I am Fr. Roy Parayil, M.S, a La Salette Religious priest from India, presently ministering at St. James Church in Danielson, Connecticut. I come from a family of five children – three brothers and one sister.
What is your family and faith background?
It’s my pleasure to share with you the story of my vocation. I should start by saying that my own family planted the seed of my vocation to the priesthood. I still have vague memories of visiting my parish church with my grandmother. I was still a little boy of seven when she was called home by the Heavenly Father. The seed of my vocation continued to grow through the inspiration of my parents, Varghese and Elsy, my three brothers, Reejo, Raimon, Raijo, and one sister, Reena Roy, parish priests, and my teachers (religious sisters). I was a dedicated altar server from age ten to fifteen when I decided to enter the La Salette Seminary in Parakkadavu, Kerala.
What does your vocation mean to you?
I see it as a grace to have received the call to be a priest. It was not easy to leave my family and live in a new atmosphere with new faces I had never seen before. At that time, the La Salette Community was new to my country, and we had to adjust to that reality as the first members of the La Salette Formation Program in India. It was a time of struggle, hardships, misunderstandings, and disagreements, but God was always with me and strengthened me.
What was your experience in La Salette formation?
After finishing my college studies, I was sent to a different state (Karnataka) in India to complete my Philosophy studies. Then I was sent to the Philippines for two years for my postulancy and novitiate. The year of postulancy was a time for me to experience the real life of village people in the Philippines.
While working with farmers, fishermen, construction workers, and small parish communities, I experienced the reality of the lives of poor people. My exposure to the homeless people and the orphan children in the Mother Teresa of Calcutta House in Manila, Philippines, was a heart-breaking experience. My canonical year of novitiate was a year to prepare myself to learn much about prayer, and the La Salette formation, charism, and spirituality.
Then I returned to India to complete my theological studies at the Pontifical Institute, Alwaye in Kerala, and my diaconate ministry in the diocese of Irinjalakuda, Kerala. By the grace of God, I was ordained a priest on April 20, 2002, in Thazhekad, Kerala, my home parish.
What reflections do you have about your call to La Salette and the Priesthood?
It is God who calls us and asks us to follow Him. He calls us when we are still unworthy. He keeps working in us – provided we open ourselves to His Grace. When I look back on the last twenty years of my priesthood, I am delighted and humbled by my experiences. My service to the Lord, community, and humanity has always been a joy. And my prayer today is to be faithful to Him always until the end of my life.
I take inspiration from the scripture: “I have come to do your will, O God!” (Hebrews: 10:7).
May God bless us all!