Clergy - Reports


I. Meeting of the Representatives of the priests of the Syro-Malabar Church

As per the direction of the Major Archbishop and the Synod to conduct a Conference of the Representatives of the Priests to facilitate healthy interaction among them on liturgy and to arrive at greater understanding on liturgical matters, the Major Archiepiscopal Commission for Clergy in collaboration with the Major Archiepiscopal Commission for Liturgy organized a conference. The selection of priests from the dioceses was in the range of 3-7, proportionate to the number of priests in the dioceses. The conference of the Priests was from 17th June 2008 Tuesday to 18th June Wednesday. His Beatitude Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, the Major Archbishop inaugurated the conference. Mar James Pazhayattil, Mar Paul Chittilapilly, Mar Joseph Powathil, Mar Mathew Moolakkatt, Mar Thomas Chakkiath, Bishop Mar Sebastian Adayantharath presided over on various sessions. Fr Pauly Manniattu and Fr Antony Nariculam presented the papers. The representatives expressed their earnest desire to have unity in the Church. 88 participants consisting 7 bishops and 81 representatives from 16 dioceses of the proper territory and 4 dioceses outside the proper territory participated in the meeting. The following are the suggestions made by them:

    1. There should be clarity in the following elements of concelebration of the Holy Qurbana: Intention; Prayers; Vestments of the Concelebrants; Concelebration with the priests of other rites; Concelebration during Marriage blessing or Betrothal.

    2. A serious and impartial study on the Holy Qurbana should be made regarding the proposed arguments on the theological inconsistencies in the liturgy, linguistic imperfections or inaccuracies, unnecessary repetitions etc. 

    3. Before revising the text of the Holy Qurbana there should be a comparative study of the liturgical texts between the traditions of the same liturgical family and also between the Anaphorae of the same tradition. In the revision of the Qurbana, make the text as simple as possible without losing the theological depth.

    4. The revision of the vestments should be taken into consideration according to the tradition of the church, culture and climate of the place.

    5. The liturgical songs should be simple as well as according to the spirit of the Liturgy. Overemphasis for musical instruments should be avoided. Fr Abel’s songs should be given as optional.

    6. Encourage mystagogical catechesis  in the Church

    7. It is to be confirmed that the official manner of celebration of the Qurbana is that formula approved in July 2001.

    8. We should have a new set of lectionary for our Church. The present set of the readings should be revised and make sure to have consistency between the readings. 

    9. Certain experimentation centres for liturgical celebrations should be constituted

    10. There should be provisions to incorporate the intentions of the people in the priestly intercessory prayer.

II. Conference of the Rectors of the Major Seminaries, Superior Generals and General Councilors for Formation of the Institutes of the Consecrated life and Rectors of the Diocesan Minor Seminaries

As per the direction of the Synod the Commission for Clergy and Institutes of the Consecrated Life had organized a conference of the Rectors of the Major Seminaries, Superior Generals and General Councilors for Formation of the Institutes of the Consecrated life and Rectors of the Diocesan Minor Seminaries. This conference was held at Mount St. Thomas on 10-11 October 2007.

The Agenda of the Conference was as follows:

  1. To discuss how to implement the Charter in the Syro-Malabar Seminaries.

  2. To discuss a common syllabus for the minor Seminary Formation

  3. other common matters

Bishop Mar James Pazhayattil welcomed the participants. His Beatitude Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, the Major Archbishop inaugurated the conference. Archbishop Joseph Powathil delivered the talk on the importance and relevance of the Charter for Priestly formation in the Syro-Malabar Church. Rev. Dr Thomas Srampical and Msgr Bosco Puthur explained the contents of the Charter for Priestly Formation. Bishop Thomas Chakiath, Fr Antony Kariyil CMI, and Fr George Madathikandathil moderated the discussions. Fr Kuriakose Puthenmanayil proposed a common syllabus for the minor seminaries. With the vote of thanks the meeting came to an end at 1PM.

