Rev. Chris Arockiaraj, P.S.S.

Graduate School of Theology

Photo of Rev. Chris Arockiaraj, P.S.S.


D.Min., San Francisco Theological Seminary

Ph.D. in Pastoral Psychology, Loyola University
MD, Graduate Theological Foundation
Ph.L., Catholic University of Toulouse

STB., Pontifical Urban University through S.H. Seminary

M.S., in General Psychology, University of Madras

C.P.E., John Hopkins Hospital
Download CV

Meet Chris

Chris Arockiaraj, P.S.S., is a native of Chennai, India. He studied Philosophy, Theology and Psychology in Chennai. He was ordained a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Madras in India. He holds a Ph.L. from Institut Catholique de Toulouse, France, a D.Min. with a concentration in Pastoral Counseling from San Francisco Theological Seminary, CA, and a Ph.D. in Pastoral Psychology from Graduate Theological Foundation, IN. He had previously served as an associate professor at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University, CA, as well as Sacred Heart Seminary, India, for 15 years. He has taught several academic courses in philosophy, theology and psychology. He has expertise in positive psychology, personality psychology, strength psychology, spirituality and pastoral theology.

Dr. Arockiaraj has held various positions, including those of pastor, hospital chaplain, formation advisor, and spiritual director. Chris has served as an academic dean and director of pastoral formation program for several years. Currently he teaches at The Catholic University of America and serves as a coordinator of clinical placements for Supervised Ministry Program. As a certified Pastoral Counselor with an additional certificate in Spiritual Direction and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), Chris has years of clinical experience working with families and individuals.

Languages: Tamil, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German



• Lecturer, School of Theology and Religious Studies—The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC., 2017-present.

• Assistant Professor of Pastoral Studies, Formational Director, Co-Director of Pastoral Year Formation, Formation Faculty, Spiritual Director—St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, CA, 2010 - 2017.

• Graduate Assistant—San Francisco Theological Seminary, CA, 2014.

• Formation Faculty, Dean of Men, Academic Dean, Director of Pastoral Formation—Sacred Heart Seminary, Chennai, 1997-1999, 2002-2005.

• Formation Faculty, Director of Pastoral Formation Program—The Catholic University of America, School of Theology and Religious Studies, 2017- present.

• Vice-Rector—Theological College, 2020 - present.

• Member of Washington Area Formators Network (WAFN), 2017 - present.


• Director of Pastoral Formation—Theological College, Washington, DC, 2018- present.

• Coordinator of Clinical Placements, Supervised Ministry Program—Catholic University of America, 2018-present.

• Co-Director of Pastoral Year Students—St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, CA, 2016 - 2017.

• Member of Finance Committee—Sulpician Province of USA, 2015 - 2017.

• Member of Admission Committee—Sulpician Province of USA, 2015 - present.

• Member of Strategic planning Committee & Liturgical Committee—St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, CA, 2012-13.

• Academic Dean, Dean of Men, Director of Pastoral Formation Program—Sacred Heart Seminary, Chennai, 1997-1999, 2002-2005.


• Prison Ministry, Diocese of San Jose, 2014-2017.

• Chaplain, St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, MD , 2005-2010.

• Spiritual Director, Bay Area Tamil Catholic Community and Tamil Ministry, CA, 2012- 2017.

• Spiritual Director, Capital Area Tamil Catholic Association, VA, 2018- present.

• Pastor, Sacred Heart Church, Chennai, 2004 -2005.

• Associate Pastor, Santhome Cathedral & Our Lady of Fatima, Chennai, 1995-1997.


• Sacred Heart Church, Wasilla, Archdiocese of Anchorage, 2012, 2013 & 2014.

• St. Denis Church, Archdiocese of San Francisco, CA, 2012.

• St. William Church, St. Teresa Co-Cathedral, Diocese of Honolulu, 2015.

• St. Anselm Church, Archdiocese of San Francisco, CA , 2015.

• Immaculate Conception church, Archdiocese of Miami, 2007.

• Catholic Hospital, Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, 2003.

• St. Jeanne of Arc Church, Verdun sur Garonne, Diocese of Montauban, France, 2002.

