Thiruvananthapuram: Latin Archbishop Dr M Soosa Pakiam has announced his retirement during the Eucharist hosted at St. Joseph’s Latin Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, Palayam here on Thursday. Monsignor Thomas J Netto has been appointed as the Emeritus Archbishop of the Latin Rite Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram soon after Soosa Pakiam's retirement. Soosa Pakiam had relinquished all official duties upon turning 75 last March and was awaiting decisions by the Vatican.
Soosa Pakiam rose to the top post of Latin church from humble origins. He was born as the son of a fisherman in Marthandanthurai in 1946. He joined the seminary in 1985 and was ordained as a Priest on December 20, 1969, at the age of 23. He then completed his further studies in Rome.
Soosa Pakiam became the coadjutor bishop of Thiruvananthapuram in 1989. He was appointed by Pope John Paul II as the first metropolitan archbishop of the newly erected Thiruvananthapuram archdiocese in 2004. He was a highly respected bishop of the Catholic Church and has headed the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council (KCBC) and Kerala Region Latin Catholic Bishops' Council (KRLCBC).
Soosa Pakiam was also a prominent figure in the social and cultural fields in Thiruvananthapuram. The strong stands taken by him in various social issues have often placed him on a high pedestal. He took initiative to end the spurious liquor sale in the fishing village of Pozhiyoor. He also headed various other anti-liquor campaigns.
He turned a beacon of hope for marginalised fishing communities as he advocated the betterment of their living conditions for over three decades. He held onto his unwavering stand on issues like the death of Indian fishermen after being gunned down by two Italian marines and the death of fishermen due to Cyclone Ockhi in 2017. He became a role model by sending fishermen for rescue operations during the 2018 Kerala floods.
Soosa Pakiam always stayed close to people and never misused his power as the Metropolitan. He showed great empathy towards people and took up their problems as his own. He chose the path of simplicity while serving as the archbishop and was very dear to people.
Following his retirement, he will shift from Latin Archbishop's House in Thiruvananthapuram.