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Original short description: "21st-century Indian priest of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church"
Early life and education
Kaithakottil was born at Amballur, a village in the district of Ernakulam, Kerala, India on 28 February 1963. His baptismal name is Isaac and the names of his parents are Joseph and Mary who were school teachers.
As a boy Kaithakottil served at the liturgical services in the church and at the age of 15 in the year 1978, he joined the seminary to become a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. He completed his pre-university studies during the first three years in the seminary. After the minor seminary training, he was selected by the superiors and he was sent to Papal Seminary Pune, a national seminary run by the Jesuits. He graduated in philosophical and theological studies in the year 1981–1988 from Jnana-DeepaVidyapeeth, Pontifical Institute of Philosophy and Religion, Pune. During his philosophical studies he also obtained a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Kerala. During his theological studies, one of the semesters in the year 1986 he stayed in a slum at Vadagonsery, Pune along with three other friends and had a direct experience of the difficulties and miseries of the people on the street.
Kaithakottil was ordained a priest on 25 July 1988 for the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. He began as an assistant parish priest at St. Thomas Church, Malayattoor, an international pilgrim center.
In the year 1989 Kaithakottil was transferred to St. Mary Church at Koratty, a Marian pilgrim center of the archdiocese, where he served as an assistant parish priest until 1991. He was appointed parish priest at St. Mary's Elavoor and was also in charge of a parish at Kunnappillissery. After a year of service there he was appointed archdiocesan director of Kerala Catholic Youth Movement (KCYM). He stayed at St. Martin Shrine, Angamaly and coordinated the youth activities of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. During his tenure as the Director of KCYM, he also got involved in the protest movements, especially in the anti-alcoholic movement of the area. He was arrested by the police for leading protest marches against liquor lobbies, politicians, and the police.
Kaithakottil also held the post of the Director of the Dalit Catholic MahajanaSabha of the Archdiocese from 1992–1995.
In 1994 Kaithakottil was appointed the Executive Director of the Save A Family Plan India (SAFP India), a charitable organisation which supports poor families and promotes human resource development and women empowerment programs. He then served as the parish priest of St. Joseph Church Kodussery and was in charge of St. Augustine Church Karippassery. In the year 1997 he was sent to Rome for higher studies in scripture. He has taken a licentiate in scripture from the Biblical Institute in Rome in 2001 and had his doctorate in biblical theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome in 2005. His doctoral thesis is titled as "Conversion of the Church and the Conversion of the World: A biblical theological Study ofmetanoe,w(metanoew) in the Book of Revelation”. Back home in 2005 he was appointed Coordinator of Associations and Organizations of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly and the chaplain of St. Martin Shrine, Angamaly. He also served as the secretary of the Presbyteral Council (Priests’ Senate) of the Archdiocese from 2007–2012. He was also a member of the college of Archdiocesan consultors from 2007–2012.
In 2007 Kaithakottil was appointed as the director of the department of youth apostolate, a newly constituted department for the youth ministry in the Archdiocese.
Kaithakottil was visiting professor to different major seminaries, like St. Thomas Apostolic seminary, Vadavathoor, Kottayam (2005–2008), Sanathana Seminary at Thamarassery (2007–2011), St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary Alwaye (2006–2010) in the state of Kerala. In the year 2010, he joined as the resident staff member of St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary Alwaye. Now he resides at Alwaye as a professor of biblical theology and since 2011. He also serves as a visiting professor at Jnana-DeepaVidyapeeth, Pune. He also gives courses on biblical theology to different theological institutes run by the women religious.
Kaithakottil is a motivational speaker and gives classes for youth, parents and children.