Fr. James Tharakan joined Holy Family on June 1, 2020, after serving as associate pastor at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Winter Park January 2017-May 2020.
Fr. James was born and raised in India in the southern state of Kerala. His father passed away when Fr. James was in the third grade, and his mother passed away in 2016. He is the youngest of eight – six brothers and one sister.
After high-school graduation, Fr. James joined the Carmelite religious order in India. After 15 years of seminary formation, he was ordained on Dec. 29, 2007, in the Syrian Antiochian rite. During his seminary formation, he earned a secular bachelor’s degree in English literature, economics and sociology. He also has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology.
After his ordination, he was appointed administrator of a high school. Two years later, he was appointed director of a college, where he served for six years. While serving at the college, he also served as pastor of two small churches in central India, where he was working as a missionary.
He entered the United States in November 2016 and was appointed associate pastor at St. Margaret Mary Parish in January 2017.
Fr. Raul Caga hails from the Southern part of the Philippines. His vocation to the priesthood was nurtured by the deep religiosity of his family. He joined the Society of the Divine Word and was ordained a priest on December 8, 1993. He obtained his ecclesiastical degree in Theology at Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City, Philippines. After seven years in parish ministry, he was sent for further studies in Rome taking up Licentiate in Moral Theology from 2001 to 2003. After he obtained the degree, he taught at his Alma Mater for thirteen years.
His passion for singing led him to develop a music ministry within his priestly ministry. Since 2000 he produced his first music album of originally written religious/gospel songs and four others in the coming years: Life Is Beautiful, Called By Love (2006), My Sweet Surrender (2012), All I Dream This Christmas (2014), Gracious Mercy (2015). My Sweet Surrender was awarded Best Religious Album by the Catholic Mass Media Awards (Philippines) in 2012 while Called By Love and Gracious Mercy were finalists in 2006 and 2015 respectively. The many beautiful stories of how his music inspired so many to deepen one’s faith in a loving God have encouraged him to pursue the music ministry as a means to evangelize. Music video of a few of his songs may be found on YouTube and Facebook and albums can be purchased on iTunes or in the Holy Family Catholic Church bookstore.
September 2017, he came to work in the Diocese of Orlando. His first parish assignment was at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rockledge for six months, and then got his second assignment at Holy Family beginning on June 18, 2018.
Holy Family Welcomed Very Rev. John C. Giel, V.G., J.C.L. as the pastor of our parish on October 12th, 2015.
Fr. John Giel served as pastor of the Catholic Community of St. Paul in 1992. He is a staunch supporter of Catholic education and was the driving force behind St. Paul’s Catholic School. He is currently the Chancellor for Canonical Affairs/Vicar General for the Diocese of Orlando and also serves as a diocesan judge. He is the founder and executive producer of CCTN, the Catholic Community Television Network.
Father Giel holds a B.B.A. from Stetson University, a Masters of Divinity from St. Meinrad School of Theology, a Masters in Canon Law (M.C.L.), and a Licentiate in Canon Law (J.C.L.) degree. He belongs to several national organizations, including the Canon Law Society of America, the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the National Association of Broadcasters.