Using English will help congregation to grow and flourish-Bishop Srampickal
The Syro Malabar Church in the UK is planning to say the Syro Malabar Mass in English to make it more attractive to the next generation of the Malayalees.
A day before arriving in Newcastle, Bishop Joseph Srampickal led the faithful in a Syro Malabar Mass celebrated in English at the Second Saturday convention of Sehion, in West Bromwich, Birmingham, where he made this formal announcement.
It is a promising start for a new Bishop, who seems to have captured the essence of the community and wants to implement it sooner, rather than later, to keep the newer generation of Syro Malabar community within the fold.
This decision comes as a result of the various meetings Bishop Srampickal has had with Priests and the laity since his arrival in the UK. It was suggested, during one of these meetings, that if the focus is not shifted to saying Mass in English, it will be increasingly difficult to retain the next generation to the lengthy format of the Syro Malabar Mass.
During Bishop Joseph Srampickal’s four day visit to Newcastle he focused on children, encouraging them to pray and read the Bible in English. The much-awaited visit was a fulfilment of the Bishop’s promise to return to see the Syro Malabar community members settled in various dioceses.
On Sunday, December 11, the Bishop met members of the Family unit settled around St Roberts Church in the Church itself. He interacted with members and talked to children about Bible passage and what they understood from it. He then went on to ask questions to which the children gave very precise answers. He was so impressed with the sound knowledge the children had about the subject that he told the adults in the gathering he believed the youngsters have every chance of becoming theologians.
He later visited the remaining six wards, praying and interacting with the members. Bishop’s Secretary Fr Fansua Pathil and Syro Malabar Chaplain Fr Saji Thottathil joined the Bishop during his visit.
Bishop Srampickal engaged Ward members by asking them to read specific passages from the English Bible, instead of the Malayalam version, and gave his insight about the passage in English. He asked ward members to say family prayers and the Rosary in English so that the entire family could actively participate and it would become easier for the children to get more effectively involved in spiritual activities as they grow.
Since his Episcopal ordination the newly-appointed Bishop has already visited many dioceses, and plans to work in close collaboration with their priests to ensure that all Mass and prayer books are made available in English. This, he said, will help the entire Syro Malabar congregation to grow and flourish, while maintaining the values and traditions of its forefathers.
Bishop Srampickal appealed to young parents to take an active part in spiritual activities and perhaps enrol in theology courses to broaden their understanding of faith formation and how it could be used for the betterment of the community.
He also posed for family and group photos in each ward. Families were quick to post their photos with the bishop on social media sites and share them with friends and family to show their affinity to the newly-ordained bishop.
While he assured every one of his prayers, Bishop Srampickal also appealed everyone to pray for his ministry in Great Britain.