Just received wonderful news that a Deaf man Joseph Thomas Thermadom I first met 2003 in St Louis USA (and last met November 2017 in Kerala), has made his first Profession of Vows as a member of the Holy Cross Fathers order in India - see below (Paul Fletcher SJ):
Monday 25 May 2020, feast of Venerable Bede & Pope St. Gregory VII, was a day that shall never be forgotten for many a generation or more! Congenitally Deaf Joseph Thermadom of Kerala, India, professed his first vows as a religious of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (CSC). He signed his vows, which were spoken by an Indian who also signed for Thomas the words of his Superior at his profession.
Br. Joseph has joined the same CSC religious order that Fr. Harry Stocks belonged to.
Some of us may recall a lively energetic stocky Scottish priest Fr. Harry Stocks CSC (born & raised in Edinburgh; emigrated in 1957 to Toronto, Canada to work at the Toronto Telegram as a newspaper reporter). In 1958 Harry joined the Holy Cross Fathers making his first profession 16 August 1959 and final vows 4 years later in 1963. He was ordained priest 28 May 1966. Missioned to Bangalore, India, Fr. Harry worked among the poor before being involved in ministry with Deaf people for the next 42 years of his life. Due to ill-health he returned to Toronto, Canada and worked as Chaplain to the Deaf in Toronto’s Archdiocese based at St. Kevin’s parish, Niagara, 2005-2012. He died of cancer 19 January 2013. RIP.
I don’t know when Br. Joseph may be ordained priest, but having met him a few times both in America and in India, I am very hopeful; so long as he gets the communication support he and the wider community need to facilitate his ministry and his new-found religious life. Let us pray for him and continue to support all Deaf people with a vocation to religious life or priestly ministry. They need us and we too need them! To the greater glory of God!!
Paul M. Fletcher SJ 27/5/2020
FIRST INDIAN DEAF PROFESSES IN HOLY CROSS SOCIETY
25 May, 2020, Yercaud, Tamil Nadu: In a historical and rare event, Joseph Thermadom made his First Religious Profession today at Holy Cross Novitiate, Yercaud (TN). Joseph is the first Indian from the Deaf community to take relgious vows.
Joseph, the first Holy Cross recruit from the Deaf community hails from Ernakulam-Angamaly, Kerala. He was born Deaf to his hearing parents Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Rosy Thermadom. Along with his brother who is also Deaf, Joseph received school education in Mumbai. Joseph felt his calling to become a priest rather early, but could not proceed due to various circumstances. Undeterred by his inabilities, he went on receiving a religious formation under Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf Apostolate, USA. Having completed his Philosophical and Theogical studies he returned to India.
Joseph came in contact with the Holy Cross Fathers through their Ministry for the Deaf. Having expressed his desire to join their ministry, he was received at Aymanam Holy Cross community in 2017 as a come-and-see member. After completing a year of Novitiate at Yercaud, Joseph made his First Religious Vows on 25th May, 2020.
God be praised for this unique vocation. Joseph is, God willing, soon to become the first Indian Deaf priest. Let’s uphold him in our prayer.
Fr.Emmanuel Ralte CSC
Rest in Peace
21st October 1952 – 10th November 2019
For as long as I can remember, Gillian was always busy. She had numerous roles in the parishes she belonged to most especially Our Lady of Fatima at White City. She was involved with SVP, the Guild of St Stephen, HCPT and many more organisations and groups but it was for signing at Mass for the Deaf Community that I first met Gillian.
She first learned sign language when her work as a nursery nurse took her to work with children with additional needs. She carried on signing for the rest of her life, communicating at Mass at Our Lady of Fatima, White City and Our Lady Immaculate and St Frederick, Limehouse plus numerous other parishes who hosted Masses organised by St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre as well as on pilgrimages to Lourdes with HCPT. I can remember looking at a Lourdes webcam one Easter week and in front of my eyes was Gillian signing the hymns. It was a joy to see her.
