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Assistant General appointed a Coadjutor of Apostolic Vicar in Ethiopia

VargheseThottamkara-f02-220sqHis Holiness Pope Francis appointed  Father VARGHESE THOTTAMKARA, C.M. as coadjutor of the Apostolic Vicariate of Nekemte in Ethiopia, assinging him the Titular See of Chullu, Vatican Information Service (VIS) announced ealier today, June 28, 2013. Fr. Varghese has been Assistant General since July 2010. Other appointment today include Fr. Bruno Feillet as auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Reims, France, and Msgr. Angel Fernandez Collado as auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Toledo, Primate of Spain.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Nekemte is located in the city of Nekemte in Ethiopia. It covers the area of 38,213 sq. miles with population of 7,241,000 and only 55,453 Catholics. 28 priests (including 9 Vincentians) and 86 parishes are there. It was established in January 1913 as Apostolic Prefecture of Southern Jaffa after division of Apostolic Vicariate of Ghalla. Later in the same year it was renamed Apostolic Prefecture of Kaffa. In 1937 promoted as Apostolic Vicariate of Gimma. The current name is in use since September 3, 1982.

In 1958 Fr. Frans Janssen, C.M.(later bishop) became Apostolic Administrator of the Vicariate of Gimma as first Vincentian to be a head of the Vicariate. Six other Vincentian bishops followed. Bishop Theodorus Van Ruijven CM is the Vicar since July 23, 2009. He is turned 75 in May this year. Thus, Msgr Thottamkara as coadjutor will be his successor later on.

Varghese THOTTAMKARA, C.M. was born June 2, 1959 in Thottuva, Kerala, India. He was admitted to the Congregation of the Mission in the India South Province , May 11, 1982 in Gopalpur-on-Sea. He took his vows May 10, 1986 and was ordained deacon a day after. He received priesthood ordination January 6, 1987. Since ordination, he has served in several pastoral, academic, administrative, missionary, and institutional roles.

1988-1990 he was a pastor of Muniguda and Allada parish in diocese of Berhampur, Orissa, India. Next, 1990-1993 He was vice-rector and professor in the minor seminary of Ambo, Ethiopia, from 1993-1995 rector and professor of the Vincentian major seminary in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. 1995-1998 he lived in Rome and studied at Angelicum. He graduated as S.T.L in Moral Theology. After return to Ethiopia since 1998 to 2005 he was councillor of the CM Province of Ethiopia and professor at the St. Francis Theological Institute of Addis Abeba.

In 2005 Father returned to Rome. He was appointed Procurator General of the Congregation of the Mission. In 2006 he was elected Visitor of India South Province and returned to his homeland. During the General Assembly in Paris in 2010 Father has been elected Assistant General. His responsibilities include foreign missions. On June 28, 2013 he was appointed titular bishop of Chullu. This weekend, he is expected to come to St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY to participate in the International Visitors Meeting.

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