Pleased to introduce myself: JohnBosco Duraisamy, commonly known as Father John
March 8, 2019
I recently joined the staff of Providence Health as Priest-Chaplain and resident Priest in St. Peter’s Minor Basilica.
Before taking this assignment, I was Administrator at St. Mary’s Church, Yonges Island and Sts. Fredrick and Stephen Church, Edisto Island. Before that, I served at St. Michael’s Parish, Garden city as Parochial Vicar, and before that, I worked at Stella Maris Catholic Church in Sullivan’s Island near Charleston. In fact, my first entry into this country was in 2003, when I served in Saint Aedan’s Catholic Church, Pearl River, New York, which is twenty miles north of Manhattan, NY.
I was born on August 25, 1960 in the village called Korattampet in the state of Tamil Nadu. This village has a 350 year tradition of Catholic faith, and I was ordained priest in the traditional Church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in May 1987.
I am one of eleven children born to my parents who were school teachers. My father, who taught in the Catholic Primary School as head teacher, received a state award as the best teacher in 1994. He was also a licensed Homeopathy medical practitioner, although he did not practice medicine as his profession because he was busy farming, teaching, and raising our family. All of my ten siblings are married and I have 24 nieces and nephews. I am the only Priest in the family.
I was named after St. John Bosco, more commonly known as Don Bosco, who was a priest and educator who dedicated his life to disadvantaged youth… a mission that I also embraced.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Personnel and Public Management, I have been the Director of St. Joseph’s Boys Orphanage in Kadapa, India, as well as the Superintendent of Catholic schools in the diocese of Cuddapah, India. Among the many other administrative and Pastoral positions, I was also the coordinator of CFCA (Christian Foundation for Children) sponsorship program. At that time, the diocese was supporting 2,300 high school level children in many different boarding homes in the diocese.
While the term “orphanage” is used, it is not the same type of institution you think of in America. Rather it is a boarding home for the children of the poor and underprivileged that offers food, housing, education and religious formation. The village people there are not aware of the importance of education for their children, and without education, the children then have no other opportunity than to go to work in the same way their parents did. We are changing that. Our boarding homes, which were founded by the Catholic Church in India, help to break the pattern of poverty and ignorance. The children we housed are the first generation from these families to have an education. I gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the people like you who made programs such as this possible in the lives of those children.
It is interesting to note that Christianity took root in India when Thomas the Apostle sailed there in 52 AD., and according to Indian Christian tradition, he evangelized in Tamil Nadu, my home state.
In the diocese of Cuddapah, there are 58 parishes and slightly over 81,000 Catholics. The entire country of India has 17 million Catholics, which is only 2% of its population.
One question is always asked, “What made you to come to this country?” Well the new mission-diocese of Cuddapah has surplus priests and the Bishop needs more money to run the diocese. Every month, I send a part of my salary to my diocese in India towards its maintenance. There is also a need for priests here in the United States. Also, I like working in South Carolina for its weather and the warmth of the people.
It had been my long desire to work in the hospital setting.
I completed the required CPE units with the encouragement and support of Bishop Robert Guglielmone, I am glad now to be part of the team here in this hospital, Making Communities Healthier by Extending Christ’s Healing Ministry.
I thank Rev. Canon Gary S. Linsky VF, the Pastor of St. Peter’s Minor Basilica, for welcoming me here to this parish as Priest in-residence. I look forward to getting to know you and being a part of the Providence family through my ministry here. God bless you.
-FR. JOHNBOSCO DURAISAMY