Indian ordination to the priesthood
George Stephen Thayriam SJ, who completed his theological studies at Heythrop at the end of the summer term, was ordained to the priesthood on Saturday 25th August in his home Province of Madurai.
Most. Rev. Nazarene Susai, Bishop of Kottar, presided at the ceremony, which took place at St Joseph College, Trichy, which also saw the ordination of nine deacons of Jesuit Madurai province and three more from the Jesuit Andhra provincel. Rev. Fr. Vernon D'Cunha, the general assistant, was also present at this joyous celebration.
"The solemn liturgy stole the hearts of all those who attended the ordination" comments Fr George. "There were more than three hundred priests and religious, who added more joy to the celebration. The Bishop, in his powerful homily, thanked the parents for their generosity to offer their children to serve the Lord at his holy altar. He emphasized the greatness of priesthood, touching also upon the struggles faced by priests in our modern world, and he invited the newly ordained to be prophetic witnesses to their priesthood.
"The choir from St. Joseph's parish created a solemn spiritual atmosphere by their melodious singing. The entire arrangement was very meticulous and credit goes to the entire Jesuit family."
At the time of his diaconate ordination earlier this year at Farm Street Church in London, Fr George was a member of the Hurtado Jesuit community in Wapping. Fr George is now on his way back to the UK, to work for a year as Assistant priest at St Anselm’s in Southall.
The parish in West London is a multi-cultural Catholic community which seeks to witness to its faith in an area of some deprivation and considerable cultural and religious diversity. Since the 1950s, Southall has become home to large movements of people from the region of the Punjab in northern India and other parts of the sub-continent.
That is how, apart from a wide variety of Christian churches, within the bounds of the parish are some ten Sikh gurdwaras, four mosques, three Hindu temples, and a Buddhist vihara, not to mention many more informal placers of worship.
In addition to the normal pastoral needs of a large community, St Anselm’s attends to the many challenges and opportunities such a pluralist environment presents. From the funding of an all-year shelter for street homeless, to initiatives for the promotion of awareness and a Christian response to caste discrimination, the parish has been actively involved in the life of the residents.
Fr Gerard Mitchell SJ, parish priest of St Anselm's, flew to India in mid August in order to attend the ordination of George Thayriam SJ. “I am delighted that Thayriam will be spending a year in St Anselm’s after his ordination. Please remember him in your prayers” said Fr Gerard.