SHILLONG, Oct 12 - The people of Meghalaya today woke up to the sad news of Archbishop of Shillong Dominic Jala’s death in a car accident in the United States of America on Friday. He was 68.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also mourned the demise of the Archbishop. “Anguished by the passing away of Most Rev Dominic Jala, the Archbishop of Shillong. He will be remembered for his impeccable service to society and passion towards Meghalaya’s progress. May his soul rest in peace,” Modi tweeted.
The North East Bishops’ Council (NEBC) said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we bring you the news of the premature and sudden death of Most Rev Dominic Jala, the Archbishop of Shillong, in a road accident in the United States of America.”
According to reports received here this morning, Archbishop Jala passed away when the car in which he was travelling with two other priests, Fr Mathew Vellankal and Fr Joseph Parekatt, met with an accident at 10.30 am IST on October 11.
The reports said the car collided with a truck in Colussa County. Archbishop Jala was on his way to Clearlake in California. “The Archbishop and Fr Mathew Vellankal died on the spot. Fr Joseph is admitted to the hospital with serious injuries but his condition is now stable,” the NEBC said.
The Archbishop was in Rome for the ‘Ad Limina visit of the Bishops of North East India’. Thereafter, he proceeded to the US to attend a meeting of the International Commission for English Liturgy.
Archbishop Jala was born in 1951 at Mawlai in the Archdiocese of Shillong. He was appointed the Archbishop of the same diocese in December, 1999.
At the transfer of Bishop Victor Lyngdoh to the diocese of Jowai in 2017, Archbishop Jala was appointed as the apostolic administrator of the diocese of Nongstoin.
Before being appointed Archbishop, he was the provincial of the Salesians of Don Bosco of Guwahati Province. He was actively involved in all matters connected with the church in North East India and the CBCI. He was the chairman of the North East India Regional Bishops’ Council and also the chairman of the Liturgical Commission of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India for several years.
“He was a well appreciated archbishop known for his simplicity, scholarship and intellectual acumen. We offer our heartfelt condolences,” the NEBC said.
Meanwhile, the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians here will hold a concelebrated requiem mass at 5.30 pm every day till the arrival of the mortal remains of the Archbishop.