(Enter the house of God, O my soul! Alleluia!) is one of the beautiful and appealing compositions of Fr. Petrus Kerketta for Hindi liturgy. It is quite popular and devotionally sung by the faithful, – a hymn suited well on his entry into the heavenly temple of God on 9th March, 2020. He passed away at Holy Cross Hospital, Ambikapur, after a battle of more than a month. He was a simple person with an intense longing for knowledge and wisdom featuring the Jesuit characteristic of intellectual pursuit. This longing grew more intense after he met with a fatal accident and went into coma for several days in 1989 just before the priestly ordination of Fr. Blacius Kerketta, SJ, his younger brother. Surviving a severe head injury could not stop him from his quest for knowledge; in fact it made him more passionate about learning and study.
His expertise in Hindi and Tribal Culture opened a wide avenue for him in the field of education. Throughout his life he served in the field of education. He was a hostel prefect and Apostolic School Director besides being a well versed Hindi teacher in St. Xavier’s Ambikapur, Loyola Higher Secondary School, Kunkuri and Prakash School, Pathalgaon. His study tour, by the historic Samjhauta Express, to Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, the Sindhu Valley Civilization in Pakistan, and to the Holy Land empowered him with more experiential and realistic knowledge of the subject which ultimately made his teaching very illustrative and catchy. His collection of Kurukh/Oraon folklore and his publication of a Hindi-Kurukh Dictionary during his Doctoral and D. Litt. Studies are a good contribution to future generations. His knack in teaching Hindi kept students always alive and alert in class. They affectionately called him “Master”. May God grant him eternal peace in His heavenly abode.
- Henry Lakra, SJ