Sacred Heart Parish is mourning the loss of their priest, Father Xavier Royappan who died Sept. 12 after suffering a stroke three days earlier.
Royappan had been in Terrace for two years; before coming here, he was in West Vancouver at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church. He arrived there after coming to Canada from India where he was born and raised.
“We’re all thankful to have had him in our life,” said parish assistant Gorette Pires. “He’ll be greatly missed.”
Father Xavier, as everyone called him, came to the north thinking he would like a change from the big city and really liked that Terrace is very peaceful and a friendly community, said Pires.
He liked the fact that everybody knew his name, and people would say ‘hi Father Xavier,’ which he was not used to hearing after being in a larger populated city like West Vancouver, she added.
Father Xavier studied for a time in Rome, Italy and had lots of cool stories about the city, said Pires.
“He was a very gifted preacher,” said Pires. “Everybody in the church liked him, he was well-liked by everybody.”
Earlier this year, on April 23, the parish held a big celebration for his 25th anniversary of being a priest, and “he was very touched by that,” she added.
Sacred Heart Parish held a mass for him yesterday, Sept. 18, and Christ the Redeemer in West Vancouver is holding a funeral mass for him Sept. 25. His body will be sent back to India.