Your Excellencies, Rev. Fathers, Rev. Brothers, Rev. Sisters and my dear brothers and sisters,

  Prayerful greetings to you from Most Rev. Dr. A. Anandarayar, Archbishop of Pondicherry and Cuddalore.

   The Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore has a grace-filled history of 325 years (1695-2020). Formation of the local clergy is one of the important objectives of the Parish Foreign Missions Society (MEP). The MEP took charge of the Pondicherry Mission in 1776 and 1778 they started a Major Seminary, namely St. Joseph’s Seminary, in Pondicherry for the formation of the local clergy. The First Indian Priest of Pondicherry was ordained on 20-12-1788. This seminary was shifted to Bangalore in 1934 and got the new name of St. Peter’s Seminary.

  The First Dalit Priest of Pondicherry, Rev. Fr. D. Perianayagam from Vettavalam parish, was ordained on 21-12-1942. The Second Dalit Priest of Pondicherry, Rev. Fr. J. Susai from Nangathur parish, was ordained on 10-12-1946. The Third Dalit Priest of Pondicherry, Rev. Fr. P. Antonysamy from Thurinjipoondy parish, was ordained on 23-12-1967.

  The 10 – Points Programme of the TNBC of 1990, the 8 Points Programme of TNBC of 2004 and the CBCI Dalit Policy of 2016 insist on the importance of promoting vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life from the Dalit communities and from other marginalized communities.

  The Indian prelates of Pondicherry and Cuddalore - Archbishop R. Ambrose (1955-1973), Archbishop V. S. Selvanather (1973-1992), Archbishop S. Michael Augustine (1992-2004) and myself (2004 - ) have taken great efforts to promote vocation to the Priesthood from the Dalit and other marginalized communities.

The Number of Dalit Priests:

              June 1972  : 4

          June 1992  : 20

          July 2004   : 36

          July 2020   : 73

   We see that the number of Dalit Priests has gradually grown. Growth is a process. It takes time; effort is needed; patience is required. Growth process is a matter of evolution and not of revolution.

   Here below we give the details of ministries assigned Dalit Priests and responsibilities entrusted to them.

Offices, Ministries and Services to Dalit Priests: 2004 – 2020

   N.B. To maintain the respect, reverence and dignity of the Priests, their names are not mentioned in this list.

01. Vicar Generals : 2

02. Vicar Foranes : 11+1 = 12 (1 V.F. was already in that office in 2004 and Continued.)

03. Judicial Vicar : 1

04. Pastoral Centre Directors : 3

05. Major Seminary Professors : 4

06. Higher Ecclesiastical Studies – India : 5

07. Higher Ecclesiastical Studies – Abroad : 6

08. Higher Studies (Civil) : 5

09. Shrine Parish Priests 6+3 = 9 (3 Priests were serving in two different shrines)

10. Town Parish Priests 17 + 2 = 19 (2 Priests were already in the town parishes in 2004      and continued; 7 Priests were serving in two different town parishes)

11. Mission Press : 1

12. Directors – Social Service Societies : 2

13. Manager – Estates : 2 (One Priest was there already in  2004)

14. TNBC – SC/ST Commission Secretary : 1

15. CBCI Office – SC/BC Secretary : 1

16. CDPI National Vice President / Regional Secretary : 1

17. D.O.S Managers and SADC Secretaries 2+1 = 3 (1 Priest was already in that office in      2004 and continued)

18. Principals / Secretaries of Colleges : 3 ( 1 Priest was Principal / Secretary in 3 different      colleges; 1 Priest was Secretary in one college twice)

19. Teacher Training Institute : 2 (1 Priest was there in 2004 and continued)

20. Principals Matriculation / English Higher Secondary Schools : 6 + 4 =10 (2         
served in three schools)

21. Vice Principals Matriculation / English Higher Secondary Schools: 5 + 1 = 6 
Priest served in two schools)

22. Principals in Higher Secondary Schools: 11 + 7 = 18 (7 Priests served in two different

23. Headmaster in High Schools: 11 + 4 = 15 ( 4 Priests served in two different Schools)

Integral Development of the Dalits:


i.  Formation of SC/ST Commission:

We place on record the great services of Archbishop S. Michael Augustine towards the integral development of the Dalits. It was due to his initiatives and efforts that the SC/ST Commission at the Regional and National level was started. This Commission works for the development of the Dalits.  We spared one of our Priests to serve as Secretary of TNBC SC/ST Commission and of CBCI Office for SC/BC.

ii. St. Ann’s College of Arts and Science, Tindivanam:

   The Archdiocese has invested about Rs.15,00,00,000/-(fifteen crores) of rupees towards this college, both for construction and equipments. The Archdiocese started this college in 2015 to give higher education to the students of Dalit and other marginalized communities in and around Tindivanam.

   The best way to empower the people is to educate them. Education is Liberation; Education is Power; Education is Empowerment.

iii. Educational Help to Dalit Students:

   During the period (2004-2020) an amount of Rs.1,78,37,080/- (one Crore Seventy eight lacks thirty seven thousands and eighty rupees) has been given to 272 Dalit children towards their school education and higher education.

iv. Small Steps, But Steps:

   St. Ann’s College of Arts and Science, Tindivanam and Archbishop’s Education Fund for the poor and Dalit students are small steps, but steps taken by the Archdiocese towards the empowerment of the Dalits and the poor in our Archdiocese.           

  The above details about the ministries given to Dalit Priests clearly point out that sufficient attention and due recognition have been given to the Dalit Priests of our Archdiocese in matters of transfers and appointments.  Right now there are 73 Dalit Priests. It is really unfortunate that some Dalit groups have picked up 13 Priests out of 73 Dalit Priests and they demand, with intimidating methods and pressure tactics, particular offices, parishes and schools for these Priests. These groups should know that it is the right and duty of the Diocesan Bishop to make the transfers and appointments in his Diocese (Cf. Can. 157).

  We do the transfers and appointments of our Priests according to the various needs of the Archdiocese and according to the availability, suitability and special aptitudes of the Priests. All the Archdiocesan Priests are expected to work for the common good of the Archdiocese, under the direction of the Archbishop and in deep communion and close collaboration with the brothers Priests.

  We entrust the clergy, the religious, the laity and other people of our Archdiocese to the maternal protection of Mary, Our Immaculate Mother.



+ Most. Rev. Dr. A. Anandarayar

Archbishop of Pondicherry and Cuddalore.