HYDERABAD: With Anthony Poola, the Archbishop of Hyderabad Archdiocese being elevated to the office of Cardinal, for the first time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, a Telugu man will take part in the exercise to choose the Pope. He is also the first Telugu to become a Cardinal.
Hailing from Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, Anthony Poola had earlier served as the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Kurnool, before being appointed the Archbishop of Hyderabad in November 2020.
Along with Anthony Poola and 20 others, Archbishop Filipe Neri António, the Archbishop of Goa and Daman, was also elevated as a Cardinal. The news of Anthony Poola’s elevation was joyously welcomed by the Archdiocese of Hyderabad and celebrations broke out.
As greetings poured in from all over Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as well as from South India, Msgr Yeruva Balashowry, Vicar General, Hyderabad Archdiocese, said that it was a proud moment for Telugu Catholic Church. “The services of Bishop Poola in the Church and outside the Church are exemplary,” the Vicar General said.
Born in 1961, Bishop Poola joined the minor seminary in Kurnool and then studied at St. Peter’s Pontifical Major Seminary, Bengaluru. He was ordained a priest in 1992 and later appointed Bishop of Kurnool in February 2008. Since then, he has served the Telugu Catholic Bishops’ Conference in various capacities. He repl-ac-ed Archbishop Thumma Bala, who resigned after reaching the bishops’ canonical retirement age of 75 in April 2020.
With the addition of Anthony Poola and Filipe Neri António, the number of Cardinals from India has increased to six. The most important duty of a cardinal is to elect the new Pope. Cardinals are personally selected by the Pope. They offer counsel to the Pope, contribute to the governance of the Church and act as papal envoys.