THE SYRO-MALANKARA CATHOLIC CHURCH
MAJOR ARCHIEPISCOPAL CURIA
CATHOLICATE CENTRE, TRIVANDRUM- 695 004, KERALA INDIA
SYNODAL COMMISSION FOR THE LAITY
Chairmam: His Excellency Most Rev. Joshua Mar Ignathios
Secretary: Prof. Dr. Thomaskutty Panachickal
Panachickal 303, Sharon Garden, Kottamukal, Nalanchira, Trivandrum - 695 015, Mob: 9447929541
01) Mr. P. Paul Raj, Kudayalvilai House, Fathima Nagar PO., Kollamgode Via, K. K. Dist., Tamil Nadu - 629 160; Ph: 04651 241056, Mob: 09443682046
02) Mr. Shaji, Thelappurathu House, Thiruvandoor P.O., Thiruvalla; Ph: 0479 2427786, Mob: 9447596386
03) Mrs. Marykutty Abraham, Thekkedom House, Greenvilla, Mundukottakkal.P.O., Mylapra, Pathannamthitia – 689649; Ph: 0468 2222640, Mob: 8089170370
04) Mrs. Annamma Ponnachan, Kadakampallil Veedu, Kadampanadu North PO., Pathanamthitta; Ph. 9446913268
05) Prof. Dr. Abraham Joseph, 7/21-1, NLRA 5A, Neerazhi Lane, Ulloor, TVM 695 011; Mob: 9388938861
06) Prof. Dr. T. Varghese, Thekkekara, Post Office Lane, Nalanchira P.O., TVM 695 015; Mob: 9446175663
07) Prof. Jacob M Abraham, Mundaplackal, Kunnathanam P.O., Tiruvalla 689 581; Mob: 9447420890
08) Prof. Cheriyan Panicker, Panickerveettil Saubhagya Lane, Near Kurissadi Jn, Nalanchira PO., TVM 695105; Mob: 9447258046
09) Mr. Y. Raju, Mukaluvilayile House, Nithinvilla, Vayalikada, Kowdiar P.O., Thiruvananthapuram - 695 003; Mob: 9447439879
10) Mr. N. M. Thomas, Nacheriyil House, Pulpally PO., Wayanad Dt.; Ph: 04936 242155, Mob: 9446175993; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
11) Mrs. V. S. Thressiyamma, Pezhummoottil House, House No. 106, Mosque Lane, Kesavadaspuram, Pattom PO., TVM- 695 004
12) Adv. Jojo K Abraham, Kizhakeveedu, Kallumkadavu, Pathanapuram 689 695; Mob: 9447051321
13) Adv. Johnson Abraham, Puthenparambil, Bharanicavu P.O, 690 503, Kattanam, Mavelikara; Mob: 9447132221
14) Mr. Edison, Ananda Sadanam, 33/1126 H, Manpurackal Road, Vennala P.O., Kochi 28; Mob: 9495963922, 9447763922
15) Mr Thomas Cherian, Thottumukkath House, Nalanchira, Trivandrum; Mob: 9387019018
16) Mr P. K. Joseph, Melekutte House, Nanuvakadu, Pathanamthitta-689 645; Mob 9946463662
THE REPORT OF THE FIRST MEETING OF THE SYNODAL COMMISSION FOR THE LAITY
The first meeting of the Synodal Commission for the Laity was held on 3 March 2006 at the Catholicate Centre, Pattom, Trivandrum. The following members were present:
Adv. Abraham Pattiyani, Delhi
Mrs. Sara Mani Kuriakose, Bombay
Mr. V P Thomas Vettikattil, Sultan Bathery
Mr. J Christhudas, Nedumangadu
Mr. Kripakaran, Thiruvananthapuram
Mr. Monson K Mathew, Adoor
Mr. Varghese Karippayil, Tiruvalla
Mr. Philip Ninan, Nilambur
Mr. Lawrence K Paul, Kunnamkulam
Mr. Paul Raj, Marthandam
Mr. Thomas John Thevarathu, President MCA
Mr. K O Thomas, Representative, Vincent de Paul
Mr. V Yesuraj, Representative, Legion
Fr. Ignatius Thangalathil, Diocesean Director, MCA – Tiruvalla, participated in the meeting from among the five eparchial directors of the MCA, who were specially invited.
Mr. Georgekutty from the US could not turn up for the meeting. Adv Johnson Abraham informed his inability to attend the meeting due to the KPCC meeting under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi scheduled on the same day in Ernakulam.
Most Rev. Geevarghese Mar Divannasios, the Chairman of the Commission presided over the meeting. He welcomed the commission members and spoke about the importance of the commission in planning out programmes for the lay ministry in the Church. He invited the attention of the commission members on the growing importance of Laity in the Church. He stressed that the Church of tomorrow depends on the commitment of the Laity of today. Being aware of this reality he asked the laity to be inspired in giving good leadership to our Church, as they did in the past. In particular, he brought forth the importance of lay leadership among the Saint Thomas Christians. He also recalled the Reunion Movement and its growth under the leadership of the laity.
Fr. Antony Valiyavilayil, Chancellor of the Major Archiepiscopal Curia, spoke on the role of the Synodal Commissions in the general administration of our Church. He elucidated it comparing the Major Archiepiscopal Curia to the Roman Curia and the Synodal Commissions to the Pontifical Councils of the Roman Curia. The commission is the competent authority to work with the Chairman and the Holy Synod of the Malankara Catholic Church to promote Christian mission with the help of the laity. Hence:
• it promotes and co-ordinates the apostolate of the laity and their Christian life.
