English Wall

First U.S.-born Syro-Malabar priest ordained

CNS SYRO MALABAR ORDAIN 696x464By Mark Pattison   Catholic News Service    -    WASHINGTON (CNS) — In a June 2 ceremony in Tampa, Florida, Fr. Rajeev Philip became the first U.S.-born priest to be ordained for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.

In a telephone interview with Catholic News Service May 31, two days before his ordination, Fr. Philip said it was not necessarily a sure thing that he would eventually become a Syro-Malabar priest.

Interested in the priesthood since his teen years, the 26-year-old Fr. Philip was educated in Roman Catholic schools in the Tampa area, and his family prayed together daily in their home.

“When I joined the seminary, I was kind of up in the air about where to join,” he said, adding he had considered the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, that encompasses the Tampa area. “There’s religious life, there’s the diocese, but I decided to join the Syro-Malabar Diocese,” he said. He was especially struck by St. John Paul II’s words in his 1995 encyclical “Ut Unum Sint” that “the church breathes with two lungs” — East and West.

read more