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Indian priests answer call to serve in SA

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The two newest international priests to join the Archdiocese of Adelaide have plenty in common.

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They were both born in the same year, raised in south India in strong Catholic families, joined the same congregation, were ordained at the same time and have followed God’s call to serve in Australia for the next four years.

Fr Prathap Katta SdM and Fr Arul Dev SdM arrived in Adelaide recently and were guests of honour at a morning tea hosted by the Archdiocese’s Multicultural Office this month.

Both priests said they were thrilled by the welcome and support they had received and were looking forward to using their experiences to serve the Catholic community.

Fr Prathap, 37, was raised in a “traditional Catholic family” and although the call to the priesthood was strong, he said he questioned his vocation many times because of “fragility, unworthiness and problems”.

“But with God’s inspiration and call, speaking through many people, I continued in the congregation of SdM (the Society of St Eugene De Mazenod) from 1999.

“There I learned the value of life, the value of vocation and what is vocation…and I understood.”

Since his ordination in 2011, Fr Prathap has served as an assistant priest in different parishes and dioceses, and in institutions.

A keen cricketer, Fr Dev, 37, was also ordained in 2011 and is a member of the same congregation, having lived the SdM family life for the past 20 years.

He said his call to serve God was inspired by his congregation founder Fr Gerard and the congregation’s charism to “love the unloved unconditionally”.

Describing his first week in Adelaide, Fr Dev said he was settling in well and “I feel at home here”.

His ministry over the past few years has included being rector of the SdM Study House in Karumathur Madurai, and as an assistant and parish priest in several parishes. He was also the principal and superior of St Ann’s English Medium School in South India.

Fr Dev said while in South India youth ministry had been a focus for him, but he would be happy to serve Adelaide in whatever capacity was needed.

Fr Prathap and Fr Dev join two other members of the SdM community in Adelaide – Fr Anthoni Adimai and Fr Sam Arockiasamy.

The arrival of Fr Prathap and Fr Dev follows closely on from fellow Indian priests Fr Lancy D’Silva CSC and Fr Santosh Pereira MSFS coming to Adelaide in July. There are now 23 international priests serving in the archdiocese.

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