.- Fr. Jacob Strampickal, S.J., a major Catholic communications leader in India, died April 14 at the age of 62.
“He was truly a missionary of communications in India,” said Fr. William Nellikkal of Vatican Radio’s Malayalam section. “He succeeded in convincing the Catholic bishops of India that media is a powerful tool for evangelization.”
Fr. Nellikkal, a former student of Fr. Strampickal, said he united Catholics across India despite their differences in culture and liturgical rites.
Fr. Strampickal had a stroke in September 2011 in India but recovered in what he said was a miracle. He was on a visit to Austria 10 days ago when he became critically ill and was hospitalized.
The Indian bishops’ conference recently appointed him as head of the National Institute for Social Communications, Research and Training, which he helped to found in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
He headed both the Indian and Asian offices of Signis, the international association for Catholic communications. He also taught at the Gregorian University in Rome and in 18 theological seminaries of India, where he discussed the importance of communications for priests and for the Catholic Church, UCA News reports.
His projects included the New Delhi Video Festival for NGOs, national seminars on Church and media, online media training for students from poor countries, and a weekly radio program for migrants.
He has served as a consultant for the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications and he worked closely with Vatican Radio’s Indian program.