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Fr. Clement Minj, S.J. (1948-2011)

Posted on: 17 Jan, 2024 | Modified on: 28 Apr, 2024

By George Burh

"Each day is important for us so it let us enjoy the day" is what Clement used to say whenever he was in good mood. Indeed, he lived that way till the very last day.

Fr. Clement Minj was born on 6 May 1948 in a large family of Konchora then under Tongo Parish. Third among the five brothers and two sisters, Clement was the pet of his parents. His father died when Clement was still young so his mother shouldered the responsibility of bringing up her children. Desiring to give good education, she sent Clement to RC Boys' School Tongo. On completing Middle school, Clement went to Lievens' Barway High School Chainpur. While studying in Tongo, Clement was impressed by the life of the Jesuits and wished to become a priest. So, after a year at Lievens' Barway, he decided to go to Apostolic School Gumla where he did his matriculation in 1967. He came to St. Xavier's College Ranchi to do his Intermediate Studies after which he entered the Novitiate at St. Stanislaus' College Sitagarha on 20 November 1970. There he also did his classical Juniorate before coming back to St. Xavier's College for his B. A. His further Jesuit training took him to De Nobili College Pune and to Vidya Jyoti Delhi where he did his Philosophy and Theology, respectively. He was ordained a priest on 28 April 1983.

As an enthusiastic young pastor he rendered his service in Soso [Gumla], Rengarih [Simdega], Patrachauli [Ranchi], Kachabari and Bingaon [Khunti] as Parish Priest and as Assistant. St. Ignatius' Mission Station Dorea-Tamar was the place where he spent last eight years of his life looking after the boys, teaching in the school and taking care of the fields.Recounting one of his pastoral endeavour he once told how he had succeeded in motivating the faithful of Patrachauli to contribute to the Parish and had restored some unity.

Clement's life-long asset was his ever happy smile on his face and his very approachable person. Thus, wherever he worked he could get along very well with the people of all walks of life. Though his circle of friends was small, he was liked by many. In Dorea, even after he was relieved of the burden as in-charge of the boys, the parents always sought to see him and have a chat with him.

Service and availability was his forte. As minister of different houses- St. Ignatius' Gumla, Manresa House Ranchi, Regional Theologate Arsande and Loyola Pastoral Centre Matigarha (Darjeeling], he was always approachable. He would keep awake for the guests who would arrive late and keep a vigil to guard the corps in the fields. He had special love for animals.

Difficult situation and problems of his family bothered Clement much. Unjust occupation of ancestral landed property of his family worried him and it often disturbed peace of his mind. One of the causes of his high BP and Sugar could not be isolated from this situation. All the same, in the last months, he was definitely looking better.

On Sohrai, local feast of the cattle on 27 October 2011, Clement took part in the blessing of the cattle in the school campus thereafter he visited his friends in Dorea. He came back around 7:00 p.m. but he went out again and visited some nearby families. Clement did not come back to the house that night. On the following morning he was still not back to the house. Some search and inquiry was made about him around the place but he could not be traced. Meanwhile someone happened to notice one of his slippers floating in the well near the school-building. It was suspected that he might have got drowned in the well. The worst suspicion became true when an attempt was made to search for him in the well. How he could have fallen into the well could not be ascertained but his sudden demise, no doubt, left deep sadness among the students of the school. May God grant him Eternal reward in his Kingdom.