Philemon Lakra joined the Society of Jesus on 20 June 1965 at St Stanislaus College Sitagarh, Hazaribag; first vows 21 June 1967; juniorate at Mount St Joseph Bangalore, 1967-68, followed by College studies at St Xavier’s College Ranchi; Philosophy at Sacred Heart College, Shembagnur, 1970-1973; Theology at Vidya Jyoti, Delhi, 1974-1976; Ordination on 01-05-1976 at St Thomas Church, R K Puram, Delhi; Tertianship at St Stanislaus College, Sitagarh, July 1979-March 1980; Final Vows on 08-12-1983.
What was noticeable in him from his schooling days right through his life in the Society of Jesus was his state of joy, faithfulness to his words and works, and the companionship he enjoyed.
What the years of formation in the Society of Jesus made it clear to him was that he was chosen for pastoral ministry. During the whole of his active ministry (1976-2014), he had been in pastoral ministry, co-pastor some times but mostly pastor, from relatively easy to challenging places and people, working sometimes alone and other times with his colleagues. In some places he pioneered the pastoral work. In all situations and paces he loved his work and people. He did it cheerfully and enthusiastically. He maintained deep calmness and joy which was his essential characteristic.
In his active pastoral ministry years, he met with several minor and major motorcycle accidents mostly fracturing his hands, yet lived happily even with his handicapped hands. It did not stop his movement and missionary zeal. He took some time to adjust to this kind of life but eventually reconciled himself to this way of God’s dealing with him by a silent Amen!
While still in the pastoral ministry, he suffered a stroke during the Lent in 2014 resulting in a partial paralysis. He gradually accepted it as coming from God’s hand and submitted himself to His will.
His entire life in the Society of Jesus was marked with full of energy and missionary zeal. He never complained about his material needs of what he had or what he did not have. His physical condition due to accidents never dampened his missionary spirit and activity. Thus, he lived his life to the full in the service of God and people.
- Agapit Tirkey SJ