Fr. Jacob Arakal hailed from Alleppy District in Kerala. He was born on June 16, 1924, entered the Society of Jesus on June 24, 1945, and was ordained on July 30, 1958. After a wonderful life of 95 years he went to meet His Lord and Master at St. Teresa’s Hospital, Hyderabad, in the early hours of March 12, 2020.
A religious for 75 years, he encountered, transformed and inspired many students and young people. He was simple and austere, sincere and credible, faithful and prayerful, accountable and available.
Fr. Jacob Arakal, worked in many places in Tamilnadu and Andhra: Professor of Chemistry at St. Xavier’s College, Palayamkottai; Andhra Loyola College, Vijayawada; teacher in many Jesuit schools; Superior of St. Patrick’s School, Secunderabad, and Loyola College, Pulivendala; Principal of Junior Colleges in Cuddapah and Kurnool; hostel warden in ALC, Hindupur and Suryapet; Parish Priest in Nallapadu, Amalapuram; student Counsellor in Loyola Public School and Loyola Academy; and, most importantly, Province Vocation Promoter and Director of Pre-novices. He inspired many Jesuits and hundreds of diocesan priests in their vocation. Fr. Arakal was an outstanding person with a rare combination of multifaceted talents: keen and penetrating intellect, exceptional persuasive power, master of various languages (Spanish, Latin, French, English, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam), sense of humour, strong administrative ability and will power, perseverance, and exceptional courage to withstand any situation.
Fr. Arakal was a great pastor and was always available to proclaim the Word of God. He was ever willing to celebrate the Eucharist for whoever needed it – religious and laity. He moved from place to place in a bullock cart, bicycle and walking to carry out his mission of preaching, teaching, caring, listening and healing. People called him ‘People’s Pastor.’ Fr. Arakal’s achievements parallel the excellence of his being, match his tireless efforts. His life is an inspiration for the living and the generations to come. May he rest in peace in the Lord’s abode.
- K.P. Francis, SJ