KU Med Center chaplain Father Kuttukaran dies

Father Rafi Kuttukaran was known as a dedicated and faithful priest who gave comfort to the sick and consolation to those who mourned. He passed away unexpectedly on Aug. 10.

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In his work as a chaplain at the University of Kansas Medical Center here, Father Rafi Kuttukaran was known as a dedicated and faithful priest who gave comfort to the sick and consolation to those who mourned.

He was also known as an avid gardener, and it was while working in his garden at home that Father Kuttukaran, 58, unexpectedly died on Aug. 10.

Father Kuttukaran was born on Oct. 6, 1960, in the town of Thrissur, in the state of Kerala, located on the west side of the southern tip of India. He was the fifth of eight children of Lonappan Kuttukaran and Rosy Thekkekara.

He was ordained a priest on Dec. 30, 1992, for the Diocese of Imphal, located in the state of Manipur in far northeastern India. After ordination, he held pastoral assignments (including Sacred Heart Church in K. Chanshil) and served as his bishop’s secretary.

Priests in that region of India were sometimes targeted for kidnapping and extortion, or simply murdered. Father Kuttukaran was himself kidnapped once and injured, but he escaped and returned to the state of Kerala. 

Afterward, he went to the United States and served in various capacities and locations at parishes, as a contract chaplain for the U.S. military, and as a hospital chaplain beginning in 2005. Eventually, he became a U.S. citizen.

While at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Father Kuttukaran was known for his deep Marian devotion and his dedication in ministering to patients, their families, visitors and the staff. It was said that he considered the medical center to be “his parish” and those there as “family.” 

Also, it was his delight to celebrate holidays with patients who were unable to go home.

A funeral Mass was celebrated for Father Kuttukaran on Aug. 20 at Holy Name Parish in Kansas City, Kansas. The main celebrant was Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and the homilist was Father Jomon Palatty, pastor of Annunciation Parish in Baldwin and St. Francis Parish in Lapeer. The family requested no flowers but suggested contributions to Holy Name Parish.

2 Responses

  1. Paulson thekkekara at |

    Dear all,
    Please.pray For fr. Rafi kuttukaran soul to rest in. Peace he was always a priest who dedicated his life. For christ and the church . I know him. From. Small he is my cousin brother his mother and dad are brothers and sister I cannot move my eyes because he looks exactly like or photocopy of my dad . He is such nice person.. We all. Miss him
    Paulson thekkekara.

  2. Diane Kovich at |

    There was a group of Catholic Dr.s, nurses, and other KUMC employees that regularly attended Fathers daily mass. It was so reverent,holy, and engaging. We loved Fathers homily. He was such a joy filled, loving, and merciful priest.
    We miss him so much and continue to say the rosary in the Bell chapel in his honor and his dedication to our Holy Mother. I feel so lucky and blessed to have known him.


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