By Matters India Reporter
Kochi, Dec. 22, 2018: Pope Francis has erected a new Syro-Malabar diocese in Canada – Mississauga – and appointed Monsignor Jose Kalluvelil as its first bishop.
The announcement was made at 12 noon on December 22 in the Vatican and its corresponding time in India and Canada.
The inauguration of the diocese and installation of the bishop will be decided later, says a press release from the Syro-Malabar Church headquarters in Kochi, Kerala.
Mississauga was until now an apostolic exarchate, an ecclesiastical territory that is similar to a diocese but without the status of a diocese. An exarchate is raised a diocese when the number of faithful increases and setting up of parishes and other structures.
Mississauga was made an exarchate on August 6, 2015 with Monsignor Kalluvelil as its apostolic exarch.
“The new diocese has been created after the Vatican is convinced that the Syro-Malabar Church in Canada has made all arrangements in the past three and half years,” the press release adds.
The diocese has jurisdiction over its people living in Canada. It has nine provinces, 12 parishes, 34 mission centers catering to more than 20,000 faithful. The exarchate that started with two priests now has 23. Seven people are getting trained to be priests.
The diocese is also served by 12 sisters from three congregations. It has four churches, including the cathedral.
The bishop-elect was born on November 15, 1955, at Thottuva near Kuravilangad in Kerala. After his family shifted to Palakkad, Kalluvelil joined the Palghat diocese. After studies in St Thomas Apostolic Seminary in Vadavathur, Kottayam, he was ordained a priest on December 18, 1984. He has a doctorate from Salesian University Rome.
He was appointed exarch when he was serving the Syro-Malabar Catholics in Toronto.
Mississauga is the fourth Syro-Malabar diocese outside India after Chicago, Great Britain and Australia.
The Oriental Church that traces its origin to Saint Thomas the Apostle has now 35 dioceses.