For many decades, the friars of our Order have been responsible for the “Italian Catholic Mission,” in Vienna. For a long time, the mission was located at the Minoritenkirche Friary in Vienna. However, it has now found a new home at the church of our Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit Friary on Vienna’s Alserstraße. Since 2012, the mission has been under the pastoral care of Friar Thomas MANALIL from Kerala, India. Friar Thomas is a member of the Provincial Custody of St. Leopold and St. Nicolas of Flüe in Austria-Switzerland of the Province of St Elizabeth in Germany. During the last Custodial Chapter, he was also elected Guardian of the aforementioned Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit Friary.
On August 31, 2021, he was awarded the knighthood of the Order of the Star of Italy, a special honor conferred upon him by the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio MATTARELLA. The title was presented to Friar Thomas in the Italian embassy by the Ambassador to Austria, Sergio BARBANTI, during a small ceremony, which was attended by some confreres and the Most Reverend Pedro LÓPEZ QUINTANA, Apostolic Nuncio to Austria.
The ambassador underlined how Friar Thomas “with his praiseworthy commitment” has contributed to promoting common growth in the Catholic community: “Thanks to his commitment, Italian families have found, in the mission, a space where they can share common values and interests, as well as a social point of reference. In addition to his pastoral work, Friar Thomas has also become a figure of social importance to the Italian community. His work has had a positive impact on the presence of Italians in Austria and has contributed to the further strengthening of relations between the two countries.”
Friar Thomas expressed his gratitude, praising the support he receives from the many people involved in the Italian mission and thanking his Conventual Franciscan confreres for their help.
Friar Andreas Murk, Minister Provincial of Germany