Uniform Holy Mass from Sunday, Ernakulam-Angamaly churches to retain old system

Meanwhile, a group of priests staged a sit-in at the Bishop House in Thrissur on Saturday against the change.

Published: 28th November 2021 06:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th November 2021 06:49 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes. (File Photo)

By Express News Service

KOCHI/THRISSUR: With the uniform way of celebrating Holy Mass set to be implemented in the Syro-Malabar Church from Sunday, the Ernakualm-Angamaly archdiocese on Saturday granted an exemption to all the churches under it, citing a letter from the Vatican.

Archbishop Antony Kariyil, vicar of the Major Archbishop for the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly who visited Rome to lobby for retaining the old system, has issued a circular in this regard. Amid protests from priests in the Irinjalakuda diocese, Bishop Pauly Kannookadan invoked section 1538 of the Canon law to allow continuation of the traditionally followed Holy Mass. Dioceses, including Palakkad, Thrissur, Thamarassery and Changanassery, have issued statements saying they will follow the new mode from Sunday. 

Meanwhile, a group of priests staged a sit-in at the Bishop House in Thrissur on Saturday against the change. The protestors urged the Bishop to issue a circular saying it’s not compulsory to follow the new uniform system.

On Sunday, Cardinal Mar George Alencherry will conduct the Holy Mass at Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad, as per the new mode. According to the letter issued by the Vatican, Mar Kariyil has the authority to decide on whether to implement the Synod’s decision in the archdiocese. 

Cardinal urges all to follow new mode of Holy Mass

Therefore, all churches, parishes and religious institutions under the Ernakulam- Angamaly archdiocese will be able to retain the current mode of celebrating the Holy Mass. However, Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, the head of the Syro-Malabar Church, issued a circular stating that the new mode of Holy Mass will begin on Sunday and urged everyone to implement it.

The cardinal who said he did not receive any communication from the Holy See, will conduct the mass at Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad, as per the new mode. It was a Synod decision to bring in a uniform way of conducting Holy Mass. At present, various dioceses follow different modes — in some churches, celebrants face the altar, while in some, they face the faithful.

As per the new mode, the celebrant will face the congregation as well as the altar during the Holy Mass. However, the exemption given to the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese may pave way for confusion and conflict in other dioceses. “If the bishops can decide whether to implement the Synod’s decision or not, then matters need to proceed in that way. Conflicts may arise in dioceses where the unity between bishops, priests and laity is hampered,” said a priest with Syro-Malabar Church.

“Since the Holy See has emphasised that the primary responsibility of resolving issues concerning pastoral matters, considering the spiritual wellbeing of the faithful, lies with the bishops concerned, I, as the vicar of the Major Archbishop, grant dispensation in all centres under the Archdiocese as per Canon 1538 from following the new mode of Holy Mass.

However, all the churches, parishes and religious institutions should make necessary arrangements to follow the Raza Qurbana Taksa-the revised text of the Holy Mass from Sunday,” said Mar Kariyil in the circular released on Sunday.

Prefect issued letter
The Vatican letter was issued by Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Oriental Churches, on Saturday after the meeting between Mar Kariyil and the Pope.


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