HYDERABAD: Archbishop of Hyderabad Rev. Poola Anthony was on Saturday ordained as Cardinal of the Catholic Church at a ceremony in Vatican City. He becomes the first Dalit as well as the first Telugu person to be elevated as
Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, presented Rev. Anthony with a
gold ring, and a letter of installation.
Rev. Anthony was one of the 21 church leaders who were ordained as Cardinals
on Saturday at a glittering ceremony at the St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The ceremony was live streamed across the world.
Rev. Anthony become a member of the College of Cardinals of the Pontiff. The
college guides the Pope in various matters. Cardinals also vote to elect the
next Pope. The ceremony was attended by a delegation from Hyderabad
comprising bishops, priests, and relatives of the Archbishop.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle in May, Archbishop Anthony said, “This is a
special moment for the Telugu Catholic community.” He called it a “divine
decision” and said, “My responsibilities will increase as I will be working closely with Pope Francis. I will concentrate on social work, enhancing educational opportunities for the underprivileged, being there for the underprivileged in medical services and other such needs.”
Archbishop Anthony, a native of Chindukur in Kurnool district of Andhra
Pradesh, was anointed Hyderabad Archbishop on January 3, 2021. Born in 1961,
Archbishop Anthony joined the minor seminary in Kurnool and studied at St
Peter’s Pontifical Major Seminary, Bengaluru. He was ordained a priest in
1992 and later appointed Bishop of Kurnool in February 2008. Since then, he
has served the Telugu Catholic Bishops’ Conference in various capacities.
Pope Francis has called for a two-day meeting of all the Cardinals on August
29 and 30, and the meeting will end with a Holy Mass presided by the Pope on
August 30, at 9 p.m. Indian time. The mass will be live streamed on YouTube,
Facebook and Vatican News websites.