Syro-Malabar eparchy erected in Australia

Bishop Bosco PuthurKochi: 

The head of a new diocese established for Syro-Malabar Catholics in Australia says organizing the Oriental rite faithful in the region will be his priority.

Pope Francis this Saturday established the new Eparchy to serve the growing Syro-Malabar Church throughout Australia and appointed Bishop Bosco Puthur as its first bishop.

“It is exciting. It gives exciting opportunities,” Bishop Puthur told ucanews on Monday. Bishop Puthur said his priority will be to organize parishes and structures for his people.

Bishop Puthur is also named Apostolic Visitor for the Syro-Malabar faithful resident in New Zealand.

In a related development, Thrissur Auxiliary Bishop Raphael Thattil was appointed Apostolic Visitor of the Church for faithful living outside its dioceses in India.

In Australia alone some 40,000 Syro-Malabar Catholics but they do not have any independent parishes or church buildings, Bishop Puthur said.

A growing number of Syro-Malabar priests also serve in Australian parishes and the Australian bishops are “very welcoming,” Bishop Puthur said.

The new diocese, Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle of Melbourne, will be the second Syro-Malabar diocese outside India after the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago, established in 2001.

Bishop Puthur was born in 1946 in Kerala and has a Licentiate in philosophy and studied at the Pontifical College Propaganda Fide in Rome, where he gained a Licentiate and Doctorate. He speaks English, Malayalam and Italian.

Bishop Puthur has served as a Rector and Lecturer at a number of Indian Seminaries as well as directing a Liturgical Research Centre in Kakkanad.

He has extensive parish and pastoral experience and has worked as Vicar General of the Archeparchy of Trichur.

Bishop Puthur was consecrated Bishop on 13 February 2010, and has been serving as the Curia bishop since then. 

Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has recognized the establishment of the new Eparchy as a clear indication of the care of the Holy See for the thousands of Syro-Malabar Catholics in Australia, said the website of Parramatta diocese in Australia. 

“I welcome Bishop Bosco Puthur as the first Bishop of the St Thomas Catholics in Australia, and I look forward to working with him as a colleague in Melbourne, while he has care of his brothers and sisters through the whole country,” the website parra.catholic.org.au quoted Archbsihop Hart.