Founder of Protestant movement returns to Catholic Church

Catholic News Agency | 1/15/2020 | Staff
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Punalur, India, Jan 15, 2020 / 02:42 pm (CNA).- The founder of a prominent non-denominational movement in India has returned to the Catholic faith of his baptism, after more than a decade as a Pentecostal pastor and traveling preacher.

Sajith Joseph, 36, was confirmed Dec. 21, 2019 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Punalur in the southern Indian state of Kerala. His family and nearly 50 other members of his movement were received into, or came back to, the Catholic Church the same day.

Joseph - Leader - Grace - Community - Global

Joseph is the leader of Grace Community Global, which he founded in Kerala in 2011.

The group will now be under the jurisdiction of Bishop Selvister Ponnumuthan of Punalur as a Catholic association, with the permission of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, which is responsible for international associations of the faithful. Joseph's Facebook page describes Grace Community Global as “an ecumenical movement of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.”

Group - Followers - Countries - People - Televangelism

The group has around 2 million followers in 30 countries, and reaches many people through its televangelism programs.

Fr. Prasad Theruvath, OCD, was asked to act as chaplain to the group; he has served as the secretary of the Kerala bishops' commission for inter-church dialogue.

Fr - Theruvath - CNA - Process - Members

Fr. Theruvath told CNA that a process of sorting out how the members of Grace Community Global want to proceed has begun. Most of the members are Protestant, but the group is also followed by Oriental Orthodox Christians, as well as Hindus and Muslims.

Those who do not want to continue with the group under its new Catholic identity will return to their “mother churches,” but there are many others who want to join the Catholic Church, he said.

Prudence - Fr - Theruvath - Conversion - Stages

They are trying to proceed with prudence, Fr. Theruvath explained, by “slowly preparing” those seeking conversion. “We are in the initial stages, [there is] lots of work to do.”

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