Care towards Humanity. People’s Religious Beliefs and the real need of dependence on God, have become a timely reminder to people, as a Positive Side of Corona, despite its devastating and long lasting sufferings and financial breakdown everywhere.

Though churches are now open and Masses on Sundays and important days take place, majority of the people are unable to attend, due to the Restrictions of lockdowns, social distancing, non-transportation facilities etc. Even to watch in TV or YouTube from homes the Online Mass and Prayer Services Providers, 95% of the people don’t have any such facilities. So they have the Family Prayers, and keep their union with God. In fact, even the hard hearted and non-caring types of people have now become more Religious Minded. That is one uniting factor of Corona, besides taking many to the quarantines and the graveyards! Corona made people to turn to God, to be the Ultimate Healer.

Gordon: Please send me a prayer for all the people in India infected with Covid-19

Father Stephen: Loving Father, God of Mercy, you have given us your only Begotten Son as our Redeemer and Savior, who shared with us your tangible loving concern for us your Adopted Children. In all our needs you are there to help us, to guide us, protect us. Your own Son was instrumental to bring Healing, Consolation, Life and Source of Hope and Confidence to many in this World. “Ask, and you will Receive”, so saying He gave us the Assurance that whatever we ask YOU, You will Grant us without Fail.

At this critical moment of a Global Disaster, the daily wide spreading COVID-19 Pandemic, by which Millions of people are suffering, starving, and dying in all Countries, our only Hope is in You.  It is You alone who can take away this terrible Epidemics from the Face of the Earth, completely and once and for all. Save us, give us Faith, Hope, and Confidence in You, and lead us to the Shores of Safety and Security. Through the Precious Blood of Your Son, send us the Holy Spirit to cleanse the World from all its impurities and imperfections, and take away this deadly Virus from our midst for ever.

Mary, Mother of Help, Compassionate and Loving Mother, you were by the side of your Son at Cana to understand the people’s need and, unasked, to make your Son to do His First Miracle. We are now in a great need of such a Miracle from you and your Son, to crush the pangs of the Deadly Killer Corona. We pray to you for this particular Intention for the whole World, and particularly for the poor Country INDIA as well as the most affected section of the Rural Population in our own State and this Particular Area of our Charity Services. We ask this Favor in the Name of the Holy Trinity, and you Our Loving Mother. Amen.

Gordon: I pray that our readers will be compassionate and send you a donation to help you care for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ with Covid-19.

Gordon: How can our readers send you a donation to support your work

Father Stephen: Send donations to

Very Rev. Father Thomas Mulavanal

Vicar General and Director of Knanaya Region

St. Thomas Syro Malabar Diocese of Chicago

541 N Willow Rd, Elmhurst, Illinois 60126 USA

With a note that the donation is for Father Stephen Nadakuzhackal

(Telephone 310 709 5111)

WhatsApp Number : +1 (310) 709 5111


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