Archbishop Vincent Nichols, as President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, and with the unanimous agreement of the Bishops and Ordinaries of the Catholic Bishops Conference, has appointed Fr Thomas Parayadyil MST as the National Coordinator for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Chaplains and Fr Antonio Serra as the National Coordinator for Chaplains to the Mission for Italian Catholics for England and Wales.
National Coordinators exercise an important role in facilitating ecclesial communion and pastoral collaboration amongst Chaplains ministering to ethnic communities or large numbers of migrants belonging to an autonomous ritual Church in communion with the Holy See.
Fr Parayadyil and Fr Serra will discharge their duties as National Co-ordinators in accordance with norms established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Rev Fr Thomas Parayadyil MST
Fr Thomas Parayadyil was born on 16 March 1949 at Thidanad, Kerala. After school education he joined the minor seminary in 1964 and was ordained a priest for the Missionary Society of St Thomas the Apostle, Melampara, Kerala, India on 19 December 1973. After two years of service in the missions he was sent for higher studies in Rome and he secured a Doctorate in Oriental Liturgy from the Pontifical Oriental Institute. On his return he was appointed professor of Liturgy at St Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Alwaye, Kerala (1981-1986). When his Missionary Society started a Major Seminary in North India, he was selected to be its first Rector (1986-1991). While serving in the Missions as the Vicar General and the parish priest of the Cathedral Church in the diocese of Ujjain (1992-1998) he was elected the Superior General of his Missionary Society (1998-2003). In 2007 the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church proposed him as the coordinator and chaplain for the migrants in the London dioceses; he was subsequently appointed to this post by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor on 1 December 2007. Fr Parayadyil’s appointment as National Coordinator of the Syro-Malabar Chaplains is for a term of office of three years and will commence on 1 December 2013.
Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is one of the 22 Eastern (Oriental) Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome. It is the second largest Eastern Catholic Church after the Ukrainian Church and the largest of the Saint Thomas Christian (Nazrani) denominations with 4.6 million believers. It is a sui juris Church governed by a Synod of Bishops and headed by a Major Archbishop. There are more than 55,000 Syro-Malabar Rite Catholics in the UK and the number is increasing.
Rev Fr Antonio Serra
Fr Antonio Serra was born in Sardinia and after school education in Cagliari studied for the priesthood at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology of Sardinia, Cagliari. He was ordained a priest in Arixi for the Diocese of Cagliari on 29 August 1987 and subsequently gained a Pontifical License in Sacred Theology. He was Parish Priest of Segariu (1998-1991) and from 1991 studied at the International Pauline Study Centre for Social Communication in Rome gaining a Master Diploma in Pastoral Communication (1994). In 1995, Fr Serra became the Founder and Chief Executive Director of the Diocesan Broadcast Radio Station “Radio Kalaritan” in the Diocese of Cagliari. He was Parish Priest of Sisini in the Diocese of Cagliari (2005-2008). From 2008 to 2012, he was Chaplain for the Italian Catholic Mission in the North of England and in September 2012 was appointed Chaplain for the Italian Catholic Mission in London. Fr Serra’s appointment as National Coordinator for the Italian Catholic Mission is for a term of office of three years and will commence on 1 December 2013.
Italian Catholic Mission
The Mission for Italian Catholics in England and Wales was established by the Holy See after the Second World War to minister to the many Italians who had travelled to England and Wales to work. Some of the missionaries appointed were members of religious congregations, such as the Pallotine Fathers at the Italian Church in Clerkenwell and the Scalabrini Fathers in Brixton and Bedford. Diocesan priests from several dioceses in Italy were sent to care for the other mission centres which were established in Birmingham, Bradford, Cheshunt (later transferred to Enfield), Leicester, London (later transferred to Enfield), Swindon (later transferred to Bristol), Manchester and Nottingham. The appointment of Fr Serra was made at the request of ‘Migrantes’, the department of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) responsible for migrants.