Moozhikkulam church issue continues to linger

Apostolic administrator asks archdiocesan syncellus to make sure that Father Antony Puthavelil takes charge as vicar of Moozhikulam parish

April 01, 2023 07:07 pm | Updated 07:07 pm IST - KOCHI

Mar Andrews Thazhath, apostolic administrator of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese of the Syro Malabar Church, has asked archdiocesan syncellus Msgr. Antony Perumayan to make sure that Father Antony Puthavelil takes charge as vicar of the Moozhikulam parish and is allowed to discharge his duties.

Father Puthavelil, administrator of the St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica here, was appointed vicar of the Moozhikulam parish as part of the general transfer of priests in March. But a large group of parishioners opposed to Father Puthavelil’s appointment prevented him from taking charge when he arrived at the parish on March 11.

“This action is against the laws and discipline of the Church,” said Archbishop Thazhath in his letter to Msgr. Perumayan, who as syncellus is a close assistant of the metropolitan or the bishop in the eastern Church. The Archbishop asked him to make arrangements and issue instructions to allow the new vicar to take charge. Though the syncellus has been allowed to offer Mass at the Moozhikulam parish during the Holy Week, he has been asked to make sure from then on that only Father Puthavelil or the one authorised by him celebrated Mass at the parish.

Moozhikkulam parishioners see Father Puthavelil’s appointment as an attempt to impose the unified or 50:50 Mass favoured by the Synod on them even as they favour the Mass in which the priest faced the congregation for the entire duration of the Mass.

Meanwhile, the group stridently opposed to the Synodal Mass has said the basilica parishioners will hold the Palm Sunday ceremonies, including the Mass, on April 2 at Sacred Heart Church, Vaduthala. This is in view of the basilica remaining closed for more than hundred days now.

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