WASHINGTON (CNS) – The synod of bishops of the Syro-Malankara Church has erected the Eparchy of Parassala, India, and with the assent of Pope Francis, has elected as the first bishop of the eparchy Bishop Thomas Eusebius Naickamparampil, who is currently serving Syro-Malankara Catholics in the U.S. and Canada.
Bishop Naickamparampil, 56, heads the Syro-Malankara Eparchy of St. Mary Queen of Peace of the U.S. and Canada, which is based in Elmont, L.I.
Pope Francis also has given his assent to the nomination of Auxiliary Bishop Philipose Stephanos Thattahil of Tiruvalla, India, who is 65, to succeed Bishop Naickamparampil.
The appointments were announced in Washington Aug. 5 by Msgr. Walter Erbi, charge d’affaires at the apostolic nunciature in the United States.
Bishop Naickamparampil’s enthronement to head the Eparchy of Parassala is scheduled for Sept. 23. In the meantime, he will continue as apostolic administrator of the New York-based eparchy until Bishop Thattahil’s arrival.
In July 2010, Pope Benedict XVI established the Elmont-based eparchy as an exarchate for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the United States. An exarchate – the equivalent of an apostolic vicariate in the Latin church – is created by the Vatican for the pastoral care of Catholics in an area outside the territory of the Eastern Catholic Church to which they belong.
Bishop Naickamparampil was installed to head the exarchate in October of 2010. In December 2015, Pope Francis elevated the exarchate to the status of an eparchy and extended its territory to include Canada.
“The priests, religious and the lay faithful with much gratitude and prayers wish His Excellency Mar Eusebius and the new eparchy every blessing of the Divine Shepherd who always watches over his flocks through the successors of the holy apostles,” said a message posted on the eparchy’s website in response to Bishop Naickamparampil’s new appointment.
The bishop was born June 6, 1961, in Mylapra, a village in Pathanamthitta district in the southern Indian state of Kerala. He was ordained a priest of the Archeparchy of Trivandrum, India, on Dec. 29, 1986. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Bishop Thattahil was born May 9, 1952, in Pathanamthitta, India, and was ordained to the priesthood April 27, 1979. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Tiruvalla Jan. 25, 2010. His episcopal ordination was Feb. 9, 2010.