Kerala, May 29, 2015: Retired Capuchin Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of Jammu-Srinagar passed away May 27, in Kerala after a prolonged illness. He was 77. The funeral will be on May 30, Saturday at Assisi Ashram in Bharananganam, Pala, where he spent his last days.
Bishop Celestine was born 1938 in Kerala and was ordained a Capuchin priest on 3 October 1966. Bishop Celestine, who succeeded Bishop Hippolytus Kunnunkal, OFM Cap., was ordained Bishop on 6th September, 1998, and assumed charge of the diocese of Jammu-Srinagar on the same day. On 3 December 2014, he retired after attaining the canonical age of retirement.
The northernmost diocese of Jammu-Srinagar, the largest in Indian diocese in terms of area, has a tiny population of 17,000 Catholics, in a population of 9 million people,
The Muslim-dominated area, frequently tormented by terrorism, fundamentalism and political militancy, by and large, lacks the peace and a favorable condition for growth and development.
The diocese under the leadership of the late bishop, "continued its service in pastoral ministry, social work, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and, above all, education," said a note in the site of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
During his 16 years as bishop, he opened several in villages and helped form students and to promote respect for the dignity of human persons, beyond the barriers of caste and religion, it said.
Bishop Celestine, throughout his active ministry, promoted dialogue with other community leaders and constantly kept up good relationship with the leaders of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists Communities.