Fr Makhan was a priest for all

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Fr Makhan was a priest for all

Reynold Makhan, the brother of the late Fr Michael Makhan asked for him to be remembered “as a simple, loving man, and a priest for all poor people”.  Fr Makhan died at the Living Water Hospice August 25; he was 83 years.

“My brother Mike never wanted any big fanfare at his funeral and insisted he wanted every thing to be very simple. He wanted no eulogy, no big casket. I would say he was just an extraordinary priest for simplicity,” Makhan said at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, August 27. Archbishop Jason Gordon presided at the funeral Mass. Vicar General Fr Martin Sirju did the final commendation; Deputy Head of Mission at the Apostolic Nunciature, Fr Luciano Labanca  and Fr David Khan concelebrated. In attendance were some of the Makhan’s family. The funeral was carried live on Trinity TV and on its Facebook page.

Makhan shared anecdotes to show “why he [Fr Makhan] was born to be a priest”. At six years old, his brother could not attend school for almost one year because of illness. The doctor’s prognosis after close to six months was not good.

Their mother related this to her brother “Uncle Dickie”, and he insisted she visit the parish priest in Chaguanas. Fr Makhan was taken to the church where the priest took him on his shoulders and knelt before the altar praying for healing and to the Stations of the Cross. Fr Makhan was instructed to touch each Station. Afterwards, the priest offered him cake and ice cream.

‘Mike’ walked from the church to the presbytery much to the surprise of his mother. She was convinced it was a miracle. She took him back to see the priest who commented, “one day you will replace me in this church. Well 20 years later Mike was saying his first Mass,” Makhan said.

At St Mary’s, he was in the Legion of Mary and an acolyte at church, he enjoyed doing charitable works. “Mike was most comfortable with poor people and would give the last shirt on his back to them”.  As a teacher at St Joseph’s College, he donated his salary to the children who could not afford school fees.

Archbishop Jason Gordon said the light of Christ shined through Fr Makhan for all the world to see. What defined him, was “incredible love that he had for those on the margins of society and willingness to give his shirt, his stipend, his food, whatever he had, for their betterment.”

As one of the first group of diocesan clergy, he would talk about the sacrifices they made and conditions they lived. “The pioneering spirit he had that went through some things a modern guy signing up for priesthood today would not have lasted, they don’t make that mould anymore; ingrained in that mould is a deep sense of sacrifice.”

Fr Makhan’s life and austerity as he gave generously challenged others. “His life is a testimony to a quality of priesthood that we cannot lose in our time.” —LPG