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Pope names new Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Nalgonda in south India

Cardinal Anthony Poola of Hyderabad, India at the consistory in the Vatican on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Vatican News)

On October 29, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Anthony Poola of Hyderabad as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Nalgonda as Bishop Joji Govindu retired on July 31, 2021. 

This news was made public in Rome at noon, corresponding to 15:30 hrs. Indian Standard Time.

Cardinal Poola, Archbishop of Hyderabad, was born on November 15, 1961, in Chindhukur, Andhra Pradesh. He joined a minor seminary in Kurnool and studied at St. Peter’s Pontifical Major Seminary in Bengaluru. He was ordained a priest on February 20, 1992, at Kadapa. 

After serving in the diocese of Kadapa for over 16 years, he was appointed Bishop of Kurnool on February 8, 2008. 

In November 2020, Pope Francis appointed Poola as Archbishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Hyderabad, which is spread over Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Medchal, and surrounding districts of Hyderabad. 

On January 3, 2021, he took over as Archbishop of Hyderabad. 

Poola also served as chairman of the Scheduled Castes/Backward Classes Commission (2008-2015), chairman of the Youth Commission Telugu region (2008-2015), chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Social Service Society (2008-2020), and secretary general and treasurer of the Telugu Catholic Bishops Council (2014-2020). 

He was elevated to the rank of Cardinal by Pope Francis on August 27, 2021.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Nalgonda was established on May 31, 1976.

Bishop Mathew Cheriakunnel, PIME, was appointed as the first prelate of Nalgonda (1977-1987), followed by Bishop Innayya Addagatla and Bishop Joji Govindu until July 31, 2021. Father Marneni Balaswamy was appointed as the new administrator of the Nalgonda Diocese on August 4, 2022.

Nalgonda diocesan territory stretches over a land area of 32,661 square kilometers and comprises the civil districts of Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar.

The population in the diocese was 6,536,676 as of 2016. The main tribal group in the district is the Lambadas.

The Diocese of Nalgonda is composed of 70 parishes serving 76,300 Catholics.

As many as 133 priests and 420 nuns work in various pastoral ministries. - Pujitha Nagalli 


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