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Pope approves new auxiliary bishop for Syro-Malabar Church

August 23, 2013 - Pope Francis on Friday approved the election of an Auxiliary Bishop to the Major Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, the headquarters of the eastern rite Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, in southern India’s Kerala state. The Syro-Malabar Synod elected Fr. Jose Puthenveettil, the Pro-Vicar General of the Archdiocese as the New Auxilary Bishop of the Archdiocese, headed by Major Archbishop, Cardinal George Alencherry, the head of the Syro-Malabar Church that has some 4 million faithful. Unlike in the Latin rite Church, where the Pope directly appoints bishops, the Code of Canons of Oriental Churches grants the synod of eastern churches the power to elect their own bishops and church heads, which the Pope approves. Bishop-elect, Fr. Jose Puthenveettil succeeds Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Chakiath, who has retired on reaching the age of 75.
India’s Catholic Church is a communion of three ritual Churches: the Latin, the Syro-Malabar and the Syro-Malankara, which together make up the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, the apex body of the Church in the country.
Auxiliary Bishop-elect, Fr. Jose Puthenveettil was born on April 4, 1961 in the parish of St. George’s Forane Church, Edappally in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly as the third of the eight children of Mr. Devassy and Mary Puthenveettil. After his school education at St. George’s H.S. Edappally, Young Jose Puthenveettil had his priestly formation for three years (1977-1980) in the Sacred Heart Minor Seminary, Thrikkakara and for seven years (1980-1987) in St. Joseph’s Interdiocesan Seminary, Mangalore. On 26 December 1987 Cardinal Antony Padiyara, the then Archbishop of Ernakulam, ordained him priest at St. George’s Forane Church, Edappally, for the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. After the ordination Fr. Jose served the archdiocese as assistant vicar at St. Mary’s Forane Church, Kanjoor (1988-1990) and then as the Secretary to Mar Antony Cardinal Padiyara (1990-1992). Rev. Fr. Jose had his higher education at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium and took doctorate in Theology. His doctoral thesis is entitled as “Common and Ministerial Priesthood. A Critical Textual Hermeneutics in the Light of ‘Tria Munera’, ‘In Persona Christi’, and ‘Diakonia’ with Special Reference to ‘Christifideles Laici’ and ‘Pastores Dabo Vobis’.
After having returned to India he served as parish priest of St. Augustine’s Church, Thuravoor North (1998-1999) and St. Mary’s Church, Mookkannoor (1999). From 1999 to 2000 he served as assistant director and dean of studies of Niveditha, Institute for Religious Formation and Fellowship at Chunangamvely and during the same period he was assistant at St. Joseph’s Church, Chunangamvely and in that capacity he also took care of St. Pius Xth Church, Choondy. He had been professor of systematic theology at Paurastya Vidyapitam, Kottayam, for 11 years from 2000 to 2011, of which he served for a term of three years as the Vice president of the Institute. Since 2011 he has been serving as the Syncellus (Pro-Vicar General) of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly. The new Auxiliary Bishop is proficient in Malayalam, English and German. He is the author of the book titled ‘Priesthood: The Baptised and the Ordained. A textual Hermeneutics in the Light of the Church Documents.’ He is also the editor of the books ‘Akapporul (Malayalam-On Nicea-Constantinople Creed)’; ‘Syro-Malabar Thelogy in Context’ and ‘Paurohithyam: Uravidangal, Yadharthiyangal, Pratheeshakal (Malayalam)’. He has also some articles to his credit.


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