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Hundreds gather for Fr Martin Xavier Requiem Mass

Mourners gathered in their hundreds yesterday in Edinburgh’s St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral, as attended the Requiem Mass for Fr Martin Xavier Vazhachira, the Indian-born priest who was found dead two weeks ago in unknown circumstances.

Around 50 priests from across Scotland and England, including the UK’s Syro-Malabar community, concelebrated the Mass with Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh for the repose of Fr Martin Xavier’s soul, as well as many parishioners and members of the Syro-Malabar community.

“We thank the Risen Lord for the many gifts bestowed on the Church through the hands of Fr Martin Xavier,” said the archbishop in his homily. “We implore the Lord to forgive whatever sins he may have committed in his human weakness.

And we pray for the comfort of Fr Martin’s family, his Carmelite colleagues, and the people whom he served.”

Hailing from Kerala in India, 33-year-old Fr Martin Xavier was ordained a Carmelite priest in 2013, and came to Scotland last July to begin postgraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Fr Martin Xavier first served in parishes in Falkirk before becoming administrator of St John the Baptist’s Church, Corstorphine in October 2016.

The popular and well-liked priest also played an integral role in the diocese’s Syro-Malabar community, a group that originated from his native Kerala.

He was reported missing after failing to turn up to Mass on Tuesday June 20, before his body was found on a beach in Dunbar, East Lothian, three days later, with the cause of death yet to be established.

Archbishop Cushley also spoke of Fr Martin Xavier’s caring nature and his goodness as a priest.

“We recall the kindness and goodness of Fr Martin, and we hold them up to God, reminding him of this very love of Christ described by Paul which Fr Martin displayed to so many in his short time with us.

“In our bewilderment and sadness, we remember his wish, publicly expressed in ordination to the priesthood, to give his life completely to Christ, and the blessings of God received by many here from his hand.”

It is hoped his body will be repatriated to his family in India soon for burial, after the Procurator Fiscal has declared a cause of death.

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