By Vatican News
Pope Francis on Thursday appointed a new bishop in the Diocese of Aitape in Papua New Guinea. He is Indian priest Father Siby Mathew Peedikayil of the congregation of Heralds of Good News. The 50-year old priest has been serving as the vicar general of the Diocese of Vanimo in PNG. He takes over from Bishop Otto Separy who was transferred as Bishop of Bereina in July 2019.
Fr. Siby Mathew Peedikayil, HGN, was born on 6 December 1970 in Meloram, in southern India’s Kerala state. He made his religious profession as a member of the Heralds of Good News congregation on 3 July 1986. He received his education and religious formation in India where, in 1996 he obtained a master's degree in theology from Saint Albert's College, Ranchi, and a B.A. degree in 1999. After his priestly ordination on 1 February 1995, he was put in charge of spiritual formation and procurator of Saint Joseph's Major Seminary, in Andhra Pradesh, India (1996-1997).
In 1998 he was sent as a missionary in Vanimo in Papua New Guinea, where he first served as rector of Saint John Vianney Minor Seminary (1998 - 2003). He was also a lecturer at Saint Charles Borromeo Major Seminary from 1999 to 2004. Later, he served as vicar general of the Diocese of Vanimo (2003 - 2004) and then as rector of Saint Joseph's Major Seminary and parish priest of Pallegudem parish in Khammam, India, from 2004 to 2008.
In 2008, Fr. Peedikayil was appointed provincial superior of the Saint Paul Province of the HGN in India until 2014 when he was appointed parish priest of Saint Bruno parish in Papua New Guinean Diocese of Vanimo. He also served as episcopal vicar for pastoral care and a member of the College of Consultors. In 2015, he became a professor at Saint Charles Borromeo Major Seminary and again from 2018 until now.
Since 2014, Fr. Peedikayil has been vicar general of Vanimo Diocese. A diocese since 1966, Aitape is one of the 4 suffragan dioceses that make up the ecclesiastical province of Madang Metropolitan Archdiocese. Fr. Peedikayil is the sixth bishop of Aitape.
Papua New Guinea comprises the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia (a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia). PNG and Solomon Islands together form the single Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.