SYRO MALABAR RITE — More than 100 Indians of the Syro Malabar rite attended a special mass in their own language at Holy Rosary Cathedral July 16. (Flegel)
Syro Malabar mass held
REGINA — The Indian community of Regina celebrated a special evening in Holy Rosary Cathedral July 16 with a mass in the Syro Malabar rite. Rev. George Thattuparampil, who is from Kerala, India, celebrated the mass entirely in the Malayalam language.
“Everyone here can understand that language,” said Thattuparampil. So far as anyone knows, it was the first time a mass in the Syro Malabar Rite was celebrated in the archdiocese. “Archbishop Dan (Bohan, Archbishop of Regina) was happy to give us permission to do this.”
The Syro Malabar rite has its roots in St. Thomas the Apostle, who arrived in India in AD 52 and established several churches in the Kerala province. He died there 20 years later. St. Thomas’s Christians, according to the Internet, came into contact with Christians of the Church of the East and shared liturgical, spiritual and ecclesiastical traditions with them and became known as the East Syrian Rite.
Thattuparampil expected about 60 to show up for the service; instead, more than 100 attended.
“There are about 170 in the community,” he said, “but because it’s evening during the week many had to work and could not be here.” He said he hopes there will be more Syro Malabar masses celebrated for adherents.
Community member Jacob Elias thanked the priests, servers and congregation for attending and being a part of the service. He said later it was a wonderful thing. “We haven’t had a mass in our language and it’s a wonderful feeling for us.”
Anyone not familiar with the rite would have no problem following the mass. It is the same as that celebrated in other churches in the diocese, but there is considerably more chanting, both by the celebrant and the congregation. It also lasts about an hour and 20 minutes instead of the usual one-hour duration.
“It is the same liturgy, the same structure,” said Thattuparampil. “Only the language is different.”
Rev. Josep Akkattukudilil, a recent arrival from Kerala serving at Holy Child Parish, concelebrated the mass and Rev. Marcel George of Martha House Regina, a friend of Thattuparampil, assisted at the altar.
Msgr. Ken Miller also attended. Youth members of the Indian community acted as mass servers.
With a growing international community along with international priests the Syro Malabar rite is just one of several masses celebrated in languages other than English. Vietnamese and Tagalog (Philippines) are also celebrated fairly regularly.
Traditional Indian foods were served at a reception following the service.