Previously Stabbed Priest Returns To His Parish

| July 9, 2009

SINTON – The Catholic priest who was stabbed at his church in Sinton, has returned to his parish.

On Friday, it will be precisely two months since Father Shaji Varghese was stabbed, kicked and beaten at his parish. He’s doing much better and has returned to his Sinton parish.

Father Varghese was inside Our Lady of Guadulupe Church in Sinton back on the morning of May 8, when he was stabbed several times.

Despite being critically injured, he was able to call 911 for help. Father Varghese was released from Spohn Memorial Hospital about a week later on May 15.

A suspect, identified as one of his parishioners, 36-year-old David Rodriguez, was arrested.

On July 4, Varghese presided over his first mass at his church since he was attacked. On the night that he was attacked, parishioners rallied together and held a vigil in front of the church.

"The whole community has been praying for him, even people who are not Catholic," Patricia Escamilla said.

Escamilla was surprised at how fast Father Varghese recovered. She and her parents, Frank and Angelita Trevino, attended last weekend’s masses that Father Varghese presided over.

"He just said for us to pray for the gentleman that attacked him, he has to be prayed for also. He has to be forgiven," Escamilla said.

Currently, Rodriguez is in the San Patricio County Jail facing aggravated assault with deadly weapon charges and tampering with evidence. He’s accused of attacking Father Varghese.

In a written statement, Father Varghese said he would like to thank all of the people who helped him after the incident in getting well and all the people who prayed for him.

He went on to say "due to your quick action, many people from all over the world started to pray for me as soon as they heard the news. I know that is why I recovered so quickly."

Meanwhile, parishioners are thankful he’s back at their church.

"After mass finished, I told him I’m glad you’re back. He said thank you, thank you for your prayers," Angelita said.

In addition, Bishop Edmond Carmody, of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, also spoke with Father Varghese when he returned to his duties.

"He’s doing very well. He’s been in to see me and he’s feeling good and his strength is nearly back again, and fully recuperated. [Basically, he’s] back to normal again," Carmody said.

Carmody also met with Rodriguez the day after the stabbing.

The bishop said it was a brief meeting in the San Patricio County Jail during which they prayed together.

 

http://www.kristv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10672054

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