New priest Father Thomas Reddy Gopu

New priest Father Thomas Reddy Gopu wants to strengthen the family system and concentrate on the youth at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church.

It’s been less than a week since moving to America, but Father Thomas Reddy Gopu has already performed mass at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church last weekend.

Reddy moved from the Warangal diocese in India to Alexander City on Friday. 

“There was a grand welcoming after the Sunday first mass,” Reddy said. “It was really enriching and I felt very happy and people have received me well.”

Reddy replaces Father Peter Thirumalareddy, who left in early July and was sent to serve in Santa Rosa, California. Thirumalareddy served the church for four years, and the church had visiting priests perform mass every weekend until Reddy arrived.

“I could feel their love and their eagerness to see me because they were also waiting for a long time because I think since July 1 there was no priest here,” Reddy said. “Now I’m here they’re happy to see me.”

Reddy was ordained a priest in 2008. He was previously working as a priest at a school in Warangal and wasn’t interested in serving away from India because his mother is 82.

“I love my mom very much so I don’t want to give her any confusion,” Reddy said. “So under obedience I come here to help the people to meet their spiritual needs. I’m here to serve them, not to be served.”

Reddy said he hasn’t had a chance to see the area yet, but he’s already been recommended to visit Lake Martin. 

“I’ve only heard that people are good and I want to continue the same thing with (parishioners),” Reddy said. “As I get to know them then I will understand (them) better.”

Reddy wants to bring parishioners closer to God and strengthen the family system. He hopes he can work well with parishioners so the church can be successful.

“I want to bring people closer to God and I want to strengthen the family system because it is with the family system that the church stands,” Reddy said. “That is even what our pope says and I want concentrate on youth. I want the youth to be closer to God.”