Most Rev Dominic Jala, Archbishop of Shillong Archdiocese and Fr Mathew Vellankal passed away in a fatal road accident on 10 October, 2019 when the car they were travelling crashed with a truck at Colusa County, Oakland, California, USA, while Fr Joseph Pareckatt suvived with serious injury. Rev Jala was the Chairman Catholic Conference of Bishops in India Commission for Liturgy from 2015 and the member Vatican Congreagation for Divine Worship and Sacraments from 2012 to 2019 September, besides some vital religious responsibilities in the local, national and international congregations of the Catholic Church. Rev Jala was born on 12 July 1951, he professed liturgical devotion on 24 May 1969, and ordained a priest on 19 November 1977. After serving the church in various capacities including the Provincial of the Salesian of Don Bosco, Guwahati before his episcopal ordination on 2 April, 2000, even as he was appointed the Archbishop of Shillong Archdiocese on December, 1999.
At the peak of militancy in Meghalaya, Rev Dominic Jala played a pivotal role in the Khasi Jaintia Church Leaders’ Forum and was instrumental in pacifying with the rebel cadres on certain occasions. Although as an apex church leader in the region, he was known for his secular outlook, humility, versatile scholarship and intellectual acumen. Among the trivial but significant religious traditions, he will be remembered by every faithful for the synergy between the ordinary faithful, laity and clergy in various religious issues. Till the other day, it has always been a conventional practice among the Catholic faithful to pay homage to the bishop with a bow or a kneel including a kiss on his pontifical ring, but it ceased to continue during the tenure of Rev Dominic Jala. He was also a connoisseur of fine arts when he related the famous sculpture of Michael Angelo, the Pieta with the matrilineal custom of the Khasi people. Rev Jala indicated that the sacrifice and passion of Christ for mankind found solace and compassion at the bosom of his mother, Mary. Many astounding and thought provoking deliberations on wide range of topics were elucidated in simple oral narrative and that was the forte of his genius. Rev Archbishop Jala had visited the Vivekananda Cultural Centre on 21 December 2016 where he was enthused by the ‘fruit of dedicated service by Ram Krishna Mission.’ He will always be remembered for his ever pleasant smile and affectionate gesture to every person he met on the way.