"Your brother is a Bishop!" That is the greeting I heard when I answered our cell phone while driving home from NH on May 8, 2006. We were shocked! Fr. Sebastian Thekethecheril, the Priest from India who my mother sponsored through the Seminary, is now Bishop Sebastian. Because she is his spiritual mother, that makes him my brother. He was ministering in Germany on that day he received the appointment, and, providentially, he had planned a trip to Rome for an audience with the Pope two days later. So, on May 10th, as a new Bishop, he had a personal greeting and picture with Pope Benedict. One week later, he traveled back to India to receive the Pontifical Sash and Crucifix from Archbishop Cornelius Elanjickal who had ordained him. David and I traveled to India to attend Bishop Sebastian's consecration which was on July 2, 2006. Even though the monsoon season was pouring down rain every day, the prayers were answered and there was no rain during the 8 hours we were outside for this event which included a Mass, lunch and time for felicitations. Instead of rain pouring down, it was like people were pouring in as over 12,000 people attended along with 200 Priests and 25 Bishops. We felt honored and knew it was a rare opportunity to be part of this grand and solemn event. Bishop Sebastian has now become the fifth Bishop of Vijayapuram, the poorest diocese in Kerala, India. He succeeds Bishop Peter Thuruthikonam. My best birthday present was hearing my brother take the "oath of allegiance" to the Catholic Church the evening of July 1st. He took as his motto, "The Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is His Name." Here is the indication of his Marian devotion. We feel there is a connection between his providential care and his visit to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City just a few months before to celebrate her feast day on December 12, 2005 and his Silver Jubilee as a Priest. Please keep new Bishop Sebastian and Vijayapuram Diocese in your prayers.
In Christ, Kathy Rennie