Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - On December 22, 2014 the Holy Father erected the new diocese of Kuzhithurai (India) with territory taken from the diocese of Kottar, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Madurai and appointed Fr. Jerome Dhas Varuvel, S.D.B., as first bishop of the new diocese.
The new diocese of Kuzhithurai (nom. Lat. Kuzhithuraien/sis/), borders to the north and northeast with the Diocese of Palayamkottai; to the east and south with the mother-diocese of Kottar; to the south-west with the Indian Ocean; and to the west with the Archdiocese of Trivandrum and the Diocese of Neyyattinkara (in the State of Kerala). The Cathedral is the church based in Thirithuvapuram, Kuzhithurai, dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
The first bishop of the new diocese, Fr. Jerome Dhas Varuvel, S.D.B., was born on October 21, 1951 in Paduvoor, diocese of Kottar. He attended Carmel Secondary School in Nagercoil. From 1967 to 1968 he attended the pre-university course at the Scott Christian College, in Nagercoil. From 1968 to 1970 he attended the minor Seminary at St. Aloysius Seminary in Nagercoil. He studied philosophy at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Poonamallee (1970-1973). In 1976 he decided to join the Salesians of Don Bosco. He gave his perpetual vows on 24 May 1981. From 1981 to 1986 he studied Theology at the Salesians in Rome. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and in Theology and a Licentiate in Pedagogy at the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest by St. John Paul II on 2 June 1985.
After ordination he has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles: 1985-1986: Completed his studies at the Pontifical Salesian University (Rome); 1986-1990: Vice-Rector of the Novitiate in Vellakinar; 1990-1992: Rector of the Pre-Novitiate in Tirupattur; 1992-1994: Rector of the Pre-Novitiate in Maiyam; 1994-1996: Dean of the Salesian student body in Trichy; 1996-2001: Parish priest and Rector of the Con-Cathedral of Madras-Mylapore; 1999-2003: Provincial Councillor; 2001-2002: Director of Kalvi Solai in Tirupattur; 2002-2003: Director of Kalvi Solai in Ennore; 2003-2010: Director of Mount Don Bosco in Thalavadi. Since 2010 he has been master of novices in Yeallagiri Hills, Diocese of Vellore. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 23/12/2014)