For the past two years Gillian had also supported us during Holy Week by altar serving. She was brilliant at getting the children involved. It was a great relief to St Asterie, the sacristan at Maria Assumpta, that she finally had someone there who knew what she was doing rather than it being me!
Gillian had a great sense of humour and would regularly send through jokes and was also always good at gently teasing people. On the last occasion that I saw her to talk to, as we were leaving she spoke to the other person with me with a mischievous grin and a glint in her eye and said “make sure Shell gets on the tube in the right direction, she has no idea where she is in this part of London” Harsh but fair!
Gillian had been ill since early 2017 but she went cheerfully through her treatment and I never heard her complain even when she knew there was no more treatment for her. In August this year she was able to join HCPT in Lourdes at Hosanna House for the last time. At the bottom of her rucksack her sister found the bidding prayer that she wrote for the last Mass in Lourdes:
“Dear Lord, I thank you for enabling me to join this Group. I thank you for 2 ½ years of chemotherapy without pain and with few side effects. Now there no more treatment I fully acknowledge my life is totally in your hands. I pray for patience as I learn to accept my body’s limitations; for graciousness when people offer help, especially when I think I don’t need it: and – like my twin sister before me – for courage to face the future with good humour. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.”
Well done, good and faithful servant, may you rest in peace and rise in glory.
Rest In Peace
Dr Terence Anthony Riley OBE age 75 (Terry Riley) died on the 9th of October 2019.
Terry married Angela Maureen Riley at the Church of the Holy Name, Manchester, on 17 February 1968 by Canon Charles Hollywood, the then chaplain to the Deaf Community in the Diocese of Salford. They celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary on the on 17 February 2018 and they were proud to receive a framed certificate of Papal Blessing organised and presented by Catholic Deaf Association. Terry was very involved with St Joseph’s Mission in Manchester as well as Manchester Deaf Centre. He then became Chair of the British Deaf Association. He was also the Series Editor of the BBC See Hear TV series.
Janet (nee Newton) Drane died on 14th October 2019
May the Lord give them eternal rest in peace. Amen
Dr Terence Anthony Riley OBE (Terry); 19th June 1944 – 9th October 2019
In representation of the CDA, Peter and I attended the funeral requiem Mass of Terry Riley OBE on Thursday 7th November which was held at St Teresa’s Ashford, Kent; a beautiful large modern church. We were lucky with the weather especially for driving long distance. When we arrived we bumped into Peter Morrissey from Southwark Diocese, who came to pay his respect. A family member informed me that there were approximately 220 people there, consisting of family, personal friends, and many work colleagues from his time at the BBC and other organisations. The interpreters which we have only ever seen on BBC News were there in person to interpret the service. Eddie Moriarty, Matthew Banks, Sarah Hides and Kathy Yeoman-Owens who used to work for/with Terry took it in turn to interpret the Mass. The two ladies interpreted the hymns. It was a beautiful and moving experience. The Chair of British Deaf Association, Linda Richards, was also present. The readings and bidding prayers were read by family and friends. Terry’s son Colin Riley read out the Eulogy about the life of his father as he wore his father’s OBE medal with pride. After the funeral the family invited all to the wake which was held at Homelands football ground, there was enough food to feed the whole football stadium’s fans with plenty left over. A great send of for a great and inspiring man. Rest in peace Terry.
90th Anniversary of St Joseph's Mission to Deaf People
On Saturday 15th June about 170 people arrived at St Patrick's Church in Manchester to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of St Joseph's Mission to Deaf people. Bishop John Arnold presided the feast of the Holy Trinity and he signed most of the Mass concelebrated by eight priests. The Mass was followed by a lovely buffet meal in the hall and at the end there was a video presentation by two Deaf ladies sharing the stories they remembered from the 1950s to the 1970s.
At the end of the Mass, Eileen Hosie presented a story about SJMDP - read more about it here.