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Fr. Tony



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Dear brothers and sisters, and the viewers of this web site, I am Fr. Joseph Anthony Andrade better  known as Fr. Tony Andrade. I was born and brought up in Barkur. My primary education was in Barkur. In 1980 I joined the seminary to become priest and was ordained to the Holy Order of priesthood on the 19th of December, 1992. I served a short period of time in Bangalore (India) and then went to the USA to serve in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in the state of Minnesota. Presently I am the parish priest of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church located in St. Paul, Minnesota (visit our web site:-

I Hope and pray this column "Spiritual Corner" will inspire many viewers of our web site. As all of us know the need of spirituality in our daily life. We walk our faith journey trusting in God our creator and we are certain one day we will meet our creator God in Heaven. Meanwhile here on earth we need good insights to enlighten our minds and hearts in our spiritual life. in this column I will write articles which will be short and precise that may help our interested viewers to reflect on their own spirituality. I welcome others also to share their articles and reflections. This column is open to all the faith denominations. What is important is that we inspire each other on our own spiritual journey.

My sincere thanks to Kishoo de Barkur, the designer of this beautiful web site, and for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts and reflection on our web site.


Fr. Joseph Anthony Andrade

Dear readers of website:,

In this article I would like to share some of my experiences while serving as chaplain for seven years at United & Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. During that time I also completed required chaplaincy studies at the University of Minnesota. Some of my experiences and sharing in this article may not be relevant to the situation of our readers, because each culture and community of faith grieve differently over the loss of their loved ones. I do know though, that everyone experiences deep sorrow and sadness over the death of a loving child and it takes a long time to experience inner healing. One may go on with their regular life but that grief and sense of loss will remain deep in their heart and mind.

When a child dies, many of us who offer support to grieving family members often feel helpless. Some worry they will either say something inappropriate or not know what to say. Consequently, they either withdraw or distance themselves from the distraught family, thus leaving them feeling neglected or abandoned. These normal reactions by caregivers do not mean a lack of compassion or caring. One reason for that sense of helplessness is that the death of a child seems absurd. Children simply are not supposed to die! Because many people are uncomfortable with silence, in these kinds of situations, clergy and caregivers often feel the need to talk when confronted by death. Our silent presence, however, may be all that is needed to help relieve the feeling of neglect and/or isolation a grieving family may be experiencing.

Many families feel helpless shortly after their child dies. They will say; “I don’t know what to do next.” or “What do I do now?” These are common questions to have. Caregivers need to be sensitive to the feelings of these families who have just experienced a tremendous loss. It is good to listen to their concerns and encourage them to take all the time they need to process what has happened, even though funeral arrangements must eventually be made.

As a hospital chaplain I worked with many families who either had a child die or were going through difficult times knowing their child had a terminal illness. I also cared for couples who had dealt with a difficult pregnancy only to have their baby born dead. In these situations families experience a state of hopelessness during the hospitalization. Their emotional   level is high,   they may be angry 

 upset with everything and ask questions such as; “Why did God take our baby?”, “Does God have any mercy?”, “This is unfair!”, or “I can’t go on without my child!” These statements are often accompanied by intense, sudden outbursts of weeping, moaning and also sudden periods of total silence. One needs to recognize this as normal behavior and a healthy reaction to the loss of a child or baby.

Chaplains or caregivers can offer a great deal of support during this time by listening intently and using short phrases of compassion and condolence, such as; “I am very sorry to hear how you are feeling, please know you are in my prayers.” If the family asks one to pray with them I strongly encourage the caregiver to do that. Avoid phrases such as; “it is God’s will,” or “your child joined the angels.”

Families who are Catholic or Christian may ask for baptism or a blessing for their dying child. In our hospital we gave families baptismal candles and also sent them a certificate later on. Non-Christian families still need all the spiritual support they can get so the chaplain or caregiver needs to be prepared to offer them support. In supporting families, during such a difficult time, it may be appropriate to embrace family members at this time, but if people are uncomfortable with touch we should respect their boundaries. In most instances the chaplain or caregiver should refrain from sharing their own personal experiences of grief or loss with grieving families. When we tell our stories the focus shifts away from their grief to our own experiences.

People grieve in various ways. One person’s experience of loss may differ significantly from others. Chaplains or caregivers need to be very sensitive in what they say. Also, when attending a child’s funeral, remember to listen more than talk.

Follow up with these families is important and can be done by sending a sympathy card, making a personal visit or phone call, and/or remembering the anniversary death of the child. Our purpose being to bring comfort and consolation to these families. Grief has its own course and we all know that. As months and years go by grief may not be as intense as it once was. But, whatever support caregivers can give is much appreciated by the grieving family.

In conclusion, be assured of my humble prayers for the families who have experienced the loss of a child recently or years ago. May those beautiful children rejoice in the peaceful kingdom of our creator God forever, in heaven where there is no more sorrow, weeping or pain ...only love and peace.

(My sincere thanks to Dr. Hemanth Kumar, MBBS, for donating the portrait “MOTHER’S LOVE.”  Dr. Hemanth Kumar is a physician in Sastan.- Fr.Tony)



Barkur, located in Udupi Taluk, Karnataka, India. 576 210

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