Pope creates new Diocese of Kuzhithurai in India
His Holiness Pope Francis on Monday erected a Latin rite Diocese in the Kanniyakumari District of Tamil Nadu and appointed a Salesian priest as its first bishop. Fr. P. Jerome Dhas Varuvel will head Kuzhithurai diocese, which has been carved out of Kottar diocese in the southern extreme of mainland India. This was announced in the Vatican and in India on Monday evening. With this, India has 170 dioceses that belong to Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches.
Diocese of Kuzhithurai, Kanyakumari district
The Pope has created a new diocese in southern India’s Tamil state. He erected the Latin rite Diocese of Kuzhithurai, Kanyakumari district in Tamilnadu bifurcated from the Diocese of Kottar, making it suffragan of the Archdiocese of Madurai. The Pope has appointed Rev. Fr. Jerome DhasVaruvel, SDB, belonging to the Salesian Province of Chennai, as the first Bishop of Kuzhithurai. The Church of the Most Holy Trinity at Thirithuvapuram, Kuzhithurai, Kanyakumari District, will become the Cathedral of the new Diocese.
This Ecclesiastical Provision was made public in Rome on Monday, December 22, 2014, at noon local time. The new diocese has been created with territories taken from Diocese of Kottar. The new Diocese of Kuzhithurai extends to a total area of 915 sq. kms, has a Catholic population of 2,64,222 out of a total population of 8,55,485, has 100 Parishes, 123 Stations, 101 Diocesan Priests, 30 Religious Priests, 2 Religious Brothers, 267 Religious Sisters, 73 Seminarians, 18 Trained Catechists, 116 Educational Institutions, 22 Medical Institutions, 8 Charitable Institutions, 1 Social Centre, 2 Technical Production Centres. The cathedral of the new diocese will be the Church of the Most Holy Trinity at Thirithuvapuram in Kuzhithurai.
Fr. Jerome Dhas Varuvel
Bishop designate Fr. Jerome Dhas Varuvel is currently the novice master of Salesians at Yeallagiri Hills in Vellore diocese. He was born October 21, 1951, at Paduvoor in Kottar Diocese. He studied at Carmel Secondary School, Nagercoil and joined St. Aloysius Minor Seminary of Nagercoil after pre-degree course in 1968. He completed a 3-year philosophy course at the Sacred Heart Seminary Poonamallee in 1973 and three years later joined the Salesians of Don Bosco congregation.
He took his first vows in 1978 and perpetual vows three years later. He went to Rome to study theology at the Salesian Pontifical University. St. John Paul II ordained him a priest in 1985. He belongs to the Salesian Province of Chennai, Tamil Nadu. After his ordination he was appointed vice rector of the Salesian novitiate, Vellakinar, a post he held for four years from 1986. He was the rector of pre-novitiate until 1992. He was the parish priest and rector of Madras-Mylapore Cathedral during 1996-2001. He is currently master of novices in Yeallagiri Hills, Vellore.
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