Tension high as India’s Syro-Malabar Church implements new mode of celebrating Mass

Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Oriental Catholic Church, said God would not abandon his people

Tension was reportedly high in several Syro-Malabar parishes in India as the new mode of celebrating Mass was implemented on Sunday, November 28.

Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Oriental Catholic Church, called for prayers for unity and peace.

The cardinal, who led Sunday Mass at St. Thomas Mount in Kakkanad, said God would not abandon his people and the faithful have to wait with hope and prayers.

Matters India quoted the prelate saying that there was no need for fear as voices differ.

The cardinal is archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly where almost all 431 parishes and about 90 religious houses celebrated Mass with the celebrant facing the congregation throughout.

Matters India reported that a letter from the Congregation for Oriental Churches in Rome addressed to Archbishop Antony Kariyil, metropolitan vicar of the archdiocese, said the vicar could dispense with the unified Mass system.

The other dioceses were reportedly issued sanctions to continue with the status quo in keeping with their practices.

Only one parish in the archdiocese reportedly celebrated the Mass under the unified system.

Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara of Faridabad, meanwhile, told Matters India that dispute existed among his people regarding the implementation of the new mode of liturgy.

The diocese has some 40 parishes in the national capital.

“Space constraint is a major problem we face to follow the new mode of Mass,” said the archbishop.

“Most of our Mass centers are in residential areas and have practical difficulty to have two sections at the altar,” he said.

The archbishop said three parishes did not allow priests to celebrate Mass facing the people, another three forced the priests to offer Mass in the new mode – facing the people in the beginning and at the end of the Mass, and facing the altar during its most significant part.

Read the full story on Matters India

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