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Every month St Richard’s hosts a Mass in the Indian Syro-Malabar rite, attended by our growing community coming originally from Kerala State in South West India.
The liturgy of their Mass is one of the many forms from Eastern communities in full communion with Rome, yet with striking differences in style and content. Its members take pride in their history. They remind us that “St Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ, laid foundation to the Syro Malabar Church in AD 52. Syro Malabar Church, having a membership of four million faithful, is the second largest Oriental Catholic Church in the world. With strong devotion and deep rooted spirituality as its trademark, Syro Malabar Church is in full communion with the Church of Rome and forms part of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church.
The priest wears the same coloured vestments throughout the year, celebrating the Kingship of Christ.
Today the celebrant is Fr Joseph Kutzhichalil, CMI, who is a member of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, which is an Eastern Catholic religious order for men, belonging to the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.
The reader is Matthew Kumarakom
The congregation play a full part in singing and responding throughout the Mass, in the Malayalam language.
The congregation kneel less often than European Catholics do – in Eastern tradition; their sign of the Cross is different in form. The emphases of their liturgy differ from the Roman – but the elements are the same.
Men and women usually are on separate sides of the church.
They celebrate the martyrdom of St Thomas on 3rd July and it is a day of obligation for the Syro Malabarians. He was speared to death in A.D. 72.
Even on a wet and chilly May Sunday evening, almost seventy parishioners attended – mainly young people and children – part of our widening community bringing zest and vitality to St Richard’s in their life and worship.
(Visit the website www.Catholicherald.org/ archives/articles/syromalabar.html)