Fr. Alphonse Justin Nelson
Pastor, St. Mary’s Parish
Alphonse Justin Nelson was born on June 10, 1973, in Trichy, Tamilnadu, India. One of four children, Fr. Justin’s family continues to live and work in cities throughout India. It was in the 10th grade in Coimbatore that Fr. Justin met a Passionist Priest for the first time and his life forever changed.
Fr. Christopher Gibson, C.P., spoke about the Passionist life and charism to the eager Indian boys in the class. He remembers vividly when Fr. Christopher posed the question to each of them, "do you want to preach Christ crucified in India?" It was then that Fr. Nelson first heard the call to bring the message of the Passion to India. He soon attended a vocation camp at the local seminary where his interest in the Passionist way of life began to grow. In 1988, Fr. Nelson was selected and joined the Passionist seminary in 1988 in Cochin.
In the seminary, Fr. Nelson studied English and Hindi followed by three years of philosophy and four years of Theology. During his studies, Fr. Nelson also completed a year of Pastoral experience in north-east India. Ordained a priest on May 7th, 2000 in Coimbatore, Fr. Nelson was assigned as associate pastor in the Passionist Parish in Randham Korattur, Tamilnadu. He followed this service as director of Philosophy students in the Philosophy House in Bhophal and an assignment as pastor of the Passionist parish in Randham Korattur. Most recently, he served as the director of the Sneha Jyothi Rehabilitation Center just outside Bangalore, where former prison inmates have a place to learn job skills and begin the delicate transition process back to their families and society.
Fr. Nelson faithfully served the people of India, spreading the Passionist message of the love of Christ crucified in retreats at local parishes and the retreat house in Carmelaram. He was transferred to the United States in 2009, and served as Associate Pastor at St. Agnes Passionist Parish in Louisville, Kentucky, until fall 2010, when he was appointed Pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Fairfield, Alabama.