Mountain Statesman | St. Augustine Catholic Parish Welcomes New Priest


GRAFTON—After years of wonderful service, St. Augustine Parish says farewell to Father Binu Sebastian and hello to a new priest who will lead the church.

A church that has stood the test of time in Grafton will once again welcome a new leader into its ranks.

St. Augustine’s Catholic Church has existed in the community for 170 years, and during that time many Catholic priests have been called to lead the congregation. The most recent to do so is Father Babu Joseph Elamturuthil, or Father Babu Joseph as he is more commonly known.

Father Babu Joseph comes to Grafton from his last post at Weirton.

To welcome him to the church, people are invited to attend an outdoor mass at the Saint-Augustin pavilion, located next to the Knights of Columbus house, on Sunday, September 11. The mass will be followed by a parish picnic prepared by the magnets in the hands of the Women’s Guild and the Knights of Columbus.

Father Babu Joseph was born in India on March 21, 1961, where he spent his youth learning and growing.

He graduated from high school in 1976 and entered the seminary in 1977, earning degrees in philosophy and theology.

Eager to serve the Lord, Father Babu was ordained on December 30, 1987 and began working in India for 25 years, serving in seven different parishes.

During this time he obtained post-graduate degrees in Malayalam Literature and Biblical Theology.

St. Augustine’s Church has served communities in Taylor County and Grafton since its inception after the railroad brought with it workers of Irish descent, loyal to their Catholic faith.

Among these men were well-known names such as McGraw, Doonan and Campbell. These Irish pioneers were instrumental in establishing Grafton and the first Catholic Church in Grafton.

The first permanent St. Augustine Church, a wooden structure, was built in 1857, the same year Grafton, Virginia was incorporated. It was for many years the only church of any denomination in Grafton.

The wooden structure was replaced by a brick church in 1872, and in 1922 a new church was erected. This building is the same as the one that exists today.

St. Augustine’s Church has been a part of Grafton for many years and Father Babu Joseph is ready and committed to continuing the legacy of the Catholic faith in Taylor County.

St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, located at 17 W. Washington Street-Grafton, is pleased to announce and welcome Father Babu Joseph as its new priest, and is excited to see what the future holds. church under his watchful eye.

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