Pope Francis appointed Bishop Varghese Thottamkara, CM, as the Bishop of Balasore Diocese, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
Bishop Thottamkara is presently the Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Nekemte in Ethiopia (the northeastern part of the Africa Region). The announcement of the appointment was made on May 10.
He was born on June 2, 1959, in Thottuva, Cheranallor, Ernakulam District, to the late Souru and Mariam Thottamkara. He belongs to St. Joseph's Church, Thottuva, of the Archdiocese of Emakulam-Angamally in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
After finishing his matriculation studies at Koovapady, he joined the minor seminary of the Congregation of the Mission (CM) in Gopalpur (Odisha) in July 1976. He was ordained priest on January 6, 1987, at his home parish, St. Joseph's Church, Thottuva, by Cardinal Antony Padiyara.
In 1987, he served as assistant pastor at Muniguda in Odisha. From 1988–1990, he was associate pastor and hostel warden at Christnagar (Allada) in Odisha.
In 1990, he was sent to Ethiopia to teach in the Minor Seminary of the Vincentians of Ethiopia at Ambo.
In 1992, he taught as a visiting professor at the Major Seminary in Addis Ababa. In 1993, he was transferred to Addis Ababa as the first rector of St. Paul's Major Seminary of the Apostolic Vicariate of Nekemte.
He also served as the Judicial Vicar of the Vicariates of Southern Ethiopia. He holds a Licentiate in moral theology. In 1997, he was appointed the Vincentian Major Seminary rector in Addis Ababa.
In 2008, he was elected Assistant Provincial of the Southern Indian Province, and in 2004, he was appointed Rector and Superior of St. Vincent's Mission House, Aluva.
The Superior General appointed him as Procurator General of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity as an archivist at the General Curia in 2005.
In 2010, he was elected one of the Assistant Generals of the Congregation of the Mission.
He was responsible for Assistant for the Missions and Delegate to the Provinces and International Missions of the Asia Pacific Zone.
On June 28, 2013, the Pope nominated Fr. Varghese Thottamkara as Coadjutor Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Nekemte in Ethiopia; he was ordained bishop on August 13, 2013, and succeeded as Vicar Apostolic on November 10, 2013.
Thottamkara will be the third bishop of Balasore.
After Bishop Simon Kaipuram, C.M.'s death on April 22, 2019, the bishop's seat was vacant.
Balasore was elevated into a diocese on December 18, 1989. It has 25 parishes with a Catholic population of 25,860. -Santosh Digal
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