Bangalore: Fr. Philip Kattakayam of Muzaffarpur diocese is the new executive secretary for the Laity Commission of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India.
Fr. Kattakayam was born in 1951, in Pala diocese in Kerala, southern India. After his schooling in local institutions he joined the Salesians of Don Bosco, in Kolkata, with whom he did his graduation, Philosophy (in Darjeeling) and two years of regency (in Kerala).
He joined Patna diocese in 1977 and was ordained priest in 1982 after theological studies in Mangalore.
Patna diocese was divided in 1980, and he decided to join Muzaffarpur which got only one of the diocesan priests from the mother diocese. After two years of initial pastoral ministries in Bettiah he served as parish priest in Khoriah, Chakhni and Bettiah.
In the infant diocese he took up ministries like Youth Animation, Faith Formation of Laity (Bible, Catechetics, Liturgy), Vocation Promotion, Communication, Diocesan News Letter in Hindi, etc. In 1995 Bp. John B. Thakur appointed him Vicar General of the Diocese.
He was sent to Manila (Philippines) for studies as preparation for ministry in the regional pastoral centre in Patna in 1998 where he did his post-graduation in Pastoral Ministry. On his return in 2001 he served as staff member in Navjyoti Niketan, Patna (Bihar Regional Pastoral Centre) as planned. After a term of three years he became pastor of Marpa parish.
Meanwhile he also completed his Masters in Human Resource Management, besides studies in environmental issues and Rural Development.
The Jesuits who manage Navjyoti Niketan, Patna, requested his services again in 2010, and he has been serving as faculty member until now mainly in the area of Laity Formation, Biblical Apostolate, Inter-religious harmony and Inter-Church dialogue.
Source: Conference of Catholic Bishops of India