Bell County community mourns after sudden death of St. Julian priest

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News This Morning, 5 a.m. Hour
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT
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MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - Members from a church in Bell County are mourning and attempting to find some clarity after the death of an important leader.

Father Kiran Varaparla served as a priest at Saint Julian Catholic Church since 2019 before his sudden death on Sunday.

“It was very shocking when my wife told me about the news,” friend Jamie Vaught said. “I could not believe it, he was so young.”

A native of India, Varaparla was just 39 years old at the time of his death. When news hit church members on Monday morning, it was difficult for them to put their emotions into words.

“I just texted with him yesterday and seen him yesterday at church and he was fine then,” Church member Ben Barnett said. “To hear that he had passed so suddenly, it was completely devastating.”

The cause of death is unknown at this point and funeral arrangements have yet to be announced. Friends are still searching for answers

“I don’t know what to say, it was so shocking,” Vaught said. “But he was a Godly man and he was a good servant to God and the community will miss him as well.”

Despite the circumstances, Varaparla’s church family is using this time to reflect on his legacy and caring nature.

“Father Kiran managed to do it before he turned 40,” Barnett said. “That was the focus of his life was to serve people and that’s what he did up until the day he died.”

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