• it urges and supports lay people to participate in the life and mission of the Malankara Catholic Church in their own way, as individuals and in associations, especially in their special responsibility of assisting in filling in the realm of temporal things with the spirit of the Gospel.
• it fosters joint action among laypeople in catechetical instruction, in liturgical and sacramental life as well as in works of mercy, charity, and social development.
• it protects and promotes lay associations of the Christian faithful.
• it assists the Major Archbishop-Catholicos in the approval and erection of the associations of the Christian faithful with the study of their statutes for recognition.
• it can erect institutes to conduct training programmes for the laity with the approval of the Major Archbishop-Catholicos.
Fr. Mathai Kadavil OIC, Synodal secretary for the laity commission, briefed the members about the meetings of Vincent de Paul and Legion of Mary held on 2 December 2005 and the Directors Meet of MCA and other laity organizations on 3 March 2006. He informed the commission members that necessary arrangements are made for the effective organization of the Vincent de Paul and Legion of Mary in all the Eparchies. Directors meet also shall be conducted in all the Eparchies.
This was followed with a sharing session. Some of the major concerns expressed in the meeting include:
1. Ecclesial Life: The MCA and other laity organizations should take the ecclesial life seriously. The sacramental and liturgical life should be always held in high esteem and all our activities should flow from it. The members of the lay organizations should work with other members of the parish to bear witness to Jesus in the region.
2. Ecumenism and Reunion: The mission of the Malankara Catholic Church to work for the reunion of all our separated brethren and the mission to promote unity between Churches must receive an important place in the activities of our laity organizations.
3. Research Wing: The human society is fast changing. It is our task to introduce our Christian faith to the changing situations. For a better articulation of Christian faith in the changing situation, one should closely watch and analyze even the minute changes in the society. Considering the importance of religion in politics in our society, we should cautiously guard against all kinds of discrimination existing in our society. In particular, it was observed, determinate action plan has to be drawn up to redress the injustice towards the Nadar Malankara community, to which minority rights are denied. This injustice is all the more obvious when we see that the Nadar Christians belonging to other Christian denominations like the CSI and Latin Catholic Church are beneficiaries of these rights. The same is noticed in the case of politically motivated appointments to government jobs. In order to resist such situations, it is suggested that we should systematically make all efforts to study any discrimination against the people of our community. It is also suggested that we should possibly look into the areas where we need political action.
4. Education: Our laity should take special interest in the better education of our children. In line with the CBCI (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India) decision of 2006, we should make sure that all our children receive at least a higher secondary education. The innovative possibilities in the field of education and different areas of job opportunities shall be explored and made available to our people.
5. Human Resources: Our community is known through our members. Influential people in all walks of life are our asset. We should be conscious of this and should leave no stone unturned in our effort to promote our people in the different areas of scientific, social and political activities.
6. Extravagance: Our people are to be educated to avoid extravagance in their personal life and also in ecclesial life. Today many people spend a lot of money for false prestige and celebrations. Such pomp and show leads many to poverty. It is seen not only in personal life, but also in the ecclesial life. At times even the celebrations in the Church give wrong witness to the people. The extravagances in our celebrations are to be controlled. The money saved shall be used for the development of our community and society.
7. Economic Well Being: Poverty still persists in our community. There are people in our community who are still struggling for proper food, clothing, treatment and shelter. The minimum economic well being of the members of our community should be ensured through different activities of the lay organizations. Besides through possible services of the social service departments and the financial assistance through Vincent de Paul Society, the community should find means to support all our people in need.
8. Health Care and concern for the Aged: The issue of good health, concern for the aged, etc., should be attended to with care. Alienation and feeling of loneliness are on the increase. We have to be concerned about building up solidarity among people.
The following proposals for action were accepted in the commission meeting:
1. The next commission meeting shall be held on July 15, 2006 at Pattom.
2. A core group is elected to help the Chairman and secretary in the functioning of the Commission. Mr. K.O. Thomas, Monson K. Mathew and Philip Ninan are its members. Mr. V. P. Thomas who is entrusted with the responsibility of the office will be an ex-officio member of the group.
3. The core group is asked to prepare a guideline for the smooth functioning of the Commission. It is to be finalized in consultation with the other commissions and will be subjected for the final decision to the Holy Synod.
4. It is proposed to prepare a draft on the rights and duties of the laity in accordance with the teachings of the Church and the customs of the Malankara Catholic Church.
5. It is suggested that the commission members should study the teachings of the Church on the lay ministry. They should also pay attention to the policies taken in the regional Bishop’s Councils like FABC, CBCI, KCBC on the lay apostolate. Fr. Mathai Kadavil OIC and Mrs. Sara Mani Kuriakose agreed to gather the relevant documents and make them available to the members.
6. As per the decision of the Holy Synod Fr. Antony Valiyavilayil OIC, the Chancellor requested the commission members to take care to establish the Eparchial Commission for the Laity in all Eparchies. The commission agreed on taking necessary steps towards the realization of the proposal.
7. Since electioneering is in progress to elect representatives to the State Assembly, it was suggested that the Commission should humbly request the Holy Synod to make an appeal to the political leadership in Kerala to propose concrete steps to tackle the discrimination against the Malankara Nadar Christians.
The meeting was concluded at 8.00 p.m. with prayer.
Fr. Mathai Kadavil OIC