Fr. Jegin Puthenpurackal received United States citizenship on March 3, 2022. Pictured (left to right) are friends Mike Vollman, Lance Green, Fr. Puthenpurackal and Charlotte Hagan. COURTESY OF FR. JEGIN PUTHENPURACKAL
‘Left the good for the Best’ – Fr. Jegin Puthenpurackal obtains U.S. citizenship
BY FR. JEGIN PUTHENPURACKAL, SPECIAL TO THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
First of all I am so happy to be part of this beautiful and great country. I thank God for the greatest blessings.
As I reflect about the blessings I received by living in this country, I cannot forget my former religious congregation: Heralds of Good News, and its superiors, for their great support to send me to this beautiful country to work as a missionary. It was a dream come true experience for me when I came to the United States of America to work in the Diocese of Owensboro. The support and encouragement I received from our bishop and presbyterate is overwhelming always.
This beautiful country blessed me with many things. Prior to coming to the U.S., I was diagnosed with a kidney disease called polycystic kidney and I was really fortunate continue a better treatment here without affecting my parish ministry. It was an unexpected gift from God that I could go through a kidney transplant here in the U.S. almost six years ago without much complication. Thanks to everyone who supported me during those difficult times. As years go by, I really experienced the support of our bishop and priests in our diocese, which made me to think seriously about becoming a diocesan priest and thus, on Nov. 4, 2021, I was officially incardinated in the Diocese of Owensboro.
After having decided to continue my ministry in our diocese for the rest of my life, I thought it would be best to become a citizen of this wonderful country. It was not an easy task to make a decision become a U.S. citizen. Many thoughts flashed through my mind. It was on Sept. 30, 2021 that I submitted my application to become a U.S. citizen. When I mentioned to some of my parishioners about my decision to become a U.S. citizen, their support, encouragement and assurance of prayers were great. To be sincere, the process was not that tough. I had my citizenship interview on Jan. 11 and after that my oath ceremony was scheduled for Feb. 3. But, unfortunately, I could not go to the oath ceremony due to severe bad weather of an ice storm. So, I requested to reschedule my oath ceremony and the office gave me a new date for March 3. So, I along with some of my friends went to Louisville that morning and I had the oath ceremony at 11.30 a.m. It was a proud moment in my life. Thanks be to God.
If you ask me about my thoughts and feelings about becoming a U.S. citizen, I would like to put it this way: “left the good for the Best.” Thanks to my both parishes: St. Sebastian in Calhoun and St. Charles in Livermore for your appreciation party. Thank you all for your warm welcome to this beautiful country. May God bless us all.
Jegin Puthenpurackal is the pastor of St. Sebastian Parish in Calhoun and St. Charles Parish in Livermore.
Originally printed in the April 202 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.