Suggestions
The following are the main suggestions put forward by the participants of the meeting in the general and group discussions

  1. There should be a common syllabus for the minor seminaries of the Syro-Malabar Church. It was strongly recommended to start IV year minor seminary course in all dioceses. A committee consisting of Msgr Bosco Puthur, Fr. Antony Kariyil CMI Fr. Kuriakose Puthenmanayil, Fr. Thomas Moolayil, Fr. Paul Alappatt, Fr. Pauly Kannookadan (convener) was nominated to draft a common syllabus and present them for opinion.

  2. An orientation course to all major seminary staff members on the priestly formation in the Syro-Malabar Church on the basis of the Charter for Priestly Formation.

  3. In the major seminary formation it is strongly suggested to develop academic seriousness.

  4. 4. A conference of the diocesan and religious minor and major seminary rectors of the Syro-Malabar Church should be convoked every year.

  5. Another conference for the new formatters of the major seminaries is also recommended to convoke every year.

  6. Arrange study classes in the diocesan presbyterium on the Charter for Priestly Formation.

III. Golden and Silver Jubilee Meet

The Commission organized a get-together for the eparchial priests of the Syro-Malabar Church who celebrate the Golden and Silver Jubilee of their priestly ordination at Mount St. Thomas from 16-17 (Tuesday & Wednesday) October 2007. 11 Golden Jubilarians and 17 Silver Jubilarians participated in the meeting. The Gathering was intended :

  1. To thank God with the Major Archbishop for the abundant graces given through them for the Church.

  2. to share the pastoral and missionary experience of the Jubilarians for the building up of the Church.

  3. to appreciate the pastoral ministry of the Jubilarians.

  4. to revitalize them in their future priestly ministry.

  5. to foster unity in the Church

Mar James Pazhayattil, Chairman of the Clergy Commission, inaugurated the Jubilee Get-together. Msgr Bosco Puthur took a class for the Jubilarians on the Priestly Life and its present challenges. There followed self-introduction by the participants and the explanation of the general dynamics of the get-together. After supper at 8.00 p.m. and night prayers, there was a session of Sharing Pastoral Experience. On Wednesday 17th November after morning prayers and breakfast there was a session of sharing of Pastoral Experience moderated by Bp Mar Thomas Chakiath. After the coffee break, there was the Solemn Jubilee Eucharistic concelebration presided over by the Major Archbishop. During the homily the Major Archbishop stressed the importance of witness in the priestly life as well as the necessity to foster unity in the Church. There followed a group photo with the Major Archbishop. After dinner the participants gathered in the Conference hall and interacted with the Major Archbishop on recent challenges in the Christian Life. They made an evaluation of the get-together, in which without exception all the participants expressed their happiness about the get-together of both golden and silver Jubilarians. The care and concern they received here at Mount St. Thomas made them aware of the care and concern of the Church towards them. They unanimously proposed that such gatherings will foster unity in the Church.

IV. New Priests’ Meet

The New Priests’ Meet conducted on Wednesday, 23rd January, 2008 at Mount St. Thomas aimed to foster unity in the Church as well as to introduce them to the pastoral and missionary ministry of the Syro Malabar Church. 120 newly ordained priests participated in the meeting from 11 dioceses (Thamarasserry, Irinjalakuda, Palakad, Ernakulam, Idukki, Kanjirapilly, Thalasserry. Kalyan, Ujjain, Palai, Kothamangalam) and 8 religious congregations (MCBS, CMI, CMF, CST, MST, La Salette, OFM Cap, SJ).

The Meet started with a prayer led by Sr Nirmala SH, Elsa SH, Ancin SH and Sr Linda SH. Bishop Mar James Pazhayattil welcomed the new priests. His Beatitude Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, the Major Archbishop inaugurated the meet lightening the Lamp with Mar James Pazhayattil, Fr Mathew Elapannickal, Fr Antony Kollannur, Sr Teresitta SH, Fr Joseph Powathil Idukki, Fr Mathew Chellamkottu Thalasserry, Fr Liju Vargheses OFM.Cap, Fr George Madalkunnel CMI and Fr Pauly Kannookadan. The Major Archbishop then gave an orientation talk. Fr Antony Kollannur, the Chancellor of the Major Archiepiscopal Curia congratulated the New Priests. Fr Pauly Kannookadan the secretary of the commission thanked the Major Archbishop and the New Priests. At 11.30 the new priests under the leadership of Cardinal celebrated the Holy Qurbana. Fr Robin Vattathara Kanjirapilly, Fr James Ponkattil, Fr Kurian Areeplackal MST, Fr Sharlo Ezhanikkatt CST were with the Cardinal at the sanctuary for the Holy Qurbana. Bishop Mar James Pazhayattil gave the homily. After group photo there was the dinner. The Bishop candidate of Muvattupuzha Malankara Diocese Fr Abraham Kakkanatt also joined with them in the refectory.

