Fr. Rajeev Philip, who hails from Tampa, Florida, became the first US citizen to be appointed a priest in the Syro-Malabar Church.
Born into a pious family, the 26-year old Fr. Rajeev has long been nurturing the dream of priesthood. Fr. Rajeev completed his undergraduate seminary studies in Chicago and was later sent to India for a year long service among the Syro-Malabar community.
St. John Paul II’s words: “the church breathes with two lungs” from his encyclical “Ut Unum Sint”(1995), kindled a spark in him that never did die out.
“When I joined the seminary, I was kind of up in the air about where to join. There’s religious life, there’s the diocese, but I decided to join the Syro-Malabar Diocese,” he says.
He is overwhelmed when he is reminded of his days at the seminary of the Pontifical International College Maria Mater Ecclesiae in Rome.
“I was surrounded by men of different countries,” he says “walking with these men who were going along the same path but coming form different backgrounds, was just a constant encouragement to me.”