Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram M. Susaipakiam will consecrate the cupola on Sunday.The day also marks the conclusion of the year-long platinum jubilee celebrations of the Latin Archdiocese.

The Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram is constructing a cupola, a dome-like ornate structure, at Shanghumughom in memory of Pope John Paul II. The late Pope had made a high-profile visit to the city in February 1986.

Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram M. Susaipakiam will consecrate the structure on Sunday. The day also marks the conclusion of the year-long platinum jubilee celebrations of the Latin Archdiocese.

The celebrations have brought a renewed message of hope and peace to the laity. The diocese reviewed its 75-year-long service to society. It identified the areas where it needed to intervene more robustly.

The diocese has finalised a series of programme to bring temporal and spiritual solace to the faithful, who will have an increasing regional say in the matters of the church.

The diocese plans to focus its efforts on the betterment of fish, coir and agriculture sector workers. Its main thrust will be empowerment of women, distributing financial aid to brides from poor families, and providing housing for economically backward and marginalised sections of society.

The Latin Archdiocese marked its historical presence in Kerala in 1320. The efforts of its missionaries to alleviate poverty, eradicate illiteracy, and provide rudimentary health care and education to the poor was felt in Mamballi and Valiathura areas as early as the 12t century.

In 1842, Francis Xavier, the missionary who made landfall in Goa the same year, had extended his missionary and charitable work to the coastal localities of South Kerala, particularly erstwhile Travancore.

Fish workers, under the leadership of Francis Xavier, had fought off several threats, including that from marauding mercenaries, pirates, and foreign colonial powers, to the small kingdom of Travancore. The king of Travancore thanked Francis Xavier by according him the title of Valia Pathiri, Chief Priest, and accorded him land and other infrastructure necessary for his charitable and humanitarian work among the masses.

Carmelite Missionaries soon followed in the footsteps of St. Francis Xavier. They extended their missionary work to Central Travancore, bringing spiritual solace and material support to the downtrodden.

The Thiruvananthapuram diocese came into existence on July 1, 1937. The diocese had played a crucial historical role in the Independence struggle and the later “liberation struggle” against the Communist government headed by the then Chief Minister E.M.S. Namboodiripad.

The diocese also contributed the Magdalana Church at Pallithura and the adjoining quarters of the local vicar to Vikram Sarabhai in 1962 to start the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, a premier Union government institution in the country.

The then Archbishop Bernard Pereira is credited with the far-sightedness that led to the creation of the famed centre.

The jubilee celebrations of the diocese remind society about the contributions made by the institution to the country and its people.

Cardinal Oswald Gracious will lead the prayers and rites that will mark the conclusion of the celebrations.

The public function will begin at Shanghumughom at 3 p.m. on July 1. The main venue has been named John Paul II Nagar. Archbishop Susaipakiam will lead the event. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, KCBC president Mar Andrews Thazhathu, Varapuzha Metropolitan Archbishop Francis Kallarackal, Neyyattinkara Bishop Vincent Samuel, Punaloor Bishop Silvester Ponnumuthan, Kollam Bishop Stanley Roman, Kochi Bishop Joseph Kariyil, Union Minister of State for Food K.V. Thomas, retired bureaucrat Lida Jacob, Fr. James Kulas, Fr. George Paul, and Francis Sunny will be present.