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The GIFT of the People: Father Joy Nellissery

Church Leaders

Father Joy Thomas Nellissery
Father Joy Thomas Nellissery

Prince of Peace (POP) Catholic Parish is pleased to welcome Father Joy Nellissery as its new associate pastor. He joins Father John Fallon and associate pastor Fr. Jose Luis Gomez Guevara at the Hoover church. Father Joy comes to POP from The Cathedral of Saint Paul in downtown Birmingham.  He is a native of Irinjalakuda Diocese, Kerala, India and knew that he wanted to become a priest from early childhood. He was ordained on December 29, 1988, at his home parish.

Father Joy earned his Master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola College, University of Madras, India while continuing his work as a priest and offering his assistance at two substance abuse treatment centers. In 1998 Father Joy came to the United States to study for a PhD at the University of Georgia. During his studies there, he also served the Diocese of Atlanta as an associate pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Athens. After graduating in 2002, Father Joy returned to Kerala and worked in a detoxification center and taught at Sahrdaya College, University of Calicut, Kerala.

Father Joy is a U.S. citizen, and in July of 2011 he came back to the U.S. and served at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Hoover, St. John’s in Madison, and at Our Lady Queen of the Universe in Huntsville, Ala. He returned to Kerala in 2017; his father had passed away in June 2016 and his mother was ill. After the death of his mother, he returned to Birmingham in February 2018 and served at The Cathedral of Saint Paul before being assigned to his current position at Prince of Peace.

Father Joy enjoys working in a parish environment helping individuals and families to develop a personal relationship with Jesus that leads to communion with God. He is excited about his ministry at Prince of Peace Catholic Church. He said, “One day many years ago, when I was praying about becoming a priest, I opened the Bible to John 17:24 ‘Father, they are your gift to me.’ That has become my motto.”  My philosophy is to treat everyone as if they are a gift of God to me.” †

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