KOCHI: On Palm Sunday, Cardinal Mar George Alencherry conducted the Holy Mass in the unified format at St Mary’s Cathedral Basilica here. The Holy Mass, as prescribed by the synod of the Syro-Malabar Church, was conducted at the Basilica under tight police security amid row over the implementation of the uniform mass in Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese.
“We are celebrating the mass today in the unified format as per the decision of our Church’s synod which was recognised by the dicastery for oriental churches... Like Holy Father Pope Francis in the letter written specifically for our archdiocese has said, the unified format was formed when we acted with a mind of sacrifice and took a step back from our respective styles of worship and displayed a symbol of unity. We shall pray for the blessings to act with love and brotherhood without losing unity in our archdiocese,” the Cardinal said during his homily.
Metropolitan vicar of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese Mar Antony Kariyil did not attend the Holy Mass at the Basilica. Earlier, it was announced that the Cardinal and Mar Kariyil would be jointly conducting the uniform mode of the mass on Palm Sunday. A source said the archbishop was at bishops’ house nearby and chose not to attend the mass.
Police were deployed at the Basilica till the mass got over. On Friday, there was a clash between the laity who support and oppose the uniform mode of the Holy Mass, in front of the Ernakulam Bishops’ House.
The circular issued jointly by the Cardinal and Mar Kariyil was read out during the mass. Basilica vicar Fr Antony Narikulam and archdiocese Vicar General Fr Jose Puthiyedath were the co-celebrants of the mass. Meanwhile, the old format, the mass facing the people, was conducted by priests in the majority of the churches under the archdiocese.
According to Almaya Munnettam, a laity organisation of the archdiocese, mass was held in over 400 centres in the archdiocese. Except for four parishes, the mass was in the old format in the rest of the centres.