Fr. Andrews Thekkekara was born on 1st July 1932, at Karanchira, Thrissur Dt., Kerala. His parents were Mr. Kochumatthew, farmer, and Mariamma, homemaker. He had mentioned in a recent video recording, that his parents as well as his five siblings (four brothers and a sister), have all gone to their eternal reward.
After doing his Intermediate at St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchi, he entered the Society at Sacred Heart College, Shembaganur, on 11th June 1951. He concluded his formation in the Society with a Ph.D. in Ethics at the Gregorian University, Rome.
Teaching Philosophy was his lifetime ministry (St. Paul’s Seminary, Tiruchi, 1968-1970 and 1973-1975, Arul Anandar College, Karumathur, 1975-1986 and 1988-1991, seminaries in three different places in Zimbabwe—Chishawasha, Chimanimani and Bulawayo 1986-1988, 1991-2018 — an impressive total of 33 years!)
As mentioned by Fr. Kolvenbach in his letter to Fr. Andrews on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee in the Society, the seminarians formed by him would remember his “strictness and straightforward approach that would never sacrifice truth, along with genuine concern and care that enabled them to form themselves as priests after the Heart of Christ.”
In writing, too, nothing would stop him from expressing his views without mincing words. In his JIVAN article “My Vision for Zimbabwe” (April 1998), he stated that however much he loved the land and its people, he had to highlight certain issues and posed the question: “Am I a prophet of doom?” and challenged them to pull up their socks and prove him wrong.
After a bout of severe pneumonia, Fr. Andrews passed away on 28th May, in Harare. Present both at the Wake Mass celebrated at the National Seminary, Harare, on 31st May and the Funeral Mass followed by burial at Chishawasha on 1st June, were bishops who had been his students and/or co-formators, many diocesan priests who had been his students, seminarians, Jesuits and fellow religious.
M. Devadoss, SJ