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"God being the loving and caring Father, takes care of all our needs (Philippians 4:19)

I have experienced this tender loving care of our Lord throughout my missionary life and I would like to share with you how He provided for the needs of my "Ammachi" (Mom) and "Chachan" (Dad) during their last days.

In 1999, after a week's seminar I returned to my parish in Kasangezi - Tanzania.  As I checked my mail I saw a fax from India that said:  "Ammachi is seriously ill and has been admitted in the hospital at Trichur - Kerala."

I immediately informed the Bishop and he arranged the air ticket from Kigoma to Dar es Salaam.  I flew to Dar and contacted an agent for the ticket to India.  Unfortunately, no seat was available, so my next flight was on Sunday.  When I reached Trichur, the doctor told me that my Ammachi's condition was very serious and the chance of survival was very small. 

So, I called the Archbishop who lives near the hospital to pray for her.  Since I had done pastoral ministry in his former diocese, he came immediately to the hospital and heard her confession, gave communion and performed the anointing of the sick.

My Ammachi was so overwhelmed with joy and peace to receive sacraments from the Archbishop, which she never expected.  I believe Jesus cared for her needs through the Archbishop because she was always praying for priests and sisters and taking care of them by inviting them into her home.

The following day she was discharged and taken home.  With medication and care she could manager her pain at home, but after two weeks she was readmitted.  On the eve of the 30th of her hospitalization, all of us (Chachan and my brothers and sisters) were there with Ammachi in the hospital room.  We had our regular family prayer and supper together with her. Around 10 PM, her condition gradually declined and she died peacefully in our presence.

After the "Pulayadiyathram" (special observances and prayers for the commemoration of the dead on the 41st day after the demise) I was planning to return to Kigoma, but my undles were insisting for me to ask for a transfer to Kerala to support my Chachan.

One evening, while all of us were together, Chachan told my uncles:  "Let him return to Tanzania.  When I need him he will come back".  So I decided to return to Tanzania at ChaChan's request and continued my mission work for two years.  Then, in 2001, I got the phone call from home that Chachan had been admitted in the hospital.

The rest of the story will be in the next blog post.

Fr. Zach, MST

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