Father Vincent – From Southern India to Northern New York

Father Vincent Adaikalasamy, OMI, is an expert in climate change.

Father Vincent was born and raised in the far south province of Tamil Nadu, India. It never snows there. Only a few times a year does the temperature even dip below 70 degrees.

Today Fr. Vincent ministers in Buffalo, New York, at two parishes run by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate: Holy Cross and Our Lady of Hope. The city received 133 inches of snow last year. And the temperature dips below freezing about 120 days a year. Such is the life of a Missionary Oblate.

“Committing oneself to a religious life is not easy; it requires perseverance and the support of community and the Almighty,” said Fr. Vincent. “I am so blessed that I have communities around the world to help me persevere in this vocation.”

Father Vincent is from a rural community in Elakurichi, India. He comes from a traditional Catholic family and had wanted to be a priest since grade school when he was an altar server. He knew nothing about the Missionary Oblates until one day an Oblate vocation director visited his high school.

Father Vincent immediately felt a calling to the Missionary Oblates and their desire to be of service to the most abandoned in the world. Just a few days later, he packed all his belongings into one small travel bag and headed for the Missionary Oblate Juniorate, the seminarian school.

From 2010-2012, Fr. Vincent completed his academic requirements in Tumul Nadu. He earned both a diploma degree from De Mazenod Institute of Philosophy and a B.A. in English Literature from Annamalai University. In 2013 he did his regency at a Missionary Oblate mission station in Andhra Pradesh where he worked as a teacher and was in charge of the students who were boarders. He also assisted in the local parish.

In 2014, Fr. Vincent was one of the first Missionary Oblates from India to study in the United States, completing both his novitiate and scholasticate formation in this country. He graduated from Oblate School of Theology in 2019 with M.Div. and M.A. (Theology) degrees. He then returned to India for his ordination to the priesthood.

In India Fr. Vincent ministered as a staff formator at the pre-novitiate house, Provincial Secretary, and Provincial Archivist. He arrived in the United States in April 2023 to minister at the Missionary Oblates parishes of Holy Cross and Our Lady of Hope. Eventually, Fr. Vincent is expected to pursue further studies in Sacred Theology at Catholic University, Washington, D.C.

Father Vincent recalls his formative years both in India and the United States as a privilege because the different exposures and approaches have paved for him the way for effective pastoral work, and familiarity with diversity of every sort, be it society or culture. He considers himself fortunate that the multiethnic cultural environment of the Missionary Oblate parishes in Buffalo is giving him ample opportunities for diverse pastoral works.

“There aren’t enough words out there to express my gratitude and love for the good that so many people have shown me,” said Fr. Vincent. “Please continue to pray for me, and for every child of God. Pray that I may continue to learn and grow from the fountain of God’s grace.”

Oblates In India

The Missionary Oblates have been ministering in India for 55 years. During that time, the Missionary Oblates have made it their goal to work toward religious harmony in the country. India has long been known for its diversity, with its people splintered into thousands of sects based on narrow religious and ethnic grounds. Only two percent of the people of India are Christians.

With just two missionaries in 1968, the Missionary Oblates’ India mission has grown to include more than 100 priests and brothers. Vocations are also strong with more than 25 Indian seminarians. In addition to parish work, much of the Missionary Oblates’ work in India is focused on education ministries.

“We grow and live as ‘Indian Oblates,’ not as Oblates of Tamil, Telugu, Hindi origin or with any other divisive forces of caste, language or color,” said Fr. Francis Nallappan, OMI, former Provincial of the St. Eugene Province of India. “We respect and dialogue with people of all religions and cultures. This is a big calling for us as Oblates.”