SINGAPORE – The parishioners of Church of St. Stephen welcomed Father Joseph Kanappilly, 57, as its new assistant priest in a reception held in the parish canteen after the 10.00am Mass on Sunday Apr 20.

"He’s not very young," quipped parish priest Father John Khoo as he introduced the India-born Father Joseph to his parishioners. Born in 1951 and ordained in 1977 in the Diocese of Alwaye, Father Kanappilly is a pioneer in introducing Small Christian Communities in the dioceses that he has worked in, most notably the Diocese of Vijayapuram-Kottayam, which he now belongs to.

Father Joseph will also serve as chaplain to the Singapore Malayalam Catholic Community. He will be in Singapore for two years, subject to extension by his bishop.

The position of assistant priest has been vacant since former assistant priest Father Peter Lu passed away in March 2007.

The parish, which completed its renovation of the church building in October last year, has seen a return of parishioners who have previously been attending Mass at other nearby parishes. The spike in church attendance has Father Khoo considering a second Mass in English on Sunday mornings to meet the growing number of his parishioners. -By Daniel Tay

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