Deacon Chathaparampil, who taught tai chi, dies

Deacon Joseph Chathaparampil

Deacon Joseph Chathaparampil, 81, died Feb. 15 at the home of his sister in Plymouth, Mich.

Deacon Chathaparampil was ordained a deacon in 1976 as part of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s first permanent diaconate class and served at St. Agnes Church for 11 years. He later moved to St. James Church in Elizabethtown, Ky., where he served until his death.

Deacon Chathaparampil was born in Muhamma, Kerala, India. He traveled to Italy in 1961 to study theology and later came to Detroit where he completed a master’s degree in counseling and a Ph.D. in education.

In 1973, he moved to Louisville where he worked as the chairman of psychology and director of graduate programming for Spalding University.

In 1986, he began work as an education counselor for soldiers at Fort Knox. He retired in 2006.

In retirement, he assisted as deacon at daily Mass. He also taught school children about gardening and taught tai chi throughout the community.

In a March 2, 2017, story in The Record describing his tai chi classes, Deacon Chathaparampil said, “We are conversing with God throughout the whole exercise.”

“God created us to know him, to love him and to glorify him. We glorify God throughout the whole exercise,” he said.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Theresa Zavoral Chathaparampil, his daughter Elizabeth (Scott) Karem, a grandson; five brothers Father Varghese Chathaparampil of Vincentian House in Ankamaly, Kerala, India; Abraham (Theresa) Chatham of Valrico, Fla.; Antony (Annie) Chatham of Lake Worth, Fla,; Tom (Pushpa) Chathaparampil of Kottayam, Kerala, India; and Pius (Bernice) Chathaparampil of Pattanakka, Kerala, India; and a sister, Ancy (Kurikose) Cheeramvelil of Plymouth; nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be Feb. 20 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial is Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. at St. James in Elizabethtown. Burial will follow in St. James Cemetery.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association at 1-877-284-3807 or Catholic Charities of Louisville Migration and Refugee Services at 502-637-9786.

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