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Pope makes 5 appointments in Asian Churches

Pope Francis on Tuesday made five appointments in Asia. Two of them are in India, two in the Philippines and one in Kazakhstan.

By Robin Gomes

The appointments in Asia come on the day the Church marks the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, the patron saints of Rome.  June 29, which is a holiday in Rome and the Vatican, commemorates the martyrdom of the two great stalwarts of Christianity, both of whom were killed for their faith in the Eternal City.


The appointments in India are in Tiruchirapalli and Port Blair.


The Holy Father appointed Father Savarimuthu Arokiaraj as the Bishop of Tiruchirapalli, in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state.  Father Arokiaraj, who has been serving as the Rector of the Holy Redeemer's Basilica in Tiruchirapalli,  

was born on October 24, 1954, in Lalapettai, in the same diocese.  He completed his studies in Philosophy (1974-1976) and Theology (1977-1980) at St. Peter's Pontifical Seminary in Bangalore. He received his Doctorate in Theology with a specialization in Liturgy from the Institut Catholique de Paris, France, (2002).

He was ordained a priest on January 8, 1981 for the Diocese of Tiruchirapalli.  Thereafter, he held the following positions:

1981:           Assistant parish priest of St. Joseph's Church, Dindigul

1981-1986:  Parish priest in Ayyampatty

1986-1987:  Parish priest in Udayapatty

1988-1991:  Secretary of the Commission for the Liturgy of the Tamil Nadu Bishops' Council

1991-1994:  Regional Secretary of the Commission for the Liturgy, Tindivanam

2002-2008:  Secretary of the Commission for the Liturgy of the Tamil Nadu Bishops' Council

2009-2015:  Diocesan Chancellor

2009-2012:  Parish Priest in Subramaniapuram

2012-2015:  Lecturer in Liturgy at St. Paul's Seminary

2015-2016:  Pastor of the Cathedral of Tiruchirapalli

2016-2019:  Rector of St. Paul's Seminary

from  2019:  Rector of the Holy Redeemer's Basilica in Tiruchirapalli.


Port Blair

Father Visuvasam Selvaraj has been appointed Bishop of Port Blair (India), the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a Union Territory of India in the Bay of Bengal.

Selvaraj, who is the Diocesan Administrator of Port Blair, was born on January 4, 1966, in Raja Annamalaipuram, in the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Madras and Mylapore, in Tamil Nadu state. He began his priestly formation in the Minor Seminary of Madras, Santhome. He completed his studies in philosophy at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Chennai and those in theology at St. Albert's College in Ranchi. He was ordained a priest on May 8, 1994, for the Diocese of Port Blair. He obtained a Masters in Canon Law from the Pontifical Institute of Saint Peter in Bangalore (1999-2001).

After his priestly ordination he held the following responsibilities:

1994-1995:  Assistant parish priest of the Stella Maris Cathedral of Port Blair

1995-1998:  Diocesan Consultor

1998-1999:  Assistant parish priest in Mayabunder

2001-2006: Director of Diocesan Social Services

2001-2019: Chancellor and Judicial Vicar

2006-2010: Parish priest of St. Joseph’s Church, Katchal

2010-2013: Parish Priest of Stella Maris Cathedral

2013-2015: Rector of the Sanctuary, Member of the College of Diocesan Consultors, Deputy Financial Administrator and Director of Diocesan Social Services

2015-2017: Financial Administrator of the Diocese

2017-2019: Vicar General

Since 2017: In charge of the Christian Communities and for Catechesis

From 2020: Diocesan Administrator of Port Blair



In the Philippines, Pope Francis made appointments in Malaybalay and Taytay


The Holy Father has appointed Father Noel P. Pedregosa as the Bishop of Malaybalay, in the Northern Mindanao region. The priest, who is serving as Diocesan Administrator and Rector of the Cathedral, was born on October 18, 1964 in Bialong, M'lang, North Cotabato, in the Diocese of Malaybalay.

After high school at Don Carlos Loyola High School, he attended courses in philosophy at St. Isidro College in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, and those in theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Cagayan de Oro. Subsequently he obtained a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Loyola School of Theology at the University of Manila.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Malaybalay on 11 September 1991, following which he served in the following capacities:

1991-1993: Assistant parish priest at San Isidro Labrador

1993-1997: Parish priest of San Vicente Ferrer, Buda

2001-2004: Formator at the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Cagayan de Oro

2004-2012: Rector of St. John XXIII College Seminary, Malaybalay

2012-2017: Pastor of the Immaculate Conception, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon

Since 2017:  Vicar General of Malaybalay Diocese and Rector of the Cathedral of San Isidro.

Since 7 July 2020:  Diocesan Administrator



The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Broderick Soncuaco Pabillo as Vicar Apostolic of Taytay (Philippines), transferring him from the office of Auxiliary Bishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Manila.




In the central Asian republic of Kazakhstan, Pope Francis appointed Father Yevgeniy Zinkovskiy AS Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganda.  The priest who is serving as Vicar General of Karaganda was born on July 27, 1975, in Shortandy in Kazakhstan.  After primary and secondary schools, he followed philosophical and theological training in Gniezno in Poland.

After his priestly ordination on August 1, 1999, he served as assistant parish priest of the then St. Joseph Cathedral Parish in Karaganda.

2001-2003:  Obtained licentiate in philosophy from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Italy

2003- 2011:  Parish priest in Balkhash

2009-2011:  Parish priest in Temirtau

2011         : Chancellor of the Diocesan Curia.

From 2015:  Vicar General of Karaganda.

2018         : Obtained doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical John Paul II University in Krakow, Poland.

In addition to Russian and Polish, Father Zinkovskiy speaks Italian and English.

29 June 2021, 19:39