Rt. Rev. Francis Tiburtius Roche S.J.,
When Tuticorin was created a diocese, having been separated from the diocese of Tiruchirapalli, in 1923 by the Apostolic Brief "Quae CatholicoNomini" of Pope Pius XI, Rt. Rev. Francis Tiburtius Roche, sj, became its first Bishop. He is also the first Indian Bishop of the Latin Rite. He was born on 14 th April, 1879 in Tuticorin. After his ordination as a Jesuit on the 10 th of February, 1910 , he had been serving in the parish of the Holy Redeemer’s Church, Trichy, from 1911 to 1923. He was named as the first Bishop of Tuticorin in June 12 th 1923 , and was consecrated on the 23 rd of September 1923.
In accordance with his Episcopal motto, “Love is my Star”, he built up churches, schools and other institutes throughout the diocese. The devotion to St. Theresa of Child Jesus, whom he called as “Little Queen”, was spread to the extent that on her feast day, in several parishes, the custom of blessing and distribution of rose petals became prevalent. The Leprosarium, and St. Mary’s College in Tuticorin; Little Flower Seminary and Fatima Giri Ashram of the Rosarians at Vadakangulam; and St. Joseph’s Charity Institute at Adaikalapuram are some of the fruits of his endeavor. In his time, Satankulam became a vicariate. He retired in September 1953 and slept in the Lord on the 17 th of December, 1955 .
Bishop Thomas Fernando, D.D., D.C.L.
Bishop Thomas was born at Idinthakarai, Nellai district, on the 9 th of May 1913 . He did his studies in Rome and was ordained a priest in March 18 th, 1939 . He was named as the Coadjutor Bishop of Tuticorin in 1950. With his Episcopal motto “Truth in Love”, he succeeded Bishop Roche on the 26 th of June, 1953 .
He insisted on the importance of the recital of daily rosary in families. After the Second Vatican Council, he brought about reformation in the liturgical and para-liturgical celebrations. He did not like to be depending on foreign funds to run the diocese. With the diocesan resources, in his time many churches, schools and other institutes were established. High schools were built at Thisayanvilai, Kallikulam and Vallioor. Little Flower Seminary was relocated at Innaciarpuram, Tuticorin. American Hospital was built and launched in his time. After serving the diocese for 18 years, he was transferred to the diocese of Thiruchirapalli in Janray 24 th 1971. He retired on 6th October 1990 and slept in the Lord on 4th July 2006.
Bishop Ambrose Mathalaimuthu, D.D.
Bishop Ambrose was born in the Cathedral parish of Coimbatore diocese on the 20 th of July 1925 . He was ordained priest in December 21 st, 1951 and appointed Bishop of Tuticorin on August 30 th 1971 . With his Episcopal motto “In Brotherly Love”, he was consecrated as the third Bishop of Tuticorin on the 9 th of December 1971 .
He gave special importance to visiting parishes and priests. Through the pastoral center, he enabled issuing of pamphlets consisting Sunday readings, songs and liturgical notes to all parishes. He encouraged the T.M.S.S.S. to receive funds from abroad for development works in the diocese. Establishment of institutes such as the Pastoral Center , Tuticorin Multipurpose Social Service Society, St. Thomas Matriculation School at Innaciarpuram, Tuticorin were significant development in his time. Known for his administration skills, he was quick to solve problems and encourage development. In his time most of the high schools were elevated to higher secondary schools. After 8 years of tireless ministry he was transferred to the diocese of Coimbatore on the 6 th of December 1979.
Bishop Amalnather, D.D.,M.A.B.T.
Bishop Amalnather was born in November 17 th 1925 . After his ordination to priesthood on August 8 th 1951 , he was serving as the head master of St. Antony’s Higher Secondary School in Tanjore. He was elected Bishop in December 20 th 1980 , and was consecrated as the fourth Bishop of Tuticorin on the 4 th of February 1980 . His Episcopal motto is “In faith and love”.
Following the legacy of his predecessors, he worked for the betterment of the diocese in everyway possible. To enable better functioning of the diocese he established commissions for vacation, youth ministry, Christian life center (Bible, Catechism, Liturgy), the laity, social service, education, communications, evangelization, the oppressed, and health were set up in his time. “Seniority list” for the appointment of teachers, technical school for women at Meenachipatti, “Muthu Kuviyal” as a safe haven for the street boys, computer training center, Bible Institute, and home for the retired priests are some of his accomplishments. After serving the diocese for 19 years he retired on the 8 th of December 1999 .
Bishop Peter Fernando D.D., Ph.D.
Bishop Peter was born at Indinthakarai, Nellai district on the 22 nd of March 1939 . He was ordained to priesthood on May 29 th 1971 . On the 29 th of May 1996 , he was consecrated as the Coadjutor Bishop of Tuticorin with his Episcopal motto “Rooted in Love”. Very soon he was made Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Trichy and remained there. He succeeded Bishop Amalnather as the fifth Bishop of Tuticorin on the 8 th of December 1999 .
In his time 18 new parishes were created. One of his accomplishments was reshaping the economic stability of the diocese. On the 22 nd of March 2003 he was appointed Archbishop of Madurai.