Dalit priest of Thanjavur diocese dies in a road accident


By Robancy A Helen

Trichy, November 26, 2022: A Catholic priest of the Thanjavur diocese in Tamil Nadu, south India, met with a road accident and died on November 25. He was 50 years old.

Father S. Arockia Sundaram was serving as the parish priest of the newly erected Gnanam Nagar Parish since 2017.

Simple and soft-spoken in character Father Sundaram was the Thanjavur diocesan secretary, or the Regional Bishops’ Council of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Backward Classes (TNBC Commission for SC/ST/BC) from 2008 to 2017.

A silent worker and promoter of the Dalit cause, he worked among the poor and marginalized people of his diocese.

He took part in national protests in Delhi to obtain Scheduled Caste status for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims.

He reached out to the poor even without others asking him to, says Jesindha Dharmaraj, Administrative Coordinator of the Commission for SC, ST, and BC. 

“We offer our heartfelt condolences to Father Sundaram for his noble work and the repose of his soul,” added Ms. Dharmaraj.

“He spoke little, but whenever we sought his help in empowering the poor students, Father Sundaram helped us,” she said.

The priest was also the administrator of the Our Lady of Veilankanni shrine in his diocese.

Besides, he was in charge of the bookstall for the diocese. 

George Rajendran, a lay leader, said that the deceased priest was a good and holy man. He was a staunch supporter of Dalit movements, a great thinker, and a person with social responsibility.

Born on August 23, 1972, Father Sundaram was the assistant parish priest of Veilankanni Shrine and Pannaivalagam Parish. 

His funeral took place at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Thanjavur, on November 26, 2022. 


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