Priests team up to spread the Word

08:42, Feb 25 2013
NEW STAFF: Priests Father Brian Fennessy, left, and Father Chinnappa Thumma, have just taken up positions at Timaru's Holy Family Parish, in the Sacred Heart Basilica.

A priest retiring in Greymouth has had a domino effect for Timaru, with Father Brian Fennessy and Father Chinnappa Thumma taking over as priests at the Holy Family Parish.

Former Holy Family priest Father Peter Costello has moved to the West Coast and Father Job Thaickalamury has replaced Father Brian at Opihi (Temuka and Geraldine parishes).

Father Brian, who was ordained 31 years ago, said his new job was not a promotion and he had not been seeking one.

He sees his priestly roles as proclaiming and living the gospel by expressing the joy of living.

"Christianity is being at peace with our life and celebrating God with us at transitional times in our life and encouraging us during failures."

Father Chinnappa emigrated from Andhra Pradesh, in India, last year. His family was converted to Catholicism in mostly Hindu India in the 1500s.


"[In India] Hindus are tolerant of Catholics because they are peace-loving and don't agitate," he said.

"Even Muslims are OK with Catholics."

Father Brian said he and Father Chinnappa will be working as a team, sharing pastoral duties at the hospital as well as offering the sacraments and celebrating mass at the basilica and St Thomas' church in Timaru and St Patrick's in Waimate.

The Timaru Herald