Edmonton Church, History
St. Mary’s Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Edmonton is a church community under the jurisdiction of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy (Diocese) in the USA and Canada, within the Archdiocese of Edmonton. The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is one of Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. It is one of the twenty-three sui juris (particular) Catholic Churches within the Universal Catholic Church. Although Pope is its universal and supreme head, this Church is headed by a Major Archbishop-Catholicos and at present His Beatitude Baselios Cardinal Cleemis is the Major Archbishop-Catholicos seated in Trivandrum, Kerala, India. This Church was founded by St. Thomas, one of Apostles of Jesus Christ. This Church follows the Antiochian Syrian liturgy. Hence the word “Syro” refers to the Syrian liturgical and spiritual tradition and “Malankara” refers to the ancient Christianity in southern part of India. The ancient St. Thomas Christian Community underwent many splits and divisions. However, Servant of God Archbishop Mar Ivanios initiated a reunion movement in 1930 and subsequently it was canonically known as “the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church”.
Ref: Syro Malankara Catholic church website/www.catholicate.net
Migration to USA and Canada
Members of this church who were educated and enterprising began to migrate from India, Gulf countries and Europe to North America in search of better opportunities in life. The phenomena of migration from the Malankara Community to North America started in in 1960s and the clergy also accompanied them offering spiritual and pastoral care. The lay faithful of this church living across USA and Canada began to organize and establish themselves with the support of the bishops and the clergy. In the absence of canonical provisions and in view of that, the scattered members of this community legally formed themselves in 1984 as an Incorporation named” Malankara Catholic Mission in North America”. The official inauguration of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Mission of North America was on August 25, 1984 in a meeting held at Fordham University, New York, led by His Grace the Most Rev. Benedict Mar Gregorios, the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. His Eminence John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, delivered the keynote address at this inaugural meeting. The Malankara Catholic Missions in North America were guided by Reverend Fathers appointed by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum, who took great effort in the formation and growth of our Church.
Responding to the request of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Hierarchy to have an ecclesiastical provision for the ecclesial growth of the Syro-Malankara Catholics in the USA, Canada, and Europe, the Holy Father Pope John Paul II appointed Rt. Rev. Msgr. Dr. Isaac Mar Cleemis (later His Eminence Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos), as Apostolic Visitator for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Faithful in North America and Europe on June 18, 2001. Bishop Joseph Mar Thomas succeeded him until 2010.
The Hierarchy of our Church continued the dialogue with the Holy See for the establishment of stable ecclesiastical administrative structures for the faithful in North America. Subsequently, an Exarchate was established for Malankara Catholics Community by Pope Benedict XI and Bishop Thomas Mar Eusebius as its Exarch and as apostolic visitator for Canada and Europe. Later, on December 18, 2015 His Holiness Pope Francis elevated the Exarchate to the status of an Eparchy and extended its territory to include the region of Canada also. His Excellency the Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Eusebius was appointed the first bishop of the Eparchy. On January 23, 2016 the new Eparchy was officially inaugurated, and His Excellency the Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Eusebius was installed as the first Bishop of the Eparchy at the Cathedral of the Eparchy in Elmont, New York, USA. His Eminence Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, the Major Archbishop-Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church presided over the ceremony. This Eparchy is known as: St. Mary Queen of Peace, Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy in USA and Canada. As bishop Eusebius was transferred to India, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Philipos Mar Stephanos as the second bishop of the Eparchy and he was installed on 27th October 2018.
At present there are 16 churches and a few mission stations in the Eparchy consisting about 11,500 members. There are 18 Malankara Catholic priests serving in the Eparchy and 16 other Malankara Catholic priests ministering in different Latin Catholic Dioceses in North America and Canada. 34 Religious Sisters from among different religious congregations are rendering their ministry in the Eparchy.
Syro Malankara Catholic Church in Canada
This Eparchy has few churches and mission centers in Canada. Toronto church community was established in 1984 and it has large membership. Later more communities formed in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.
Establishment of St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Church in Edmonton, Canada
During the past couple of decades many Syro-Malankara faithful migrated to Edmonton and they received the wholehearted support and assistance from the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton. The Syro-Malankara Catholic community in Edmonton is very grateful to the Archdiocese for the same. The members of the community are committed to safeguarding the valued traditions of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and in passing the same to their future generation. Their passion for the liturgical experience, faithfulness to spiritual traditions, and zeal for the mission of the church are remarkable. These qualities motivated the migrated Malankarites to gather together for family prayer meetings. Like the apostolic community, they gathered regularly for prayer and fellowship in their residences. Holy Mass was celebrated occasionally as and when Malankara priests were available.
Rev. Fr. John Kuriakose, pastor of the Syro-Malankara Catholic community in Toronto, played a pivotal role in the formation of the community in Edmonton in 2009-2010. During his visit on April 28, 2010, this community celebrated the Holy Mass in Santa Maria Italian Church Edmonton AB. Later, His Grace Bishop Abraham Mar Julios, the Bishop of Muvattupuzha Diocese Kerala, India visited the Syro-Malankara Catholic community in Edmonton along with Fr. John Kuriakose on June 30, 2010 and strengthened the community. We gathered together along with our well-wishers and celebrated a Holy Mass in the Syro-Malankara rite in St. Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church. During this visit, His Excellency could also met the Archbishop of Edmonton, His Grace Richard W. Smith. Later they registered themselves as Malankara Catholic Association and organized their activities.