• Our Lady of Victory Church, Diocese of Meaux, France, 2000.

• Retreat Preacher for Confirmation Candidates, St. Anselm Church, Archdiocese of San Francisco, CA, 2015, 2016.


• Clinical Counseling internship, Marriage and Family counseling Centre, Baltimore, MD, 2005-2007.

• Pastoral Counselor, Inter-Faith Counseling Centre, San Anselmo, CA, 2013-2015.

• Pastoral Counselor at Parishes of Nativity (Archdiocese of San Francisco, CA) and St. Thomas Aquinas (Diocese of San Jose, CA), 2016 - 2017.

• Spiritual Director: Sacred Heart Seminary, Chennai, 1997-1999, 2002-2005.

• Spiritual Director, St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, CA, 2010-2017.

• Spiritual Director, Theological College, Washington, DC, 2017– present.


• Adviser to the USCCB Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs for the Indian Roman/Latin Rite



• Faces of Aesthetics (Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics in Tamil), Editor, Chennai, 2005.

• To be with God, (Liturgy in Tamil), co-Editor, Chennai, 2005.

• Youth ministry, Editor, (Tamil), 1989.

• Contract with USCCB Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs to write a book on Indian-American Catholics and their traditions and transitions (proposal time: December, 2020).


• “50 Years of Excellence in Pastoral Formation: 1971-2021”, Crossroads, TC, Washington DC., 2020.

• “Excellence in Supervision: Theories of Supervision”, (co-authored) Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry, Vol.40, 2020.

• “Spiritual formation/reflective practice under the cloud of Pandemic” Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry, Vol.41 2020 (to be published).

• “Shepherding in a time of Traumatic stress and Anxiety”, Crossroads, TC, Washington DC., 2020.

• ‘Self-care for Priests”, Crossroads, TC, Washington DC., 2019.

• ‘Healthy Living’, Crossroads, TC, Washington DC., 2019

• “Art and Emotions”, Faces of Aesthetics, Chennai, 2005.

• “Hindus Experience the Solicitude of the Virgin Mary: Mary in Inter-religious Relations”, Lourdes, 97, (109), Lourdes, 2002, (Published in French, German, Spanish, English and Portuguese).

Invited Presentations

• Identity of Priesthood, Small Group Formation, Theological College, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

• Workshop on Catechetical Ministry and Service with the Poor, Theological College, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

• Theological Refection on Pastoral Experience in Small Groups, Theological College, 2018 and 2019.

• Building Resilience in Catholic Seminarians to Cope With Potential Burnout issues as New Priests, presentation at the Seventeenth World Summit on Positive Psychology and Psychotherapy, Toronto, Canada, May, 2017.

• Building Resilience in Seminarians and Young Priests, Ongoing Formation for Priests, West Coast Regional Meeting held at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, CA, October, 2016.

• Addictive Behavior and Formational Issues, Presentation to Pre-theology Students, St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, CA, 2016.

• Anxiety and coping strategies, Health Care Lecture Series, St. Patrick’s Church, Menlo Park, CA, 2015.

• Positive Psychology: a Coping Tool for Depression, American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Annual Regional Conference, November 2013.

• Stress and Subjective Well-being, Health Care Lecture Series, St. Patrick’s Church, Archdiocese of San Francisco, CA, 2013.

• Transcendence and Mind-Body-Spirit Health (Subjective Well-Being), Pastoral Care Department In-service, St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, MD, 2008.

• Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics, Key note speaker at Philosophy Annual Symposium, Sacred Heart Seminary, Chennai, September, 2003.

• Blessed Virgin Mary and Hinduism, Marian Colloquium at Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine, Lourdes (France), 2002.

• Catholic Tradition Practice in India, University Lecture Series at Catholic Institute of Toulouse (France), 2001.


• Board Certified Pastoral Counselor, American Association of Pastoral Counselors, 2015.

• American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Member, 2013- present.

• Society of Pastoral Theology, Member, 2015 - present.

• Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Member, 2007-2009.

• American Psychological Association, member, Division 36, Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2005-2008.

• Ordained Roman Catholic Priest, 1995 and Member of Society of St. Sulpice.

• Priest in good standing since 1995.