Kerala: Church to allow people-facing mass in parishes following uniform mode

This was announced in a circular jointly issued by the Syro Malabar Church Major Archbishop Mar Raphael Thattil and the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese apostolic administrator Mar Bosco Puthur on Monday.
Priests and parishioners celebrate Holy Mass facing people at St Mary’s Cathedral Basilica as part of the feast of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary on Tuesday.
Priests and parishioners celebrate Holy Mass facing people at St Mary’s Cathedral Basilica as part of the feast of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary on Tuesday. (Photo | A Sanesh)

KOCHI: In what can be termed a climbdown, the Syro Malabar Church has allowed all the parishes to celebrate at least one Holy Mass in the uniform mode every Sunday and on all the debt days to continue celebrating the people-facing Holy Mass.

This was announced in a circular jointly issued by the Syro Malabar Church Major Archbishop Mar Raphael Thattil and the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese apostolic administrator Mar Bosco Puthur on Monday. The circular refers to the June 21 circular issued following the Synod and tries to explain the directives given in it.

Meanwhile, in a video message to the laity of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, Major Archbishop Mar Thattil said that the time is nigh for the implementation of the Unified Holy Mass that has been adopted by all the 34 dioceses and even the Apostolic Visitation in Europe.

“A church stands united only when the altar is united,” he said in the message.

He said it is important to implement the unified mode of Holy Mass from Wednesday. “I seek and earnestly request everyone to cooperate,” he urged the priests and the laity of the archdiocese.

“If it is such that this decision can’t be implemented to its fullest, then as per the directives given in the circular at least one Holy Mass needs to be celebrated in the uniform mode,” he added.

He cautioned that if any priest refrains from doing so, disciplinary action as per the church canon laws would be initiated.

‘Won’t celebrate Unified Holy Mass disrupting peace’

In reply to the circular and the video message issued by the Major Archbishop, the priests opposing the Unified Holy Mass informed that they were again taken for a ride.

“We had been promised that the circular would be published only after discussions with us and the laity leaders. But we were cheated. Also, the video message by Mar Thattil contradicts the very note that was jointly issued by him and Mar Puthur,” said Fr Jose Vailikodath, public relation officer (PRO) of the Athiroopatha Samrakshana Samithi.

“Therefore, we would like to clarify a few things. We accept the circular but with certain stipulations, only because it provides an opportunity to maintain peace in the archdiocese. But no priest will say a Unified Mass disrupting the peaceful atmosphere that now exists in the parishes. If there is any kind of sectarianism in the parish during the celebration of the Unified Mass, then only the people-facing mass will be celebrated in such parishes until the curia is finished, giving priority to the peaceful atmosphere in the parish,” the priest said.

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