Hearts on His Kingdom
Father of five, Vipin Thomas speaks about Catholic parenting, total trust in God and miracles in the birth of his children.
My name is Vipin Thomas and I am a child of God. My family consists of my lovely wife Ann, happily married for fourteen years and our five children (Jasiel Anna, Adriel Sarah, Ezekiel Thomas, Mariel Faustina & Ezriel Benedict). I was born and brought up in Chennithala, Kerala until my graduation. My wife was born and brought up in Kerala too until she finished her masters in social work. I was in the UK for three-and-a-half years working and completing my masters where I encountered the Jesus Youth movement.
We moved to New Zealand in early 2008 following our marriage. I am Associate Director – Audit & Assurance services at Baker Tilly Staples Rodway, a mid-tier New Zealand accountancy and business advisory firm, and have been with this company for twelve years.
Currently I am a trustee for Jesus Youth New Zealand Trust (since 2010) and St Joseph’s Catholic School (since May 2017). I was a parish council member of the Catholic Parish of Hastings from 2015 to 2017. I have been a minister to the sick since 2014. At present I serve as the Catechism Headmaster for the Syro-Malankara Church in New Zealand and a catechism teacher for the Syro-Malabar Church in Hastings. I also am the animator for Jesus Youth New Zealand. It was a great pleasure to be recently appointed to Diocesan Management Advisory Council of the Diocese of Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Ann started working recently (since April 2021) as a full-time social worker after a period of nine years of being a full-time mum. This opportunity knocked our doors soon after our youngest child turned three. God’s plan in each of our lives is so beautiful that when we submit ourselves to him as mentioned in Genesis 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth’, our blessings are tenfold. Ann had all our children through caesarean sections and graces filled our family with every new member. Sleeping time is a joyful time in our family as the entire family sleeps together in one room cuddling each other.
Holding all these responsibilities, and with both of us parents working full-time, it is sometimes a real challenge to raise a family in godly ways without depending on God daily. When you know that you are a weak and fragile human being, you will cling to the one who is strong. We cling to Jesus daily for our strength.
Ann and I make sure Sunday masses are never missed by the family. We also go for at least three to four Holy Masses a week with our children. In the family Sundays are kept aside as ‘Lord’s day’ and is mainly used for Bible studies and catechism. Every Friday we fast with the children participating through abstinence. We make sure that our children grow in the fear of God with their lives rooted in Jesus Christ. Every morning it is a routine for the children to go to the chapel and visit Jesus in the Eucharist before starting their day in school. Daily family prayer at home is also a norm and we celebrate the baptism and feast days of our kids as much as they celebrate their birthdays. All these faith habits help our family grow in the Spirit daily.
When Ann had conceived our third child, Ezekiel, during the tenth week of pregnancy, she caught chickenpox. The doctors said that the child could end up with physical disabilities and other complications and suggested termination of pregnancy. Both Ann and I were firmly against their suggestion. Our response was NO to abortion. We prayed and prepared ourselves to accept God’s gift. But the Lord was so merciful to us and the baby was born without any disability in mind and body.
After giving birth to Mariel, our fourth child, we were advised by the doctors not to have any child for the next three to four years and at the same time to consult with the hospital before getting pregnant. More caesareans, they advised, would be a higher risk for the mother.
During 2017 when I was coordinating a twelve-hour adoration initiative called, ‘Hours of Mercy’ by Jesus Youth in our parish, I happened to meet a Catholic doctor called Naomi. We truly believe that God brought her to our lives at the right time.
Seven months after the birth of our fourth child, we were blessed with the good news that Ann had conceived our fifth child. We were happy but tense as well because of what the doctors had advised about the next pregnancy. So we decided to go meet our doctor. At the hospital, our registered doctor was not available that day but instead we were allocated to Naomi. We truly believe that God has a wonderful plan for each one of us, as in Jeremiah 1:5, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ We asked Naomi’s suggestion, she spoke to specialist doctors at the main hospital and said that the risk of having a baby after four years was the same as having a baby now – which was pleasant news for both of us. And we had our fifth baby fully healthy and well.
Every time we look at our children, we remember that had we made a bad choice then, it would have been the biggest mistake ever. Since God was with us and we depend on him totally, we knew that he would take care of things. We are so grateful for all the blessings God has given to us and also for all the people he has brought to our lives.
We are witness to the Word of God, Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33).
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