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India: Madurai Archdiocese celebrates 25 years of episcopal ordination of "People's Archbishop"

The 25th year of the Episcopal ordination of Archbishop Antony Pappusamy at St. Britto Higher Secondary School, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India on January 21, 2024. (Photo: Madha TV YouTube)

Madurai Arch Diocese celebrated the 25th year of the Episcopal ordination of Archbishop Antony Pappusamy at St. Britto Higher Secondary School, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India, on January 21, 2024.

People also called Archbishop Papppusamy the "People's Archbishop."

Archbishop George Antonysamy of Madras-Mylapore and the president of TNBC, Bishop Stephen Antony of the Tuticorin Diocese, Bishop Lourdu Anandam of Sivagangai Diocese, Bishop Francis Kalist is the Archbishop of Pondicherry and Cuddalore, Bishop Neethinathan Anthonisamy of Chengalpattu Diocese, Bishop Antonysamy Savarimuthu of Palayamkottai Diocese, Bishop emeritus Jude Gerald Paulraj of Palayamkottai Diocese, Bishop Savarimuthu Arokiaraj of Tiruchirappalli Diocese, Bishop Arulselvam Rayappan of Salem Diocese, Bishop Emeritus Peter Remigius of Kottar Diocese, Bishop Emeritus Jebamalai Susaimanickam of Sivagangai Diocese, Bishop Emeritus Yvon Ambrose of Tuticorin Diocese were concelebrated at this Silver Jubilee Mass.

More than 150 priests, both diocesan and religious, and more than 100 sisters also participated in the celebration. More than 8,000 people took part in this event to pray for the bishop's ministry.

Archbishop George Antonysamy of Madras-Myapore and the president of TNBC stated that Bishop Papppusamy serves the people and priests in his diocese with love and concern.

"He served tirelessly according to his episcopal ordination motto, "Service in love," said Archbishop Antonysamy.

The Vicar General of Madurai Archdiocese, Jerome Eronimus, said, "People will not forget what we say or do, but how happy people are when we are present. Through his presence and ministry, Bishop Antony Pappusamy has created the same happiness in our lives."

Bishop Stephen Antony of the Tuticorin diocese said, "He tells the truth as it is; he is never afraid of anything, stands for justice and condemns injustice."

Additionally, he stated, "While the bishop's primary duty is to sanctify, preach, and govern the people of God, he also must journey together with all people to bring equality to society."

Father Angel Raj, Secretary to the Council of Priests, witnessed that Bishop Pappusamy "visits the Blessed Sacrament three times a day and makes all his decisions about the diocese's development and the welfare of its priests. Moreover, he is an extraordinary administrator of the diocese who helps all priests carry out their responsibilities in their parishes."

Sister Celine Sahaya Marry, SJL (Saint Joseph of Lyon) Principal, Fatima College, talks about the bishop's political approach from a spiritual perspective.

"He approaches political issues with a spiritual perspective, and he is capable of guiding the people to bring good governance to Tamil Nadu," said sister Marry.

"With his knowledge and experience, he took charge of the new diocese of Dindugal with zero points, and he brought the diocese to maturity with his efficiency and hard work," said Keba Emmanuel, a faculty member at Arul Anandar College.

On the occasion, Bishop Antony Pappusamy reflected on his episcopal ministry in four directions. 1) "Facing outside: preaching the good news; 2) Facing inside: improving responsibilities and dedication; 3) Facing upwards: reaching God through prayer and sacraments; 4) Facing downwards: embracing the needy and suppressed people."

Bishop Antony Papasamy was born in 1949 in Marambadi, a town 10 miles north of Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, India.

In 1976, he became a priest, and in 1999, he was consecrated as an auxiliary bishop of Madurai.

In 2003, Bishop Pappusamy returned home when the Diocese of Dindigul established itself on the territory of the Madurai Archdiocese and the Tiruchirapalli Diocese.

On August 24, 2014, the Bishop received the canonical possession of the Madurai Archdiocese from Bishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio to India.

Bishop Pappusamy was chairman of the Tamil Nadu bishops' Council Commission for clergy and religious.

The area, which is part of Tamil Nadu state, is in India's far southeast; the official language is Tamil, which is one of the world's oldest languages. The majority of the population, some 87 percent, is Hindu; Christians and Muslims each constitute around six percent of the state's population.


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