Simplicity and zeal mark India’s Cardinal elect

January 10, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Archbishop George Alencherry

Archbishop George Alencherry

Kerala January 09, 2012: His Eminence, Cardinal-designate, George Alencherry has gratefully acknowledged The CSF congratulations on your behalf. The prelate responding in an email says – ” I thank you very much for your greetings on this occasion of my nomination as Cardinal.  What is more needed, as you know, is your prayers.  I rely very much on them. Let us be united in Spirit and action in the Church of Christ. With every good wish “. The CSF urges its prayer warriors and intercessors to do precisely that – Intercede for + George Alencherry. The latest from ucan follow.

– joseph dias

In his youth, George Alencherry lacked the funds to attend a seminar but his bishop encouraged him to continue his studies and helped convince him that he was destined for greater things. He went on to become a priest and in short order was appointed bishop, then became the first elected major archbishop of India. Next month, he will become the 11th cardinal from India following an announcement made last week by Pope Benedict XVI.

Despite his achievements, the cardinal designate has remained humble. “It was the will of God that shaped my destiny. I only wanted to become a priest to serve my Lord,” he said after his election as major archbishop on May 25, 2011. He is known as a man more of action than words. During his tenure as bishop, he could be seen in the villages, in people’s homes and mingling among parishioners.

His selection as the first bishop of Thuckalay in Tamil Nadu state came as a surprise to many. But he quickly silenced his critics by learning Tamil in a matter of months and connecting with villagers. “Thuckalay was one of the backward areas and the majority of Catholics were poor. My first priority was to know my faithful and understand their needs,” he said.

Upon assuming the role of major archbishop, the cardinal designate treaded a cautious path and avoiding controversy, while keeping a sharp eye on Church affairs and favoring dialogue to resolve conflicts and achieve consensus on matters in and outside the Church.

In a matter of months, he convinced many of his worthiness to succeed the late scholar Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil. Cardinal designate Alencherry was born on April 19, 1945, in Thuruthy in Kerala’s Changanassery archdiocese, one of 10 children born to local farmers. His elder brother joined the seminary and his father could not afford to send him as well. But after completing high school, Archbishop Mathew Kavukattu of Changanassery archdiocese assisted him in joining the local minor seminary.

He later graduated with a degree in economics and completed his theological studies at St Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary in Aluva. After his ordination as a priest on November 19, 1972, he earned his doctorate at the Institut Catholique de Paris, where he specialized in Catechesis.

– ucan

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