I am grateful and thankful to be at this point in my life as a priest. My simple and humble prayer is Lord, you have given me everything; please give me one more thing-A GRATEFUL heart.
We all have a story to tell. My story is no exception. I grew up in a very loving and caring family in rural South India. My parents did their best in raising and educating me. The most important gifts I received was faith and love. I am forever grateful to them.
It was in high school when I became inspired to become a priest. My brother, Fr. Jerome, was of great support to me besides my mom’s unconditional faith in God. After finishing high school and college in Hyderabad, my journey took me to Saint Peter’s Seminary in Bangalore where I finished studying Theology and became a priest on March 25, 1994. I have been blessed and loved profoundly in my ministry serving the people of God. I worked only three years in Hyderabad and came to the United States in 1997, at the request of my Archbishop in India. Since then, I have been working in the Archdiocese of Chicago, for 22 years, in 4 parishes. On April 16th, 2019, before the Chrism Mass, I was formally accepted and welcomed into the Archdiocese of Chicago by our Cardinal Blasé Cupich. This process is known as Incardination. Now I am a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago … wow, what a blessing! This means I will be serving in the Archdiocese of Chicago for the rest of my life.
Besides Saint Anne Parish, I served in three other parishes: Immaculate Heart of Mary, on the northwest side of the city, Saint Gerald in Oak Lawn and Saint James in Arlington Heights. I sincerely enjoy being a priest. I love the ministry of serving, caring, visiting and being with people. I also like to attend all events, parties and celebrations in the parish so I know everyone in the community. I learn so much by visiting children and interacting with them in school and faith formation. I hope to continue to serve to the best of my abilities.
I thank all the priests (Pastors) who guided me and every one of you for your support and appreciation. There are many wonderful people who are generous to me and Fr. Jerome in our mission to help the poor in India. I would like to acknowledge them and say thank you! I also thank my mom who is a great woman of faith, perseverance and courage.
Finally, I appreciate the love of the community of Saint Anne, including Fr. Bernie, Fr. Chris, the entire staff and the parish leadership. I thank our Women’s Club for graciously accepting to take care of the reception.
So, please be with me on my journey so I can depend on you to continue to be a good priest, ready to serve. I sincerely LOVE you all, and there is nothing you can do about it.
With prayers and gratitude,
Fr. Joji Thanugundla