Kerala

Alencherry calls for unity and peace within church

Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar church, called for prayers for unity and peace within the church, as a unified system of celebration of the Mass was inaugurated on Sunday according to a decision by the synod of bishops in August this year.

Leading the Sunday Mass at St. Thomas Mount in Kakkanad, headquarters of the Syro-Malabar Church, Cardinal Alencherry said the church desired total unity and peace and said God would not abandon his people and the faithful have to wait with hope and prayers. There was no need for fear as voices differ, he said during the Sunday homily.

The way the Mass is celebrated in the Syro-Malabar Church has come under focus since August this year with the synod of bishops deciding to impose a unified system in which the celebrant faced the congregation during the first half of the Mass and faced away from the congregation during most of the rest of the Mass.

In keeping with the synodal decision for unified Mass, the Cardinal and the co-celebrants faced the congregation during the first half of the Mass on Sunday and turned away from the congregation after the recital of the Credo, before the consecration.

While the unified Mass system was inaugurated, almost all the 431 parishes and around 90 religious houses in the Ernakulam-Angamaly Major Archdiocese celebrated the Mass with the celebrant facing the congregation throughout the Mass after the Congregation for Oriental Churches in Rome intervened to maintain status quo in the celebration of the Mass. It is learnt that only one of the parishes in the archdiocese celebrated the Mass on Sunday under the unified system.

A letter from the congregation addressed to Archbishop Antony Kariyil, Metropolitan Vicar of the Archdiocese, said as Metropolitan Vicar, the archbishop could dispense with any decision to have a unified Mass system. The other dioceses too, it is learnt, had been issued sanction to continue with the status quo in keeping with their practices.

Cardinal George Alencherry had said on Saturday that he had not received any communication from Rome regarding exemption being provided to the synodal decision and he expected all dioceses to implement the synodal decision on unified Mass celebration.

The synodal decision has been a cause for unrest among the priests, religious and lay people in the dioceses where the Mass is now celebrated with the celebrant facing the congregation throughout the ceremony.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 1:59:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/alencherry-calls-for-unity-and-peace-within-church/article37737044.ece

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