Kolkata gets Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
A new St Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church was consecrated by His Beatitude Mar George Cardinal Alancherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church at Behala area in Kolkata on Wednesday in the presence of His Grace Archbishop Thomas D'Souza of Kolkata Diocese, and His Excellency Salvadore Lobo, Bishop of Baruipur and other dignitaries.
The Church, which has Jesus with open arms and other visually appealing Indian and local facets, has been designed by Church Art.
Located in Behala, the Syro-Malabar Church is decorated in indigenous style, with the images of Jesus and the Saints sporting Indian-style looks and clothing. The cynosure in the hall of worship is a mural of St Thomas examining the wounds of Jesus.
There is also a mural of St John baptizing Jesus. The tabernacle is decorated with sacramental symbols in the background. The main door has biblical symbols.
“With the consecration of the Church the long-standing aspirations of the Syro-Malabar Catholics in Kolkata would be fulfilled. The Church would also carry out various social welfare activities besides spreading the message of peace, harmony and spiritual development,” said His Beatitude Mar George Cardinal Alancherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, said.
The Syro-Malabar church dates back to the time of St Thomas the Apostle, one of the 16 disciples of Jesus, who died and was buried in Chennai. The Syro-Malabar members, who migrated to West Bengal from early 70s, would now be able to say the weekly Holy Mass as per the Syro-Malabar rite in Malayalam which was introduced in St Ignatius Church, Ekbalpur, in 1978.
The foundation stone for the Church was laid in April 2011 by Mar Joseph Perumthottam, Archbishop of Changanacherry, in the presence of His Grace Archbishop Lucas Sirkar, SDB, and the construction work began on September 2013 after obtaining necessary legal sanctions and clerances.
The Syro-Malabar Church members raised funds for the church building since the erection of the new parish through contribution and by hosting Kerala food festivals since 2005. The CMI congregation contributed the rest of the funds.
“Through the art of inculturation we are trying to bring people of all religions together for better peace and harmony,’’ said Subrata Ganguly of Church Art, who has done the interiors of the Church.
Besides Kolkata, the other Catholic Diocese in West Bengal are Asansol, Bagdogra, Baruipur, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Krishnanagar and Raiganj.
Image caption: From left His Beatitude Mar George Cardinal Allencherry, Major Archbishop at the consecration of new St Thomas Syro-Malabar Church in Behala along with Father Joshi, parish priest of the Church.
(Posted on 07-05-2014)