Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
I am very happy to welcome a new ‘holy man’ in our midst. He is Father Antony (no ‘h’) Vayalikarottu. Father Antony is the vicar of St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Church of South Florida.

Their web page tells us that, “St. Mary’s is part of the Syro-Malankara Major Archiepiscopal Church. The Church is in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. The Mission is started by the faithful catholic Malankarites from Kerala, India....”

frantonyThe page continues, “Our Church is built on the principles and teaching of the Universal Catholic Church, carrying forward the vision of the Malankara Catholic Church reunion movement started by the Servant of God, late Archbishop G. Mar Ivanios. Our Church’s roots have stretched to the four corners of the earth because of the prayers and leadership of many... That growth continues in North America.”

“The members of this small Church take pride in keeping and practicing our Malankara Catholic faith, teaching the traditions of Kerala passed on by our beloved late ones and strive to keep the feeling of a small family in our community.”

St. Sebastian will now have the honor of being able to host the community which had been gathering at Villa Maria in North Miami.

We are working out the schedules, etc., but right now the community is small enough so that they will be able to meet on Sundays in our chapel after the conclusion of our religious education program.

Father Antony is someone I think you will enjoy getting to know. He has just taken on the role of chaplain at Holy Cross Hospital. He is completing a rigorous chaplaincy course at Jackson Memorial in Miami. Throw in pastoring St. Mary’s and he’s got a plateful. The web page notes, “Fr. Antony always advises us; ‘It’s not the quantity of members, but the moral quality of each.’”

I didn’t quite know why I was heeding the suggestions of a couple of the guys to spruce up our house next to the rectory, but now I know. Sounds like they might have better connections to the Holy Spirit than I do... at least at times. Father Antony will be living in the apartment that accommodated Father Bill Mylchreest, and more recently Fathers Stephen, Jemy and Jos. The latter are members of the Syro-Malabar rite. So, how’s that for variety? Recall that some of us joined the people of St. Jude’s community to celebrate their move into their own permanent church a couple of years ago. Imagine us old-timers giving birth to new communities!

As Roman rite Catholics, we don’t know very much about other rites in the Church that are just as “catholic” as we are. Those rites reflect cultures and traditions that bring us an appreciation of just what universal really means. The traditions that lie behind Fr. Antony’s community ultimately go back to the tradition that St. Thomas the Apostle brought Christi-anity to India.

So today you’ve got two branches of India’s Catholic tradition: the Syro-Malabar, and the Syro-Malankara.

Welcome Father Antony! May the tiny communi¬ty of St. Mary explode among us with the gift of God’s love and generosity shaped by the gentleness
of India.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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