Holy Mass being celebrated at Kakkanad St Mount Thomas Church in the new mode
Kochi : Kerala-based Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Cardinal Mar George Alenchery started the implementation of uniform Mass, the top procedure of worship in the Christian world, from Sunday. He started it at the Mount St Thomas Church under the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese.
For several decades, dioceses under the Syro-Malabar Church have been following different modes of offering Mass. While a section of priests offer Mass facing the people, another does so facing the altar. In certain other dioceses, the Church follows a mix of both. As per the uniform mode of offering Mass, priests and bishops across the Church in all dioceses have to perform the ritual facing the altar throughout the service.
After the decision to implement it, a section of priests conducted a prayer meet at the headquarters of the Syro-Malabar Church in Kakkanad. This happened earlier this month. More than 200 priests from various dioceses including Palakkad, Irinjalakuda, Thrissur and Thamarassery also held a protest march to the headquarters as part of this.
Also, the weekly published by the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese names, 'Sathyadeepam' criticised the decision. It termed the decision as 'unilateral' in its editorial. Almaya Munnetam, a laity organisation of the Syro-Malabar Church, was also against the decision to implement it.
In September this year, parishioners at Holy Family Parish Church at Prasannapuram, near Aluva, prevented the reading of a pastoral letter from Cardinal Mar George Alenchery and burnt copies of the letter.
A decision by the synod of bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church early this year had issued instructions to all dioceses and archdioceses to implement the uniform Mass code from November 28.
In July this year, Pope Francis approved the uniform mode of offering Mass and directed the Kerala Catholic Church to implement it at the earliest. On this, several bishops, priests came against this uniform method of offering mass earlier.
Cardinal Mar George Alenchery said, "A new era was born in the Syro-Malabar Church. It is God's will that there be unity and peace in the church. After years of waiting and patience, India finally gained independence. If we need to wait for perfect unity, we must do it. There is no need to be afraid of dissenting voices. Let no one think that they are greater than God."
Meanwhile, Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, Irinjalakuda diocese and Faridabad diocese continued the exisiting form of people facing mode of Holy Mass celebration. However, in some churches under these archdioceses, the new mode have been imbibed.