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Indian catechist dies after 55 years of service

Jajati Nayak, A catechist who served 55 years (Photo supplied)

Jajati Nayak died at the age of 72 after 55 years of service as a catechist in Odisha, the Eastern state of India, on December 17.  

He died of a massive heart attack at AMR Hospital, Bhubaneswar, at 10.20 PM.

“Late Sir Jajati Nayak will be remembered as the longest-serving Upadesta Mastro (Catechist) in the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar,” Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak of Berhmapur remarked in his condolence message.

Under his leadership, the faith life of the Christians of Kerubadi was strengthened and produced 9 Religious Sisters, including his daughter Sister Anjali Nayak, The Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa (CSST) and 6 Priests, including his younger brother priest Dusmant Nayak.

“Jajati carried out his mission by both word and deed,” said the presider for the funeral mass, Father Pradosh Chandra Nayak, vicar general of the archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, in his introduction.

Jajati Nayak, a simple and honest catechist (Photo supplied)

Jajati was rewarded as the best catechist among 414 total catechists of the archdiocese in Khristo Jayanti Jubilee 2000 by Emeritus Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, SVD, of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.

“He was light not only to the family but also to society. He is not with us physically, but his selfless service to the church and the society will certainly make him immortal,” said Anjelo Ranasingh, Gopalpur, in his homily.

The eldest daughter of the catechist, Anjali Nayak, stated that her father was a loving father to the children and a spiritual leader to the faithful.  

Jajati was in the hospital and was concerned about prayer on the fourth Advent Sunday. Before his dying breath, he asked, by telephone, one faithful in the village to lead the prayer.  Nayak remarked that it showed his absolute devotion and dedication as a catechist in his 55 years of service.

“Besides leading prayer every Sunday and every feast day, he was teaching catechism to the children and the youth with dedication and commitment every day,” said Libero Nayak, a retired teacher from the village.

People during the funeral mass (Photo supplied)

People of all religions, castes, beliefs, and colours grieve the death of Jajati Nayak.

A Hindu, Abani Sahu, Daringbadi, claimed that Jajati was a loving, genuine and caring catechist who actively helped missionaries spread the Word of God and served as Postmaster with great sacrifice.

There were about 20 priests, 15 nuns, and thousands of people for the last journey of Jajati Nayak. 

Jajati was born to Julian and Tarsilina Nayak as the eldest son of six siblings on July 1, 1950, in Kerubadi, a catholic village in Daringbadi under the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese. The village marked 100 years of Christian faith in 2015.

He worked as a catechist in 1967 at 17 until his last breath. - By Purushottam Nayak


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