ABBEVILLE — Father Allam Marreddy, a visiting priest and the parochial vicar of Sacred Heart in Abbeville and Good Shepherd mission in McCormick, celebrated his 25th anniversary as a priest on Feb. 11. He said that he has been “most happy” as an ordained minister, especially since coming to South Carolina two years ago.
“I have been very blessed,” the Indian priest said. “The people down here have accepted me very well, and I’m so appreciative of their positive attitudes and their faith. The experience has been enriching my faith.”
He hopes to take the lesson of these attitudes back to India with him when he returns in 2007. He said that many people there have superstitions and negative ways of thinking, and they are not goal-oriented as are Americans.
Father Allam (family and given names are reversed in his native India) is busy, with his two parishes and assisting pastor Father Richard D. Harris at Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood, but it is a lifestyle that he is used to and likes. In India, he said, he baptized 2,400 adults into the Catholic Church since 1979, when he was ordained. In addition to being pastor of three parishes, one of which is big enough to hold as many as 1,800 worshippers, he was principal at Our Lady of the Flowers High School and worked as an itinerant preacher and missionary. He was a presenter at religious conventions and a prayer leader at retreats.
He holds two undergraduate degrees in history and in education and two graduate degrees in theology and philosophy. His childhood friend, Father Gabe Show Reddy of St. Mary Help of Christians in Aiken, referred him to Bishop Robert J. Baker, who offered him a position in South Carolina. Father Allam accepted the opportunity to serve the Diocese of Charleston for five years because he wanted to take some leave and thought he could be renewed and enlightened by the experience of living in another culture. That hope is being fulfilled, he said, and the enlightenment is working both ways: Parishioners are also “touched by my Eastern spirituality,” he said.
A dinner in honor of Father Allam brought 142 parishioners to the Tara Country Club Feb. 6.
Father Allam was ordained in Hydra-bad, India, after completing his formation in St. John’s Seminary there. He enjoys his priestly ministry and would change nothing if he could.
“I am most grateful to God for the opportunity to serve him and his church. I am so happy being a priest, and proud,” the silver jubilarian said. “I am very busy, and I love it.”