Pope Francis on May 13 appointed Fr. Siby Mathew Peedikayil, a missionary priest from the diocese of Kanjirapally as the bishop of Aitape, a diocese in Papua New Guinea, a country in Oceania.
He was born on December 6, 1970, to Mathew Varkey and Annakutty Peedikayil, a Catholic family in Meloram, a parish of the Diocese of Kanjirapally, near Peruvanthanam in the Idukki district of Kerala. He was ordained priest on February 1, 1995.
After ordination, he was the spiritual formation in-charge and procurator of St Joseph’s Major Seminary in Khammam, Andhra Pradesh, for a year. He was appointed the rector of the seminary in 2004, a post he held for four years. He then served as the parish priest of Pallegudem parish under the diocese of Khammam.
He served as the general councillor to the congregation’s pontifical commissary for two years from 2006. He also served the congregation as the head of its St Paul province during 2008-2014.
Papua New Guinea comprises the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia (a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia). It is the world’s third largest island country. It is also one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. It has 851 known languages. The country is one of the world’s least explored — culturally and geographically.