By Barb Arland-Fye
Someone I never met but who has made an impression on me comes to mind as we prepare to commemorate All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2. Yettukuri Vincent of India died Feb. 5, 2018, one year before I accompanied Bishop Thomas Zinkula as a reporter on a 10-day trip to India. During that trip, the bishop presented the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award to the Dalai Lama, among other activities.
Yettukuri’s son and daughter-in-law, Arun and Anju and their sons Allen and Alfred, hosted a delightful dinner in their home during our visit. Other family members assisted with and enjoyed the meal with us. One of the gifts I received that evening was an attractive, laminated tri-fold brochure on “How to Pray the Rosary.” It was dedicated in loving memory of Arun’s father.
The cover features a serene image of Madonna and Child created during the Italian Renaissance by the artist Raphael. Beneath the portrait is a quote from Yettukuri that reads: “The Rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort … The Rosary is my favorite prayer … marvelous in its simplicity and in its depth.” His name and birth and death dates appear below the quote. His photograph appears on the back of the brochure.
When I returned home from India, the mementos from the trip were stored in appropriate places based on view and usage. The rosary brochure resides in the drawer of the coffee table in our family room, the place where my husband Steve and I pray together each morning and evening.
I do not know the mysteries of the rosary by heart, so turning to Yettukuri’s rosary brochure has become a habit (even though we have other rosary brochures). His name, devotion to the rosary and smiling image greet me each time. Warm memories of the people I met in India return, too. However, Yettukuri’s face grows more familiar as I pray the rosary. I want to know more about him.
He was a teacher, said Father Francis Bashyam, a good friend of Bishop Zinkula who served as our guide and coordinator on our journey in India. Yettukuri’s daughter-in-law, Anju, is the niece of Father Nathan Arokianathan, who is good friends with Father Francis and Bishop Zinkula.
I keep in touch with both priests via What’s App, but more frequently with Father Francis. They serve in the Bellary Diocese, located in the province of Bangalore in India.
In a recent text to Father Francis, I asked him to extend my greetings to Arun and Anju, their sons Allen and Alfred and the rest of the family, including Father Nathan. I told Father Francis, “I never met (Yettukuri) but think about him and my friends in India whenever I pick up the rosary brochure created in his memory. Blessings to you, Fr. Francis and all the people you introduced me to in India.”
On All Souls ’ Day, I will pray for many souls, including Yettukuri Vincent, whose family remembered him in a loving way that touches my heart, a woman from Iowa he never met.
(Contact Editor Barb Arland-Fye@davenportdiocese.org)