In the concluding meeting the Major Archbishop gave them gifts and wished them successful pastoral ministry. Fr Shinto from Thalasserry as representative of the new priests expressed vote of thanks. They were very much impressed by the gathering under the presidency of the Major Archbishop and Episcopal members of the Commission. The New priests expressed their feeling in the evaluation of the meeting that this helped them to be more aware of their belongingness to the one and same Church in spite of their particular dioceses or religious congregations, differences in their formation in various seminaries, difference in their pastoral and missionary activities, which they have now undertaken.

V. Survey on the Ministry and Life of the Priests of the Syro – Malabar Church Today

Purpose of the Survey
To know the present situation of the ministry and life of the Diocesan priests of the Syro-Malabar Church

To get feed back to prepare the Directory of the Syro – Malabar Church on the Ministry and life of the priests.

To empower the Priests in their ministry and to enrich them spiritually on the basis of the result of the survey.

The procedure of the survey

As suggested in the Synod held in November 1999 and July 2002, the Commission was taking steps to prepare a definitive text of the Directory on the Ministry and life of Priests. The first draft of the Directory had been sent for discussion among the Eparchial Clergy in April 2000. In the first meeting of the reconstituted Commission at Mount St. Thomas on Friday, 26th August 2004 it was decided to reformulate the draft of the Directory considering the suggestions received from the Eparchies as per the direction of the Synod. The Commission constituted a committee to redraft the directory. In preparation to reformulate the Directory it was decided to conduct a survey under the Guidance of Rev. Dr Paul Parathazam, Pune.

a. Resource persons of the Survey

The same committee of the directory was constituted as resource persons to conduct the survey. The members of the committee are

1. Bishop Mar James Pazhayattil (Chairman)

2. Bishop Mar Thomas Chakiath

3. Bishop Mar Lawrance Mukkuzhy

4. Rev. Dr Paul Parathazham, Pune

5. Msgr Raphael Thattil, Rector Mary Matha Seminary Thrissur (convener)

6. Rev. Dr Thomas Srampical, Kottayam Seminary,

7. Rev. Dr George Madathikandom, Rector, Kottayam Seminary,

8. Msgr Mathew Vellanickal, Syncellus Changanacherry,

9. Msgr Bosco Puthur, Rector Seminary, Aluva

10. Rev. Dr Antony Nariculam, Seminary Aluva

11. Rev. Msgr Philip Njaralakatt, Syncellus Palai

12. Rev. Dr George Oliapuram, Kothamangalam

13. Rev. Msgr George Njaralakatt, Syncellus, Manathavady

14. Rev. Msgr Joseph Karianattu, Synchellus, Thalasserry

15. Rev. Fr Geo Pulickal, Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kunnoth

16. Rev. Fr. Sebastian Panjikaran, Rector, Minor Semianry Irinjalakuda

17. Fr Pauly Kannookadan (Secretary)

b. Preparation of the Questionnaire

The resource persons selected the areas of the questionnaire on the Ministry and Life of the Priests namely the identity, spirituality, ministry and ongoing formation of the diocesan priests. The questionnaire prepared in collaboration with Fr Paul Parathazham and in consultation with various spheres of the people was sent to all Bishops, Committee members and some of the selected experts and was presented in the XIII Synodal Session (August 2005) and XIV Synodal Session (January 2006). The committee met on 27th April 2006 incorporated the observations of the Synodal fathers and resource persons. The modified version was finalized by the Commission on 30th May 2006 at Mount St. Thomas. A project was sent to the CNEWA for financial help to conduct the survey and it was partially sanctioned. The survey was started in June 2007.

c. Circulation of the Questionnaire

The questionnaires were circulated among the following selected ones:

A. Diocesan Priests
The questionnaires were sent to all the diocesan priests of 26 dioceses of the Syro-Malabar Church in India.

