New St Alphonsa parish building blessed
Archbishop Christopher Prowse issued two challenges to St Alphonsa’s parish when he blessed their new Symonston building alongside Monsignor Francis Kolencherry, Vicar General of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas, Melbourne, on Saturday.
One was to make sure that they continue to remain part of the broader Catholic community, and the other that they continue to retain and celebrate their unique culture and practices.
“Two extremes are to be avoided,” he said.
“The first extreme to be avoided is that you are going to withdraw and come here to this place and form a little Syro-Malabar group, separate from the rest of the Archdiocese. But that won’t happen because it’s in your DNA to be part of something bigger than just the present.
“And the other extreme to be avoided is to float about a bit like milk in the sea and blend in with everybody else, losing your identity.”
The building was secured by the St Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Parish recently after a herculean fund-raising effort coupled with focused prayer vigils, with support from the Catholic Development Fund.
Archbishop Prowse said that it was a remarkable development that they had come so far in just 12 years, now with over 400 families.
He reassured the parishioners that the entire Archdiocese are standing beside them and offering their support as they worry about family and loved ones affected by flooding back in Kerala in India.
One of those affected by flooding was Bishop Bosco Puthur, Eparch of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas, who Archbishop Prowse said was marooned on an island at the time of the blessing.
The parishioners of St Alphonsa exist within two overlapping structures. They are simultaneously part of the Archdiocese of Canberra Goulburn as well as the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle, Melbourne.
Archbishop Prowse emphasised that the members of St Alphonsa’s parish should be proud of both of their continued growth and the achievement of securing these premises, and of their heritage and culture.
“Never let anybody put you down, Archbishop Prowse said.
“Even in the last week in parliament, there were people putting migrant people down.
“We are migrant people, all of us, we are pilgrims on the journey.”
“Migrant people are not a burden, you are the joy in our hearts and we are delighted that you come to Australia with your wonderful strong faith.”
Other speakers at the Blessing included Monsignor Francis Kolencherry, Father Mathew Kunnappillil, Sebastian Mathew and MC Leeba Samuel.