- ucanews.com

July 29, 2016 : A Syro-Malabar diocese has been established in Preston, England to serve the thousands of Kerala Catholics who migrated to the area from southern India.

The bishop of the new diocese will be Father Joseph Srampickal of Palai Diocese, said the headquarters of the Syro-Malabar Oriental Church in Kochi, July 28.

Pope Francis also appointed Father Stephen Chirappanath from Irinjalakuda Diocese as the Apostolic Visitator with Episcopal character, for the Syro-Malabar people in Europe.

The date of the Episcopal ordination of 49-year-old Father Srampickal will be decided later, said Antony Kollannur, Major Archiepiscopal Chancellor of the church that traces its faith to St. Thomas the Apostle.

Church sources say some 640,000 of its members live outside India in Africa, America, Europe and in Asian nations such as those in the Persian Gulf. The church already established a diocese in Chicago in 2001 for migrants in the United States and another in Melbourne in 2014 for those in Australia.

Some 21,000 migrant Kerala Catholics live in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, a vast majority of them moved there to work as hospital nurses and later settled with families.

The new Apostolic Visitator will help extended pastoral care to an estimated 60,000 migrant Kerala Catholics in European nations.


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