By Elsa Baughman
JACKSON – Norbertine Father Xavier Amirtham radiated happiness and gratitude the day of his installation as new pastor of Holy Family Parish, his first assignment in the Diocese of Jackson since he came to the United States from India last September.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz installed him during the 4 p.m. Vigil Mass Saturday, Sept. 20, saying this was a joyful day in the life of Father Amirtham.
The prior of his Norbertine Order, Abbott Thomas DeWane, O.Praem., and Fathers Jeremy Tobin and Binu Varghese, also Norbertine priests, attended the celebration. Father Edward Balser, past pastor of Holy Family, also attended as special guest.
Father Amirtham is one of nine priests from India serving in the Diocese of Jackson. He lives at the Priory of St. Moses the Black in Raymond.
Before coming to the U.S. he served as pastor of two parishes, served six years as prior of the Norbertine Fathers in his home country and as manager of the Cardinal Gracias High School in the Archdiocese of Bombay, India.
The Norbertines live in a monastic community under the Rule of St. Augustine. The Priory of St. Moses the Black in Raymond, as all their monasteries, is a place of hospitality to guests and offers venues for holding retreats and meetings.
St. Moses the Black was founded in 1990 in the rectory of St. Mary Parish in Jackson. Members engage in Hispanic ministry and prison ministry at the Yazoo City Federal Corrections Complex and the Adams County Correctional Facility near Natchez.
Father Amirtham said at the end of Mass he was very happy and is looking forward to promoting unity and God’s love in his new parish.
At the end of the Mass, parishioner Charlene Stimley Priester, on behalf of her son, councilman Melvin Priester Jr., presented Father Amirtham a proclamation made by the City Council of Jackson honoring him for his new assignment in Holy Family Parish. After Mass the parish hosted a lavish reception to welcome their new pastor.