A synopsis of St. Mary’s Syro Malabar Parish Melbourne West
The title “Syro Malabar Christian or St. Thomas Christian” is an appellative of those Christians who had their origin as a result of the apostolate of St. Thomas the apostle, who tradition says, came to India, precisely in Kerala at Kodungallur in the year 52 A. D. There existed from time immemorial a body of Christians on the Malabar coast claiming descent from those converted by St. Thomas the apostle. The truth of this tradition is tenaciously upheld by all the Syrian Christians in Kerala.
It is quite undeniable that Keralians are hardworking, adventurous, ambitious and passionate. Hence, fascinated by the beautiful and bountiful continent Australia, the early immigrants from Syro Malabar Church, moved to the vast and serene oasis of Melbourne before two and a half decades. And these pioneering families kept intact their spiritual heritage and patrimony by actively and regularly attending the available spiritual nourishment services in English around the parishes of Werribee, Hoopers Crossing and Laverton. Gradually, lot of Syro Malabar families reached to new suburbs of Point Cook and Tarneit.
When a substantial number of families reached, the community pondered to become organized and get the Holy Mass in Malayalam. In December of 2011, our predecessors could organize the first Malayalam Syro Malabar Mass at Queen of Peace Church, Altona Meadows. Furthermore, catechesis to children had been started in the early months of 2013 as well. Eventually, the catechesis and Malayalam Mass had been scheduled on second Sunday of every month.
Hence, the services were moved to St. Peter’s Apostle church, Hoopers Crossing due to the better availability on every second and fourth Sundays. And in 2015 the services were shifted to St. Martin de Pores Church Laverton were we secured more services on special occasions like Christmas and Holy Week.
During this spiritual roving, our community had been blessed by the dedicated spiritual leadership of pastors namely, Fr. Peter Kavumpuram, Fr. Pious Kodakathanathu, Fr. Manoj Kannamthadathil, Fr. Francis Kolencherry and Fr. Mathew Kochupurackal. The year 2017 has become a landmark as our community had been elevated to the status of a parish named after St. Mary with a full time parish priest Fr. Abraham Nadukunnel. Then onwards, Sunday mass and catechesis became regular on every Sunday. Due to constrains of time and place liturgical services and catechesis are organized at Ardeer and Laverton though both communities together form the single parish.
As a further propitious development, the parish had purchased four acres of land with a view to the construction of the parish church and parish hall for faith formation which is an amazing indication of community’s creativity, resourcefulness and unity. And the parishioners are dreaming a beautiful Syro Malabar church of their own under the patroness of Blessed virgin Mary for the upcoming generations which is the best gift they can offer to their children living in an ambience of the principalities of acute materialism. Avowed with such an ever encouraging dream, funding is progressing with relentless support and magnanimous sharing of the parishioners.
Fr. Abraham Kazhunnadiyil