Prof. Paulraj Rayappa joins the priests of the Diocese of Salt Lake City; will be hospital chaplain

Friday, June 17, 2022

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Father Paulraj Rayappa

By Laura Vallejo

Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — A Catholic by birth, Father Paulraj Rayappa was inspired by his parents to become a priest, the newest priest to come to the Diocese of Salt Lake City has said.

Born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, the youngest of four brothers and one sister, Fr. Rayappa entered the seminary immediately after graduating from high school.

“For 12 years, I did my training,” said Fr. Rayappa, who holds a Bachelor of Education from Krishna College of Education as well as a Bachelor of Civil Law from Sri Venkateswara University, Tiupathi, in India.

He was ordained a priest on April 18, 2004 by Bishop George Antonysamy for the Archdiocese of Madras Mylapore.

Being a priest is a blessing, he says. “I like to serve people in their spirituality.”

After his ordination, he served as assistant pastor of a parish in his archdiocese. He has also served as Executive Secretary to the Archbishop and Pastor of three different parishes, all in India.

“I have always had the desire to have different experiences in my ministry,” he said, recalling that his special missions have included being secretary of the archdiocesan commission for evangelization, executive member of the board of cemeteries archdiocesans, director of a matriculation school, member of the archdiocesan priests council and chaplain, among others.

This motivation to have different experiences led him to apply for ministry in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, where he arrived at the end of May.

“This is my first time leaving India,” the father said. Rayappa said, adding that he was impressed with the welcoming community in the diocese.

In the coming weeks, Fr. Rayappa expects to become more culturally acclimated to Utah and get to know the community better.

“Here is a totally different experience than India,” he said. “The community’s participation in the liturgy over the past few days has impressed me.”

When the new priest assignments take effect in August, Fr. Rayappa will serve as chaplain at the University of Utah Hospital, Primary Children’s Hospital and Huntsman Cancer Hospital. In the meantime, he assists Fr. Jorge Roldan Sanchez at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Salt Lake City.

“I want to walk together towards God with the community,” he said.

“Due to the many degrees that Fr. Rayappa has earned over the years from 1994 to 2017, we are confident that Fr. Rayappa will continue to build on the foundation laid by Saints Peter and Paul as he s speaks to a wide variety of people here in the Diocese of Salt Lake City,” said Fr. Ken Vialpando, Diocesan Vicar for Clergy.

Pr. Rayappa speaks Tamil, English, a little German and he is learning Spanish.

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