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A hundred years sit lightly on the broad but slightly drooping shoulders of Fr. Cedric Anthony Bout SDB of the Salesian Province of Chennai. On his 100th birthday on November 11, 2017, Fr. Bout was his usual mischievous self, cracking wits of wisdom and where words cannot flow easily through his toothless grin, gesticulating wildly with his hands.
In the history of the Salesians in India, Fr. Bout is the oldest ever priest and continues to be an active member of the Salesian community at the Provincial House, Citadel in Chennai. Hailing from an Anglo-Indian family from Tangasseri (Quilon) in Kerala and son of John Henry Bout, Cedric was born on November 11, 1918, a historic day on which the First World War ended with the Armistice. Cedric is the fourth of six children and his eldest sister Mary Bout is a Salesian Sister (FMA).
Cedric did his schooling at Presentation Sisters and St. Joseph’s, both in Vepery and completed his school education at St. Mary’s European High School in George Town. He then went on to do his B. A. in Science from Loyola College where he was drawn towards a religious life. The then Parish Priest Fr.Theodore introduced Cedric to Fr. Joseph Carreno SDB, the Rector of the Salesian House in Tirupattur who invited him to spend a few days to experience the Salesian way of life before making up his mind.
Cedric Bout was ordained a Priest by Archbishop Louis Mathias SDB on April 2, 1949 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Madras. The rest, as they say, is history, which continues to be written in the life and times of Fr. Cedric Bout, even as he enjoys celebrating his 100th birthday, with all his faculties still active, save for a hearing loss.
The Salesians and the faithful of the community wish Fr. Bout a very healthy and peaceful long life.