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Pope names new India diocese, bishop

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 6th, 2014
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

India, which is largely Hindu, has a new diocese and a new bishop. Pope Francis has established a new diocese in southern India. The territory has been taken from the dioceses of Coimbatore and Calicut. Monsignor Peter Abir Antony Samy has been declared its first bishop. The diocese of Sultanpet will be the 31st Catholic diocese in Kerala, and 167th diocese in India.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The diocese of Sultanpet was formally read out by Chancellor of Calicut diocese Fr. A.D. Mathew in the presence of Bishop Varghese Chakkalakkal at a ceremony in Calicut last month.

The new diocese will be suffragan of the Archdiocese of Verapoly, making it the 31st Catholic diocese in Kerala and the 12th one under Latin rite church in the state.

"Twenty-one educational institutions and 12 charity institutions will come under the patronage of the new diocese," Bishop Chakkalakkal said, adding that the new diocese would have 21 parishes and 30,975 families.

A major portion of Palakkad district, comprising Shoranur, Ottappalam, Mannarkkad and Attappady, will be separated from the Calicut diocese, with the formation of the new diocese.

"The new diocese will offer spiritual services in three languages - Malayalam, Tamil, and English," he said.

Father Vincent Pulickal, procurator of the diocese, introduced the new bishop to the gathering.

Born on April 7, 1952, at Sathipattu in Tamil Nadu, Monsignor Abir was ordained priest on May 1, 1979.

The Bishop-designate has taught in several institutes and seminaries in the country and abroad. He has authored 31 books and several articles in Tamil and English on biblical themes.



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