Busy start for Adelaide’s newest international priest
Arriving in Adelaide in the middle of the busy Advent season, new international priest Fr Santhosh Nazareth CSC didn’t take long to find his feet.
A day after touching down at Adelaide Airport on December 8, the 40-year-old priest from the Congregation of Holy Cross was joining Fr Anthoni Adimai in celebrating the Year 6 graduation Mass at Nazareth School and was soon assisting fellow CSC Fr Lancy D’Silva in the Sacred Heart parish (Hindmarsh-Findon).
Reflecting on his hectic introduction to life in Australia – and indeed his first time abroad – Fr Santhosh said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the warm welcome he had received.
“The first thing I noticed is that the people here are very welcoming, very friendly, very social and helpful,” he said.
“It was certainly a kind of cultural shock (coming here), but I will adapt and adjust.
“Since ours is a religious Congregation, we are taught to go where you are asked to go although they consult these days prior to the ministerial appointment. There was a need here; so here I am taking it as an opportunity.”
Fluent in English, Hindi, Kannada and Konkani, Fr Santhosh will be able to provide strong support to the local Indian Catholic Community and the Archdiocese in general.
His background in education will also be invaluable as most recently he served as the principal of the Holy Cross School in Kerala, providing leadership to teaching staff and about 400 students from pre-school to Year 10. The school caters to the needs of multi-religion communities like Christians, Muslims and Hindus.
Fr Santhosh was also school administrator of the Holy Cross School in Ghanpur, Telangana State, from 2012-2016 before being appointed as the parish priest of St Anthony’s Church Magadi, Bangalore, a mission parish of the Archdiocese of Bangalore.
Growing up in Byndoor, a coastal town in Karnataka State in southern-west India, Fr Santhosh spoke of his “traditional Catholic upbringing”.
The youngest of seven children, he said faith formation was an integral and central part of family life.
“Our house is situated very close to the church and we could hear the church bell ring,” he said.
“Regular attendance and participation in spiritual activities such as daily Eucharist, Sunday liturgy, catechism, novenas and retreats were taught and insisted by our parents.
“I received my first Holy Communion when I was in Year 3 and it was a great celebration, a great feeling. I think it was then I was attracted to priesthood…I had an idea or a concept of priests that the priests knew everything and they were very gentle, very loving and caring people.”
Fr Santhosh explained that every year his local church would welcome priests from different congregations – Capuchins, Carmelites and Holy Cross – to fill in and help with retreats, recollections and funeral Masses.
“These priests would give you a different set of thoughts, with their reflections and insights,” he said.
“I guess what attracted me to the Congregation of Holy Cross was firstly the name – because I hail from Holy Cross parish…but I was also drawn by their commitment to education and community life and their balance in the blend of spirituality and missionary zeal.
“They gave me a sense that the priest was meant to ‘go out’, to work in different places.”
Joining the Congregation of Holy Cross after completing his Grade 10 studies in 1999, Fr Santhosh continued pre-university and college studies in Christ College Bangalore before making his first religious vows in 2005.
He made his perpetual vows in 2012, a day before his ordination to diaconate.
After having served as a deacon for six months he was ordained a priest on December 10 2012, following almost 14 years of discernment.
Fr Santhosh has been appointed as assistant priest to the Sacred Heart (Hindmarsh/Findon) parish.Jump to next article
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