- Vicar General of Jaffna (2002 – 2007)
- Rector of St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna; (2007 to date)
By Raymond Rajabalan
Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Justin Bernard Gnanapragasam as the new Bishop to the Diocese of Jaffna. He was the Vicar General of the diocese before his new appointment as Bishop. The date of his consecration is to be announced within days, sources said.
The 67 year old priest takes over from Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam, who has stepped down having reached the retirement age of 75 two years ago. Bishop Savundaranayagam who had been Bishop of Mannar since 1981, was transferred to Jaffna in 1992.
Born, May 13, 1948, in Karampon, Kayts, in the Diocese of Jaffna, Msgr. Gnanapragasam had his primary education at Kayts St.Anthonys College. He entered the minor seminary of Jaffna and continued his secondary school at St. Patrick’s College. After his further studies in philosophy at the National seminary of Kandy and theology at the Papal Seminary, Poona in India, he was ordained to the priesthood on April 24, 1974.
After his ordination he has served in various capacities:
1974-1975: Assistant parish priest of Kilinochchi and Valaipadu
1975-1976: Assistant parish priest of Uruthirapuram;
1976-1979: Assistant parish priest in St. Anne’s Church, Ilavalai
1979-1980: Studied Ecumenical theology at Hull University, UK
1980-1985: Parish priest of Mareesankoodal and Vice Rector of St. Henry’s College, Jaffna
1986-1989: Followed post graduate studies at Southampton, UK
1990-1994: Director of a group of state schools and Rector of St. Henry’s College, Jaffna
1995-2002: Dean of the Ilavalai Deanary comprising 9 parishes of Jaffna
1992-2006: Visiting Professor of the major seminary of Jaffna;
2002-2007: Rector of St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna
2002: Examiner of doctoral theses, Jaffna University
2007: Vicar General of Jaffna
2008: Director of Jaffna press
Rev. Father Justin is an outspoken clergyman who always stood for justice and equality and championed the rights of the people. Even non-Christians admire his noble qualities generosity and respect him.
‘’Monsoon Journal’ is pleased to offer his Lordship the warmest greetings and pray to God to bless him abundantly to continue his Apostate for many more years.