His Excellency the Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Eusebius visited the Syro-Malankara Catholic community in Edmonton in January 2011 and celebrated a Holy Mass. He also visited the Archbishop of Edmonton, His Grace Richard W. Smith, and requested him to appoint a Malankara Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Edmonton who could also cater to the pastoral needs of the Syro-Malankara Catholics in the Archdiocese. Consequently, the Archbishop of Edmonton was very kind enough to appoint Rev. Fr. Thomas Puthuparampil as the pastor.
Again On April 27, 2011, His Excellency Dr. Thomas Mar Eusebius visited Edmonton and celebrated Holy Mass in St. Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church. During the homily, the bishop officially read the letter of Archbishop Richard W. Smith appointing Fr. Thomas Puthupparampil as the pastor for the Malankara Catholic faithful in Edmonton. After the dedicated service of Fr. Thomas Puthuparampil, now Fr. Jossy George Thomas is shepherding the community. He was appointed as the pastor on April 1, 2017.
In Edmonton, the regular Holy Mass on Sundays in Syro-Malankara Catholic rite is celebrated at St. Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church, Edmonton. Every third Saturday, there is a prayer meeting in one of the churchioner’s residence on rotational basis at 6:00 pm. Edmonton Malankara church community is growing in apostolic faith, eucharistic centered sacramental life, prayer and fellowship. This community as a church has its mission of evangelization and ecumenism. Now in subsequence to the growth of this community, there is a desire to register this community as St. Mary’s Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Edmonton.
Historical Milestones- Malankara Catholic community Edmonton AB 2010 to 2018
In April 28, 2010- Visit of His Excellency Abraham Mar Julios and Fr. John Kuriakose.
2010. Registration of the community as Malankara Catholic Association in Alberta
January 2011, Visit of His Excellency Bishop Thomas Mar Eusebius.
The official inauguration of the community in April 2011
April 27, 2011- Appointment of Fr. Thomas Puthupparampil as the Pastor..
August 2013. Visit of His Eminence Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos
In October 2016- His Grace Richard. W. Smith Archbishop of Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton visited India and attended the birth centenary of late Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios in Kerala, INDIA
April 1st, 2017. Appointment of Rev Fr. Jossy George Thomas as the new Pastor.
Started to celebrate Holy Mass from June 4, 2017 onwards at St. John, the Evangelist Church, Edmonton.
Visit of Bishop Thomas Mar Eusebius on Aug 28, 2017
Visit of His Grace Bishop Joseph Mar Thomas on Sep 4, 2017
His Excellency Philipos Mar Stephanos took charge as the new bishop of the St. Mary Queen of peace Syro Malankara Catholic Eparchy in the USA and CANADA on October 28, 2017. Edmonton Malankara Catholic Community is under the pastoral care of this eparchy.
ST.MARY’S SYRO MALANKARA CATHOLIC CHURCH, EDMONTON WAS INCORPORATED IN ALBERTA ON 2018/ 03/ 26.
Major Activities of the Church.
Holy Mass: Celebrated regularly on every Sunday at 4:30pm in St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church.
Catechism: Classes are held for the children from grade 1 to 12 on every Sunday after the Holy Mass.
Prayer meetings are held monthly at the residences of the parishioners, with Bible reading, reflection, meditation, praise and worship.
Mar Ivanios day is celebrated every year on July 15 with Holy Mass and with activities which profiles the life of the servant of God Arch Bishop Mar Ivanios, great leader of the reunion movement in the Malankara Catholic church.
Cultural Activities: Cultural activities are conducted yearly to promote the cultural values and histrionic skills.
Visiting the Sick: The parishioners make visits in hospitals and homes and support those who are in need of help.
Holy Week: Holy week services are conducted with careful preparation and solemnity. The major events of Holy week are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday Services and Easter Celebrations.
Patroness Day: The nativity feast of Mother Mary who is the patroness of the church is celebrated every year on Sep 8 with 8 days of fasting and prayers.
Christmas: Christmas is celebrated every year with carol songs, Cultural presentations, ecumenical Christmas programs, and Nativity services.
Charity activities: The community commits itself in charity services. It supports people in need and distress and contribute towards the support of victims of natural calamities.
Youth Formation Activities: The Youth are guided in character formation, personality development and career guidance.
Children’s activities: our community takes care of children and focus on their holistic development. All the children of the church participate in all cultural events and classes are held to support their personal development under the guidance of experienced professionals.
Women’s Forum: Ladies of the church engage themselves in all the activities of the community and give leadership in the choir group. Our community gives various opportunities for the women empowerment and leadership.
Conferences: Conferences are held every year in the last week of June comprising all western region Syro Malankara Catholic churches. These conferences provide faith development trainings and cultural activities.
Retreats: Annual Retreats are arranged for the spiritual and moral growth of the parishioners.
Picnic: Church arranges picnic during summer with BBQ, games and fun activities which facilitates unity and fellowship among the members of the community.
Membership: There is a rapid growth of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Community in Edmonton. At present 120 members are active in the community and we expect a fast growth in membership if greater and attractive activities and services are rendered.
Future vision: Syro-Malankara Catholic Community in Edmonton intents itself to register as St. Mary’s Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and commits to dedicate itself for the glory of God and to the good of the community.