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Warangal gets new bishop 

The bishop-elect

Bangalore: Pope Francis has appointed Father Uduma Bala, deputy secretary general of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, as the new bishop of Warangal diocese in Andhra Pradesh.

The announcement was made in the Vatican on Saturday, the same day the Pope selected Cardinal Oswald Gracias and seven others from around the world for a high-power group to advise him.

Father Bala is the first Indian bishop to be appointed by the new Pope, who was elected on March 13.

Warangal diocese was without a bishop since May 2011 when Rome transferred its prelate Bishop Thumma Bala (no relation) as the archbishop of Hyderabad.

The bishop-elect was born on June 18, 1954 at Gudur in Warangal district. He did his seminary studies at St. John’s Regional Seminary in Hyderabad and was ordained a priest in 1979.

He started his priestly career as an assistant in Dornakal and a year later became the parish priest of Proddutur, a post he held for four years.

He was appointed chancellor and procurator of Warangal diocese and taught catechetics for four years at St. John’s Regional Seminary.

He became the rector of the same seminary in 1997 and continued in that past for nine years. He was appointed deputy secretary general of the conference of Latin rite bishops in India in 2006.

He is proficient in English, Hindi, Italian and German, besides his mother tongue, Telugu. He has working knowledge in Latin and Greek.

Warangal diocese has some 66,500 Catholics in a population of 7.7 million spread over 22,702 square kilometers. It is served by 138 priests and 554 nuns.