His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Mar Raphael Thattil, Titular Bishop of Buruni and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archi-eparchy of Trichur, as the Apostolic Visitator for the Syro-Malabar Migrant Faithful residing outside the territorium proprium in India (Prot.315/2013). The appointment of Mar Raphael Thattil was announced in Vatican City at 12 noon on Saturday, 11 January 2014, and Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, Mar George Cardinal Alencherry announced it at 4.30 p.m. on the same day in the august presence of all Archbishops and Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church who assembled for the Synod at Mount St. Thomas, Kakkanad, Kochi. A warm reception was organized to the newly appointed Apostolic Visitator in the Lourdes Cathedral at Trichur with a solemn Holy Qurbana, presided over by the Archbishop Mar Andrews Thazhath, Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy, Mar Joseph Pastor Neelamkavil, Mar Bosco Puthur and Mar Raphael Thattil.
This new appointment by the Holy Father was announced during the CBCI meeting held at Pala on Monday10 February 2014. Bishop Mar Raphael Thattil commenced his new ministry as the Apostolic Visitor with a solemn liturgical celebration on 26 February 2014, presided over by the Major Archbishop. Besides, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, Mar George Cardinal Alencherry sent a circular to all the Archbishops and Bishops in India (Prot.417/2014), informing this appointment on Thursday, 27 February 2014, in which His Beatitude had expressed that "with the functioning of the Apostolic Visitator, the Syro-Malabar Church looks forward a better coordination and collaboration among the individual churches in India. This new appointment envisages more effective pastoral care of the Syro-Malabar migrant faithful scattered throughout our Country in their own liturgical and ecclesial traditions."
Soon after accepting his new ministry, Mar Raphael Thattil started his mission on 01 March 2014, visiting Gujarat- all the Latin Dioceses and parishes and Mass centres. Places like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trichy, Bhopal and Salem were also visited and made necessary arrangements for the better pastoral care of the Syro-Malabar Migrant faithful.