Servant of God Mar Mathew Kavukattu
July 17, 1904 – October 9, 1969
was the first Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Catholic Archdiocese of Changanassery. His Cause of
Canonization was began in 1991.
First Archbishop of Archdiocese of Changanassery
January 3, 1951 – October 9, 1969
Preceded by James Kalasserry
Succeeded by Antony Padiyara
July 17, 1904 Pravithanam, Palai
Died October 9, 1969 aged 65 Changanassery,
Mathew, son of Chummar and Tresa of Kavukattu family from Anthinadu (Pravithanam) near Palai was born on 17 July 1904. After the elementary education at Anthinadu School he joined the St. Thomas High School, Pala. There he had many companions who became renowned persons in later years. After the School final in 1923 he joined St. Berchmans College Changanacherry for his Higher Education. After two years there he pursued his studies in Trivandrum where he graduated in 1927. The following year was spent at home engaging himself in various parish youth activities.
He joined the St. Thomas Minor Seminary at Kottayam on 1 June 1928 and then to Aluva for the major Seminary. He was ordained a priest on 21 December 1935 by Bishop Kalassery together with 19 others. He offered his first Mass on 24th of the same month in his home parish. For 15 years he served the church in various capacities: as pastor, teacher, Headmaster, Director of ministries etc. In between he served in Kanjirapally for a couple of years as Headmaster of St. Dominic’s H S and Assistant priest of the parish.
On 9 November 1950 Fr. Mathew Kavukattu was ordained Bishop in Rome. On 3 January 1951he assumed the post of the Bishop of Changanacherry with the motto ‘Caritate Servire’ (Service with Love). In 1956 the Diocese of Changanacherry was raised to Arch Diocese and Bishop Kavukattu became the first Arch Bishop. The following years were important in the History of Kerala Church and the minority communities due to the peculiar political situation. The Arch Bishop played the key role in organizing the people and leading them in the liberation movement. Pope John XXIIIrd appreciated him for this great work when he visited him in 1960.
The silver Jubilee of his Priestly ordination was in 1959–1960. He requested the faithful a housing scheme for the homeless in the diocese as a Jubilee gift. The Kanjirapally St. Dominic’s parish started our school as the Jubilee memorial under the leadership of Fr. George Thachenkary. The following years are very important in the History of the Catholic Church. The council of Vatican II and the Eucharistic Congress of Bombay are the major events. In both these, Mar Kavukattu played a very prominent role. Though his
health was deteriorating and had to undergo a major surgery in Germany he continued his great work in the diocese specially the work for the poor and the suffering. In his words he did not want any Lazar to be crying in the portico.
He was very well taken care of by his relatives and the people of the diocese. He died in the early hours of 9 October 1969.