Pastor Appointments Take Effect Aug. 1 - Fr. Edward Leondhas

Friday, Jul. 17, 2020
Pastor Appointments Take Effect Aug. 1 - Fr. Edward Leondhas + Enlarge
Fr. Edward Leondhas

On Aug. 1, six priests in the Diocese of Salt Lake City will assume their duties as either pastor or administrator of a parish to which they have been newly assigned. Following is a brief profile one of these priests, Fr. Edward Leondhas.
Fr. Edward Leondhas was born in Enayam Puthenthurai, Tamil Nadu, India. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Annamalai University. He studied philosophy and theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Chennai, India. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in English.
He was ordained a priest on April 19, 2009 by the Most Rev. Peter Remigius of the Diocese of Kottar, India. 
Following ordination, he served as co-pastor, then pastor, of various parishes in Kottar. He also worked for New Life, the weekly native language magazine of the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council, which serves 21 dioceses in India. Fr. Leondhas spent six years there, first as a subeditor and then as an associate editor.
He speaks English and Spanish. He arrived in Utah on Jan. 13 of this year, and has been serving as parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Orem. 
On Aug. 1 he will begin serving as administrator of Saint Helen Catholic Church in Roosevelt and its missions, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha in Ft. Duchesne and Holy Spirit in Duchesne.
What would you like your new parishioners to know about you
I come from a large Catholic family; I have four brothers and two sisters. Having been a priest for 13 years, I have both institutional and parish experience. I came to Utah after my bishop asked me to serve for several years in a diocese in the United States because it will give me a broader Church experience. I like to read, and I want to learn more Spanish so that I can more effectively serve the Hispanic members of the local Church.
What are you looking forward to most about your new assignment? 
Leading St. Helen’s Catholic Church is my second responsibility to be pastor. I was pastor in my hometown for three years and had an opportunity to work as an associate editor in social media under the Tamil Nadu Bishop’s Council. At St. Helen’s, as an administrator, I would like to share my faith and spirituality with my people, as well as to grow on my side, by their witnessing life. I am coming with an open mind to learn more about my people, their life, their family and to build the kingdom of God with their kind cooperation and collaboration in the vineyard of the Lord.
As a priest, what has been your greatest challenge
Christ’s mission is full of challenge. It will never be in a comfort zone. In the different circumstances, the nature of the challenge differs. In my home diocese, as a young priest, my ministry among the non-Christians was a big challenge, even though we promoted inter-religious dialogue. But here, from my seven months of experience, that will not be a challenge. Being away from my elderly mother and missing my favorite foods help me to look at this situation not as a challenge but as a way to foresee the ministry spirit.
As a priest, what has been your most satisfying experience? 
My immediate answer to this question could be my first Thanksgiving Mass as a new priest. To add to this, my everyday Eucharistic celebration and anointing the sick, very specifically as a priest, the day I buried my father in this most satisfying difference to my life. Burying the dead is one of the corporal works of mercy for Catholics. As a priest, I could bury my own dad, administering the funeral services according to his wishes. I believe this might be the longing of most priests’ parents, that their priest son do the last rites.

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