The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany confirmed Monday that Granville will be getting a new priest at St. Mary’s Church.
Diocese communications director Ken Goldfarb said the move will happen soon with the pastor arriving at St. Mary’s just before Christmas.
“Joseph Arockiasamy will be coming to St. Mary’s Parish and he will begin serving on the first of the year,” Goldfarb said.
Four months after the Rev. Thomas Zelker was moved to Hoosick Falls and the Church of the Immaculate Conception after more than 17 years in Granville, Arockiasamy, phonetically pronounced “A-rok-i-sah-may,” is coming to town.
Zelker said he was familiar with Arockiasamy because when he was assigned to Fort Edward the two worked together.
“He was a nice easy going guy full of laughter and life … always got along with him very well in our work at the hospital,” Zelker said.
Zelker said he thought Arockiasamy would be a good fit for his former parish.
St. Mary’s office manager Amanda Ballard said she had spoken with Arockiasamy, who is currently in California on sabbatical, by phone recently.
“I mostly told him about us, about Granville. He didn’t seem to know much about Granville,” Ballard said.
“The good news is it sounds like he wants to keep things the same as when Father Tom was here,” she said.
Ballard said Arockiasamy told her he plans to restart the daily Masses when he begins work after the first of the year. After some months without a parish priest Ballard said it would be a relief when Arockiasamy arrives.
“It’s been a rough couple of months,” she said.
Arockiasamy most recently served three years in the central part of the state at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Stamford in Delaware County.
Born in India, Arockiasamy was incardinated in the Albany Diocese in 2007. Goldfarb said the term “incardinated” refers to a priest who transfers from under the authority of one organization within the church to another.
Arockiasamy was ordained initially in India and again later in Albany.
“There are two ways to become a priest. You can be a religious order priest who gets instructions from his order or diocesan priest who is ordained in and answers to a diocese,” Goldfarb said.