In the midst of the global pandemic, the Congregation of Holy Cross in India had three big reasons to celebrate these past few weeks as three of its religious were ordained to the priesthood. Although because of the state travel restrictions resulting from the coronavirus, the Holy Cross community could not celebrate with their confreres in their usual festive manner, the Ordinations still were occasions of great joy for the Congregation. More priestly ordinations are to follow in the month of July in India.
Of the three who were ordained, two are members of the Province of South India and one is a member of the Vicariate of Tamil Nadu.
The first of three to be ordained was Fr. Siju Pappachan, C.S.C., on June 10. A member of the Province of South India, Fr. Pappachan was ordained in the Syro-Malabar Rite by the Most Rev. Mar Tony Neelankavil, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Trichur.
The Ordination took place at Fr. Pappachan’s home parish, Mary Immaculate Church in Vimalagiri, Kerala. He is the tenth priest to be ordained from that parish community, which is known for its promotion of vocations.
The number of guests attending the Ordination was limited to 50 people due to sanitary restrictions. A few Holy Cross religious in the region were able to join Siju’s mother, his brother, and his sister, herself a professed religious, for the ceremony.
Fr. Pappachan’s first assignment as a priest will be to Holy Cross School, Aymanam. He will also serve as the local vocation promoter for the state of Kerala.
Next up for Ordiantion was Fr. Arockia Raj, C.S.C., from the Vicariate of Tamil Nadu. He was ordained to the priesthood in a quiet celebration on June 22. The Most Rev. Nazarene Soosai, Bishop of Kottar, presided at the Mass of Ordination in the private chapel of his residence.
In addition to a few family members, Fr. Arul Dinesh, C.S.C., represented the Vicariate. He was the only Holy Cross Priest present for the ordination.
Once the churches reopen for public Masses, Fr. Arockia will begin his priestly ministry at a diocesan parish in the Diocese of Salem.
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Two days later, on June 24, Fr. Anthoni Reddy, C.S.C., from the South India Province celebrated his Ordination to the priesthood with five diocesan deacons at the Infant Jesus Cathedral in Phirangipuram, Guntur. The Most Rev. Chinnabathini Bhagyaiah, D.D., Bishop of Guntur, presided at the Mass of Ordination. Sadly, no Holy Cross religious were able to attend the ordination, but the Province was united with Fr. Reddy in prayer.
Fr. Reddy is assigned to the pre-novitiate program at the Holy Cross Students' Home, in Katapadi, where he will serve as the assistant director.