Bishop Thomas Eusebius Naickamparampil delivers his homily during a Divine Liturgy at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Elmont in a 2016 photo. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The synod of bishops of the Syro-Malankara Church has erected the Eparchy of Parassala, India, and with the assent of Pope Francis, has elected as the first bishop of the eparchy Bishop Thomas Eusebius Naickamparampil, who is currently serving Syro-Malankara Catholics in the U.S. and Canada.
Bishop Naickamparampil, 56, heads the Syro-Malankara Eparchy of St. Mary Queen of Peace of the U.S. and Canada, which is based in Elmont.
Pope Francis also has given his assent to the nomination of Auxiliary Bishop Philipose Stephanos Thattahil of Tiruvalla, India, who is 65, to succeed Bishop Naickamparampil.
The appointments were announced in Washington Aug. 5 by Msgr. Walter Erbi, charge d’affaires at the apostolic nunciature in the United States.
Bishop Naickamparampil’s enthronement to head the Eparchy of Parassala is scheduled for Sept. 23. In the meantime, he will continue as apostolic administrator of the Long Island-based eparchy until Bishop Thattahil’s arrival.
Bishop John Barres of the Diocese of Rockville Centre offered prayers and warm congratulations to Bishop Thomas Mar Eusebius Naickamparambil, in a statement issued August 7. In addition, the statement said that “Bishop Barres, along with the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Rockville Centre warmly welcome and congratulate Bishop Philipose Mar Stephanos and wish him the fullness of God’s blessings as he begins his episcopal ministry in the Eparchy of Saint Mary Queen of Peace.”
In July 2010, Pope Benedict XVI established the Elmont-based eparchy as an exarchate for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the United States. An exarchate — the equivalent of an apostolic vicariate in the Latin church — is created by the Vatican for the pastoral care of Catholics in an area outside the territory of the Eastern Catholic Church to which they belong.
Bishop Naickamparampil was installed to head the exarchate in October 2010. In December 2015, Pope Francis elevated the exarchate to the status of an eparchy and extended its territory to include Canada.