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Photo: Father Anthony Joseph with his research directors, at the end of the defense held in Newman Hall – Pontifical Urbaniana University – Rome, May 28th, 2019].

Father Anthony Joseph, a missionary of the Diocese of Chingleput (Tamil Nadu, India) and a researcher at the Pontifical Urbanian University, defended his doctoral thesis in Rome on May 28th. At her invitation, Maria Elena Cuomo attended the session, held in the Newman Auditorium of the Pontifical University. A close collaborator in the work of the Cuomo Foundation in his diocese, Father Anthony Joseph thus becomes the first person from Chingleput to obtain a doctorate in canon law.

The young missionary came into contact with the Foundation’s projects in 2002, during the inauguration ceremony of a boarding school for girls, erected with the Foundation’s support in Kovalam, his native village. A seminarian from the Diocese of Chingleput, Brother Anthony was at that time in charge of the educational activities of his parish, as the person in charge of the education of more than 100 children. Thanks to his mastery of the English language, he became the interpreter for the members of the Foundation during their visits to Tamil Nadu, playing a key role in the projects launched in the region.

He will receive his ordination in 2007.

The young missionary came into contact with the Foundation’s projects in 2002, during the inauguration ceremony of a boarding school for girls, erected with the Foundation’s support in Kovalam, his home village.

In 2016, on the recommendation of the Archbishop of Chingleput, Monsignor Neethinathan, Father Anthony obtained a scholarship to study at the prestigious Pontifical Urbanian University, which specializes in the formation of missionaries. The highly prized scholarship allows him to begin doctoral studies in canon law there as a resident. He then opted for a thesis on “The Credibility of Witnesses in Annulment Trials” under the direction of Professors Ernest Bonaventura Ogbonnai Okonkwo, Elias Frank and Luigi Sabbarese. A long-term work begins for the young priest who, for the first time in his life, is leaving his native India to settle in the Eternal City. This will be a blessed period for the missionary who will live, at the very epicentre of Christianity, a phase of work marked by intellectual intensity, as close as possible to his faith. Remarkably, in the space of a few months, Father Anthony will not only master the Italian language, but will also possess the notions of Latin, French and German which will constitute decisive assets in his research project which will be carried out in contact with the most varied bibliographical sources. It was with impeccable Italian that the young theological scholar defended his thesis with brilliance at a public session attended by about a hundred people.

His thesis is in the process of being published by the publishing house of his university, Urbania University Press, a project for which Father Anthony will receive the support of the Cuomo Foundation. With the doctorate in hand, he will return to Tamil Nadu with the aim of placing his knowledge of canon law at the service of his Diocese.


A testimonial by Father Anthony Joseph

Greetings from Fr. Anthony Joseph, Rome.

With great joy and satisfaction of completion of my study programme in Rome (Doctorate in Canon Law, Diploma in Jurisprudence in Ecclesiastical Laws, Diploma in Canonisation Process and Ecclesiastical Archive studies) I return to the diocese of Chingleput Tamilnadu, India on 11 September 2020.

I place on record my sincere gratitude to Mrs. Elena Cuomo and all the collaborators of the Cuomo foundation for the constant support and encouragement all through my studies and priestly ministry. The presence of Mrs. Elena Cuomo and the collaborators of Cuomo Foundation on the day of public defense of doctoral thesis (28 May 2019) was indeed an honour for me. I profusely thank and gratefully remember Mr. Alfredo cuomo who has shown special concern towards me since 2000. Down the joyful memory lane, 20 years have rolled in my life, in association with Cuomo foundation, beginning at kovalam where i had my practical training as a seminarian.

My heart brims with joy and gratitude to be one among unique beneficiaries of cuomo foundation.

My sincere appreciation and prayer-filled wishes for all the humanitarian works and educational service shouldered and meticulously carried on by the cuomo foundation in the Diocese of Chingleput as well as in many parts of the World. I am looking forward in future the collaboration and co operation with Cuomo Foundation in the Diocese of Chingleput.

God bless you all

Anthony Joseph
July 29, 2020

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