Pope Francis on Thursday named a Chicago-area priest to become an auxiliary bishop of the Syro-Malabarese Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Chicago. Father Joy Alappat, 57, the vicar of Mar Thoma Sleeha Cathedral in Bellwood, Ill., will become a bishop for the diocese which serves the faithful of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in the U.S. He was born in Parappukara, in the Indian state of Kerala, in 1956. The bishop-designate attended St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary in Vadavathoor and was ordained a priest of the Syro-Malabarese Diocese of Irinjalakuda in 1981. Fr. Alappat undertook graduate studies at St. Joseph’s Pontifical Institute in Aluva and at Adheva University in Wattair. He then did pastoral work in Chalkudy, Mala and at the Irinjalakuda cathedral. He was a chaplain in Chennai before he was transferred to the U.S. in 1993. Fr. Alappat served as a chaplain at Georgetown University Medical Center from 1999-2002, where he completed the university's clinical pastoral education program. His pastoral assignments in the U.S. include New Milford, Conn., and Newark and Garfield in New Jersey. The date of Fr. Alappat's episocopal consecration has yet to be determined. The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is an India-based Eastern Catholic Church. It is of the East Syrian rite, and most closely related to the Chaldean Catholic Church. There are some 4 million Syro-Malabarese Catholics in the world, mainly in India, making it the second largest Eastern Catholic Church. The Syro-Malabarese Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Chicago is led by Bishop Jacob Angadiath, who was appointed in 2001 when the eparchy was established. In 2010, the eparchy, which serves all the Syro-Malabarese Catholics in the U.S., included 86,000 faithful, 37 diocesan priests, 10 religious priests, and 18 parishes.
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