Colourful parish is on the move to new home

syro-malabar-photo-for-webCanberra’s ever-growing St Alphonsa Parish Syro Malabar community now calls St Joseph’s, O’Connor, home. The community’s move to O’Connor in mid-October coincided with the 10-year anniversary of their presence at St Peter Chanel’s, Yarralumla. Syro Malabar chaplain Fr Mathew Kunnappillil said St Peter Chanel’s church had played a vital role in the establishment of the community in the ACT.“It has been a privilege for the Syro Malabar people to serve and worship the Lord at St Peter Chanel’s church for a decade,” he said.“We remember it as the place where the community first took shape and became a parish, hence the final thanksgiving Holy Qurbana (Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) was conducted at Yarralumla on October 15.”

Archdiocesan Vicar General Fr Tony Percy welcomed Fr Kunnappillil and the community for its first Mass in St Joseph’s. The day included catechism classes for 300 children and other cultural festivities.The following week, Archbishop Christopher Prowse officially installed the community into the parish.

The recent move to O’Connor spelt a busy time for Syro Malabar parishioners who solemnly celebrated their community day, novena and parish feast all within the space of a couple of weeks. They also attended the Marian procession at St Clement’s, Galong. September 30 marked the community’s feast day and Fr Varghese Vavolil, who guided the community for the past 10 years and is now serving as the priest of St Thomas Syro Malabar parish, Brisbane, was present for the official flag hoisting of the celebration and Holy Qurbana.

The community day on October 1 was well supported and October 2 witnessed the Solemn Pontifical Qurbana celebrated by Mar Remigiose Inchananiyil, the Eparch of Thamarassery Diocese in Kerala, together with six co-celebrants. Bishop Inchananiyil’s talk inspired parishioners with the vision of being merciful and kind just like the Heavenly Father. After Mass, proclaiming their faith and convictions, about 800 people lined up prayerfully around St. Peter Chanel’s Church for the procession.In the procession, they carried statues of Mother Mary, St Thomas the Apostle of India and St Alphonsa, the first saint from India and the parish patroness. Fr Percy carried the relics of St Alphonsa during the procession, and gave the final blessings after a short message and prayer. After the procession, the community celebrated with a banquet.