Total Number of questionnaires sent to the Priests 3781
Total Number of questionnaires returned from the Priests 1445

Percentage 38.2 %


B. Religious Priests, Sisters, Brothers and Deacons of the Diocesan Syro-Malabar Major Seminaries in Kerala

The questionnaire were sent to all the Major superiors, Councilors, one member each from all the houses of the Institutes of the consecrated life of the Syro-Malabar Church and Deacons of the of the Diocesan Syro-Malabar Major Seminaries in Kerala.

Total Number of questionnaires sent to the above mentioned category 4040
Total Number of questionnaires returned from above mentioned Category 2286

Percentage 56.58%

 

C. Lay Faithful

150 questionnaires were sent to all the 13 dioceses of the Proper territory of the Syro-Malabar Church. Each diocese had selected one family unit each from 3 parishes of different nature namely one from the city, another from village and another from a middle class. 50 Copies were sent to the dioceses of Kalyan, Thucklay, Belthangady and Badravathy. 30 Copies were sent to the mission dioceses. Later, copies were sent to the Pastoral Council lay members of the dioceses of Changanacherry, Kothamangalam, Irinjalakuda, Trichur and Thalacherry.

Total Number of questionnaires sent to the above mentioned category 3280
Total Number of questionnaires returned from above mentioned Category 1090

Percentage 33.23%
 

Total Number

Total Number of questionnaires sent to the Priests 3781  
Total Number of questionnaires returned from the Priests   1445
Total Number of questionnaires sent to Religious 4040  
Total Number of questionnaires returned from Religious   2284
Total Number of questionnaires sent to Laity 3280  
Total Number of questionnaires returned from Laity   1023
Total 11101 4752

Percentage 42.80%

d. Scientific way of sorting the questionnaire

Sr Nirmala SH and Amala SH made data entry of the returned questionnaire. Fr Paul Parathazham presented the interim report of the survey in the 2008 Synodal Session on 20th August 2008.

e. Publication of the Directory

The results will be made use to finalize the directory on the Ministry and Life of the priests.

VI. A common syllabus for the minor seminaries of the Syro-Malabar Church

A meeting of the committee for a common syllabus for the minor seminaries of the Syro Malabar Church was held at Mount St. Thomas on 23 July 2008, in which all following members of the committee were present. Msgr Bosco Puthur , Fr. Antony Kariyil CMI, Fr. Kuriakose Puthenmanayil, Fr. Thomas Moolayil, Fr. Paul Alappatt, Fr. Bosco Puthur, Fr. Pauly Kannookadan. The committee proposed a common syllabus and to send the draft to the Rectors of the Minor Seminaries for their comments, corrections and suggestions.

VIII. Finance

We remember with deep gratitude and appreciation for the financial help the Commission for the Clergy and Institutes of Consecrated Life had received from CNEWA for the various programmes of the Commission. May I place on record our gratitude to the Director and to Mr. Thomas Varghese, the Regional Director and to all co – workers and to all benefactors of CNEWA.

IX. A Word of Thanks

The Commission has been striving in a modest way to create an atmosphere of unity in the Syro-Malabar Church especially among the Priests. Through its programs, the commission has been able prepare a venue for priests and religious to come together and deliberate about the challenges of our ministry in an atmosphere of fraternal cordiality and pastoral serenity. The Chairman and members of the Commission with the secretariat take this opportunity to place on record our gratitude to the Major Archbishop, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, to all the members of the Synod of Bishops and to all the members of the Curia and the whole staff at Mount St. Thomas for their love and concern towards the activities of the Commission for Liturgy. Our sincere thanks go to the office staff of the commission Sr. Nirmala SH. With deep gratitude to all, especially priests, sisters and staff of Mount St. Thomas who helped us in our different activities, the Commission presents this report.

Fr Pauly Kannookadan
Secretary

Mar James Pazhayattil
Chairman

 

 

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