Soosa Pakiam M., Archbishop of the Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, has indicated that he will be stepping down from his post soon.
The Archbishop has requested Rome to make alternate arrangements, as he is turning 75 on March 11, church sources say. In a letter on Monday, Soosa Pakiam has informed the clergy that he expects to hear a decision from the Vatican shortly.
Soosa Pakiam has formally handed over official responsibilities to Auxiliary Bishop Christudas Rajappan. He will continue to be accountable for the decisions made by the Auxiliary Bishop until the Vatican formally relinquishes him of his responsibilities as archbishop, he says.
Church law requires archdiocesan and diocesan bishops to step down once they reach the age of 75. They can, however, remain in office at the Pope’s discretion.
The Archbishop has announced his intention to move out of Archbishop’s House, Vellayambalam, to the archdiocese seminary on March 10.
Soosa Pakiam, who became bishop in January 1991 and the first Metropolitan Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram archdiocese in June 2004, has been battling health issues of late. He recovered from COVID-19 after testing positive earlier this month.
Born in Neerody in Tamil Nadu, Maria Kalist Soosa Pakiam was ordained as a priest on December 20, 1969. Pope John Paul II named him coadjutor bishop of Thiruvananthapuram in December 1989. He was consecrated as a bishop on February 2, 1990, and took over as bishop of Thiruvananthapuram in January the next year. He became the first Metropolitan Archbishop of the newly erected Thiruvananthapuram archdiocese in June 2004.
A highly respected member of the church, Soosa Pakiam has headed the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference and Kerala Region Latin Catholic Bishops Council. He has also been at the forefront of anti-liquor campaigns.