Saturday, May 15, 2010

Archbishop Samineni Arulappa

 Archbishop Samineni Arulappa, often shortened to S Arulappa, (28 August 1924—13 February 2005) was an Indian Roman Catholic clergyman who served as the Archbishop of Hyderabad from December 1971 through January 2000. The youngest priest to be consecrated to such a high office, he was also the longest-serving Archbishop in India. He was also the first Archbishop who had the honour of being consecrated by Pope Paul VI in Rome. 
"Love and Serve" was his motto.

Arulappa was born on 28 August 1924 in a Kamma family to Smt. Rajamma and Sri Samineni Chinnaiah in Kilacheri in the state of Tamil Nadu. Earlier, his ancestors migrated southward from Guntur in search of livelihood. When the state of Andhra Pradesh was formed, Kilacheri fell under Tamil Nadu.

He was the only son of their parents and was preceded by four sisters, three of whom are nuns. He was brought up in an atmosphere of strict discipline by his mother who wanted to see her only son become a Priest. The Archbishop reminiscences that her mother looked forward to the day when she could see him as a Priest but both his parents died while he was still pursuing seminary studies.

Arulappa also evinced keen interest in pursuing the vocation of priesthood and also assisted the Priests as an altar boy during his childhood. He was sent to the Kandy Pontifical College (Known as the Papal Seminary, it was built in 1893 by Pope Leo XIII), Kandy, Sri Lanka to pursue theological studies. The Papal Seminary awarded Arulappa licentiate degrees in Philosophy and Theology (L. Ph. & L. Th.) on successfully completing his studies there. Later in 1955, the said College re-located to Pune [the Papal Seminary / Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth is located in Ramwadi (Ahmednagar highway), Pune].

Subsequently, he studied Economics and Education in Loyola College, Chennai.

Arulappa was ordained as a priest on 6 May 1950 by Bishop Ignatius Glennie, s.j. the then Bishop of Trincomalee.

He joined the faculty of the Madras Archdiocesan Minor & Major Seminaries in Madras and taught Latin and Philosophy besides being the Rector of the Seminary.

Arulappa also served as a Parish Priest in two parishes and was also Principal of St. Joseph's Anglo-Indian Boys' High School in Madras.

He was also sent to Oxford University, the oldest university in England, for post-graduate studies in Public and Social Administration.

Later, Arulappa was appointed as the Rector of Christ Hall Seminary, a philosophate in Karumathur in Madurai and served as its Rector.

G. Joseph Mark was the fifth Bishop of Hyderabad and later became Archbishop when the diocese of Hyderabad was elevated to an archdiocese on 19 September 1953. With his death on 28 February 1971, the office of the Archbishop fell vacant.

Fr. S. Arulappa of the archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore was brought-in and nominated to the archbishopric of Hyderabad.

On 6 December 1971, he was appointed as the Archbishop of Hyderabad. He was consecrated principally by Pope Paul VI and co-consecrators Cardinals Alfrink and Conway on February 13, 1972 at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Later, he was installed as the Archbishop of Hyderabad on 19 March 1972 in the All Saints' School Grounds in Abids, Hyderabad.

Arulappa recollects that on 12 December 1971, he received a letter from the Apostolic Nunciature stating that he had been nominated as the Archbishop of Hyderabad and all that he could do was just kneel down and pray like never before.

On 29 January 2000, Arulappa retired from his position as the Archbishop on reaching 75 years of age but continued to live in the Archbishop's House at Secunderabad and was Archbishop Emeritus.

On his retirement, the Archdiocese of Hyderabad released a book "Love and Serve", a brief memoir authored by Archbishop Arulappa himself.

Archbishop Arulappa died in Hyderabad at the age of 80. In accordance to his wishes stated in a will, he was laid to rest in the altar in St. Mary's Church, Secunderabad on 14 February 2005.
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