Pope Francis appointed Bishop Antony Pappusamy of Dindigal, located in India's Tamil Nadu state, as Archbishop of Madurai on July 26. Bishop Pappusamy was born in 1949 in Marambadi, a town 10 miles north of Dindigal. He holds a doctorate of sacred theology; he was ordained a priest in 1976, and was then consecrated an auxiliary bishop of Madurai in 1999. When the Diocese of Dindigul was established in 2003, from territory of the Madurai archdiocese and the Tiruchirapalli diocese, Bishop Pappusamy was allowed to return home, being appointed its first bishop. The diocese serves 106,000 Catholics, who are nine percent of the local population. In 2006, the diocese was served by 50 diocesan priests, plus 57 religious. He remained there until Saturday's announcement that he was appointed Archbishop of Madurai, succeeding Archbishop Peter Fernando, who is 75. Bishop Pappusamy is chairman of the Tamil Nadu bishops' council commission for clergy and religious. As Archbishop of Madurai, he will shepherd some 145,000 Catholics, who are seven percent of the population, with the assistance of 59 priests and 275 religious. The area, part of Tamil Nadu state, is in India's far southeast; the official language is Tamil. The majority of the population, some 87 percent, are Hindu; Christians and Muslims each constitute around six percent of the state's population.
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