Bishop Soundararaju Periyanayagam of Vellore died of a massive heart attack on March 21 2020. The 70-year-old Salesian Prelate was undergoing treatment for cardiac problems at Thomas Hospital, Chetpet, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, when the death occurred at 12:15 a.m.
Bishop Periyanayagam was born on June 6, 1949, at Kolappalur, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. After his school studies, he joined the Salesians and made his First Profession on May 24, 1970. He was ordained a priest on June 25, 1983, at Manchester, England, United Kingdom. He was appointed the sixth Bishop of Vellore Diocese on July 11, 2006. His Episcopal Ordination was on August 24, 2006.
He had a B.A. in Economics from Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur; M.A. in Economics from Loyola College, Chennai; M.A. in Theology from Ushaw College, Durham University, UK; and Doctorate in Economics St. Joseph College, Bharadhidassan University, Trichy.
He was the Professor and Vice-Principal (1983-1988 and 1991-1994), of Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur; Principal (1994-2000), in Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, Rector and Parish Priest (2001-2004), in St. Lourdes’Shrine, Perambur, Chennai, and Rector (2004-2006), in Don Bosco, Gandhinagar, Vellore, before becoming the Bishop of Vellore.
He was a priest for 36 years and a Bishop for 13 years.
Bishop Soundararaju was known for his administrative skills. He always preferred team work in administration. Even as a Bishop he followed this principle. He was a very out spoken person who would not mince words when he pointed out things that were going wrong.
He was known for his deep friendship and loyalty to his friends. It is no wonder that he had a very large group of friends. He helped many young boys to come out of suicidal tendencies by listening to them and counselling them. He would go out of his way to help the needy especially the poor young. He was generous.
He wanted the religious working in his Diocese to focus their ministry on behalf of the poor and the marginalized.
Source: Don Bosco Chennai