The India connection


By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

Father Francis Bashyam of Bellary, India, predicted six years ago that then-Father Thomas Zinkula would become a bishop someday. The Indian priest made that prediction while Fr. Zinkula was visiting in India in 2011. The two were walking in a religious site when Fr. Bashyam snapped a photo of Fr. Zinkula from the back. A beam of light appeared to zero in on Fr. Zinkula.

Anne Marie Amacher
Father Francis Bashyam shows Bishop-elect Thomas Zinkula a poster from India. Prior to showing the poster, Fr. Bashyam draped a shawl from India on the bishop-elect during a reception at St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf on June 21.

“I said, ‘The Holy Spirit is coming on you and you will be a bishop one day soon.’”

What was Fr. Zinkula’s response? “He just laughed,” Fr. Bashyam recalled during a reception after Solemn Vespers on June 21 at St. John Vianney Church. His prediction rang true. Bishop Zinkula was ordained Ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport on June 22.


The two priests met in the late 1990s in the Dubuque Archdiocese when Fr. Bashyam was at Nativity Parish in Dubuque. Fr. Zinkula spent several months in India in 2011 at Fr. Bashyam’s parish in Toranagallu, Bellary.

Fr. Zinkula met all kinds of people in India: “the rich, the poor, educated, illiterate, employed, farmers …” Fr. Bashyam said. “He’s a very humble man,” said the Indian priest. Fr. Zinkula traveled lightly, without a lot of attachments. “He was a very easy person to accommodate.” Fr. Zinkula also related well to the people he met. “When he’s with a family, he’s 100 percent with them,” Fr. Bashyam said. “People love him because he shows that love.”

Fr. Bashyam said he felt honored to be invited to the ordination of his friend to the episcopate.

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