Fr. Francise Kolencherry
Fr Francise Kolencherry was born in Manickamangalam in the Syro-Malabar Arch-eparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly. After school studies, he joined Sacred Heart Minor seminary in Thrikkakara, Ernakulam. He completed his philosophical and theological studies at St Thomas the Apostle, Major seminary, Vadavathoor, Kerala. He was ordained a priest on 22 December 1979 by Joseph Cardinal Parecattil. He began his pastoral ministry as Assistant Parish priest of St Mary’s Church, Njarackal. He was appointed Pro-vicar for Thiruhrudayakkunnu, Meloor in 1982. Fr Francise was appointed Assistant Director to Save A Family Plan and Assistant Director to Social Services Ernakulam in 1984. In 1986 he was appointed Executive Director to Save A Family Plan, Ernakulam and Secretary to Welfare Services Ernakulam. Under his leadership as founder, the Association for Orphanages & Charitable Institutions was established in 1991. Again in 1991 Fr Francise was elected President of Kerala Catholic Hospital Association and the Director of ‘Soukyasadan’, an aged home for the disadvantaged. In 1992 he was elected as a member of the Orphanage Control Board, Government of Kerala. In 1996 he was appointed Executive Director for Save A Family Plan India, a National charitable organisation for the integral development of the marginalised. In 2001, he took up pastoral ministry in New York City, USA.
In view of establishing Syro-Malabar communities in Australia, Syro-Malabar Synod selected Fr Francise to take up the Mission in Australia in 2006. He was appointed Administrator to St Christopher’s Cathedral, Canberra together with his Syro-Malabar Mission in 2007. Fr Francise then was appointed National coordinator for the Syro-Malabar Church, Australia by then Major Archbishop Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil approved by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2010. He played a key role in establishing the Syro-Malabar Eparchy, Melbourne. In 2013, when Pope Francis established Syro-Malabar Eparchy, Melbourne, Fr Francise was appointed its first Vicar General. In 2021, taking into consideration his valuable contributions to the Syro-Malabar Church especially in Australia and to the wider Church, Holy Father Pope Francis honoured him with the title Monsignor.