Fr. Paul Valappila was born in Kerala. Fr Miguel Urrutia, who was vocation promoter for the Gujarat Jesuits, recruited Paul for the Gujarat Province. Paul joined the apostolic school at Loyola Hall, Ahmedabad, in 1956. He did his college studies at St Xavier’s, Ahmedabad, in 1960. He entered the Society in 1961 at Vinayalaya, Bombay, and later did his juniorate at the same place. After finishing his philosophy studies at DNC, Pune, he came to Gujarat in 1966 to learn Gujarati. He excelled very well during his regency period and found his vocation to be a school teacher.
Soon after his ordination he was sent to do his B.Ed studies at Vidyanagar. He taught mathematics, and the students enjoyed his classes. He developed a special concern and love for weak students, and tutoring them to achieve results beyond all expectations, became a mission within the education ministry for him. Besides mathematics, he taught them the value of discipline, hard work and, above all, commitment to what one undertakes. He instilled in them self-confidence which enabled many to achieve significant success in life.
His service in the field of education as a teacher at Anand, Bharuch, Kalol and Radhanpur brought new heights in the academic as well as disciplinary life of the schools. He contributed much as principal at St Xavier’s Bharuch, Bhiloda and Surat. After retirement, Fr Paul served as minister in the novitiate for a year. From 2000 to 2018, he dedicated his life to pastoral ministry, along with looking after the boarding. He began to learn the tribal languages wherever he was placed in order to break the Word of God in that language and build relationships with the people of God.
Fr. Rappai Poothokaren, SJ