Syro Malabar Catholic Church, Gloucester Celebrate the Feast of Saint Thomas at Saint Augustine’s of Canterburyon 3rd July 2016

The Syro Malabar Catholic Church Gloucester which comes together for catechises and to celebrate Mass in their Eastern Rite twice a month at St Augustine’s of Canterbury truly celebrated the Principal Saints of India Mary, Thomas and Alphonsa on Sunday 3rd July 2016.

Preparations outside the Church started on Friday and by Sunday 3rd July it was transformed with elephants and bunting.

The afternoon celebrations began with Father Gerry Walsh PP wearing Syro Malabar robes raising and blessing the flag at the front of the Church.  

He then along with assembled drummers welcomed Bishop Dr. Simon Kaipuram CM who is from Balasore Diocese, Orisa, India who was the principal celebrant at a packed Mass in the Church. The other concelebrating priests of the Syro Malabar Rite Mass were Rev. Fr. Paul Vettikattu CST based at Fishponds Bristol and the Rev. Fr. Zakharias Kanjooparampil CssR – all of them have bi-ritual faculties meaning the celebrate mass in either the Latin Rite or the Syro Malabar Rite. Fr Gerry was also on the sanctuary.


The Church was full of Indians principally from Kerla belonging to the Syro Malabar Rite many dressed in traditional colourful clothing  

Fr Gerry blessed the Children giving them a lighted candle before Mass began and also helped distribute Holy Communion.
The choir who were located in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel led the singing of Psalms and the responses during the Mass.

The Gospel for the Mass recalled the famous occasion when Saint Thomas one of the twelve apostles was not present in the upper room that first Easter Sunday when Jesus appeared to the other apostles and then saying he would not believe in the Jesus’ resurrection unless he could place his hands in Jesus’ wounds. Eight days later doubting Thomas was able to do just that when Jesus appeared again. ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ Jesus says.
After the Mass there was a very colourful procession from outside the Church with the drums once again playing to the rose garden off Matson Lane. Four statues Mary, Joseph, Thomas and Alphonsa were carried in the procession along with the Syro Malabar Cross which had been on the altar during Mass.


Following the procession a litany was led inside the Church and then all present enjoyed traditional Indian food from either the outside stalls or in the Hall.
The afternoon was blessed with fine weather and everyone who participated including Fr Gerry for whom this was his first ever Syro Malabar rite Mass a fitting celebration.  

For plenty more pictures of the event look at