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Episcopal Consecration of His Excellency Bishop Arulselvam Rayappan
Posted On : 02-09-2021


Accordingly, the Episcopal Consecration Mass for the new Bishop of Salem, His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Arulselvam Rayappan took place at 05:00 p.m. on Wednesday 04 August 2021 on the feast of St. John Maria Vianney at the Infant Jesus Cathedral of Salem Diocese. Just before the liturgical procession, the Bishop-elect made the profession of faith and took the oath of fidelity on the altar of the Cathedral according to the formula approved by the Apostolic See in accordance with Can. 380. After that, the then Apostolic Administrator welcomed the Bishop-elect by garlanding him on behalf of the Diocese and the College of Consultors took the Bishop-elect to the vesting place with a welcome band. Due to pandemic situation of COVID-19, it was decided to restrict the participants and correspondingly seating arrangements were made inside the Cathedral with social distancing. There were 4 Archbishops, 24 Bishops, one Diocesan Administrator, 84 diocesan Priests of Salem diocese, 250 guest-priests from various dioceses, seven deacons of Salem diocese, 100 representatives from the Religious working in Salem Diocese along with a lay representative from each Parish in the diocese participating in the event.

     The President of Tamil Nadu Bishop's Council, His Grace Archbishop Antony Pappusamy of Madurai, was the Principal Consecrator and the former prelate of Salem Diocese His Excellency Bishop Sebastianappan Singaroyan, with His Excellency Bishop Lawrence Pius of Dharmapuri, were the co-consecrators for this Episcopal Ordination. To mark the beginning of the Consecration ritual, after the Gospel reading, Veni, Creator, Spiritus prayer was sung in Latin followed by the presentation of the Elect to the Consecrating Bishop. The Papal bull was then read aloud to the people present in the Cathedral. The bull testified to the desire on the part of the Vicar of Christ that the Bishop has to serve the people of God fervently and to teach them diligently to keep the Divine precepts according to the Teaching of the Mother Church. After the document is read, all present gave our assent by thanking God for having chosen Msgr. Arulselvam Rayappan as the Bishop of Salem. The homily was given by the former prelate of Sivagangai diocese, His Excellency Bishop Jebamalai Susaimanickam who highlighted the role and ministry of the Bishop on a par with the Episcopal motto of the new Bishop 'audire illum.'

     After the homily, the bishop-elect was asked nine questions by the Principal Consecrator to ascertain whether he was prepared to discharge his sacred duties pertaining to his office. Then, the Principal Consecrator invited the faithful to pray for the Bishop-elect who then prostrated himself while the entire congregation sang the Litany of the Saints led by the Choir followed by the prayer of Consecration, anointing with Sacred Chrism and investiture with the ring on his finger, the miter on his head and the crosier.

     Following this, the new Bishop His Excellency Arulselvam Rayappan was led to the seat of his Episcopal Ministry, the Cathedra. The congregation expressed their joy with a big round of applause when he occupied his Cathedra as the Bishop of Salem. The taking of canonical possession was done proper within a liturgical act in the Cathedral church of Salem Diocese with the clergy and people gathered together as strongly recommended by Can.382 §4. The Rite of Consecration was ended with the kiss of peace from the principal consecrator and all the other bishops who were present. All the 84 diocesan priests of Salem went to the Cathedra and showed their respects to the new Bishop as a sign of obedience to their Shepherd.

     The beautiful liturgical movements performed by the altar servers, the procession of the Book of the Gospels, the flower girls as little angels with their dazzling white attire, the seraphic singing of the choir, the litany of the Saints, and the significant liturgical narration & prayers made the Consecration ceremony more solemn and impressive.

     After the final blessing, a small felicitation was arranged and the representatives from the Lay faithful, Religious, and the Diocesan Priests congratulated the New Bishop with shawl, flower bouquet, and garland. On behalf of the Tamil Nadu Bishop’s Council, the Principal Consecrator greeted the New Bishop. The new bishop addressed the congregation in the Cathedral and those who had followed the ceremony on the internet with a note of gratitude. The entire event was telecast live on Madha Television and other social media.

Rev Dr. Fr. J. Vimaldass,
Bishop’s House

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