Father M. Arulraj is not new to the San Thome Cathedral for he has worked for some years at the Bishop’s House next door.
But soon after he took charge in early June this year as the Cathedral’s parish priest, transferred here from a parish in Porur, he has had a difficult task on his hands – arranging for support for the poor families of his parish whose economic conditions have been ravaged by the pandemic.
“I have got petitions from some 50 families seeking urgent financial assistance,” he says. “Many bread-winners have remained unemployed for months now and many families just don’t have the money to pay the fees of their school-going children.”
Last Sunday, the senior priest who has four other priests on his team here appealed to the congregation at Sunday Holy Mass for their support. “I told them that if one well-to-do family can undertake to pay the fees of one child we can surely address this worrying issue,” he says. “I have got some positive response now.”
This week, he also drew plans for his first meeting with the leaders of the parish anbiyams ( small Christian communities). San Thome has some 40 anbiyams whose members belong to this parish.
“Since I am new to this parish I want to interact with the leaders of the community,” said the priest on an evening when he celebrated two wedding Masses at the Cathedral.