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Onam Mass of Syro-Malabar priest draws flak

8:48 PM, September 10, 2019

India(Kerala):Syro Malabar Church Media Commission chairman Bishop Mar Joseph Pamplany criticised the priest for changing the liturgy of the Church.

Fr Antony Poothavelil in his Onam attire. (Videograb)

The vicar of St Joseph's Catholic Church, Vazhakkala, has drawn flak from his superiors in the Syro-Malabar Church on Monday, for conducting an 'Onam Mass' in line with the State's cultural traditions, but completely "deviating" from the Church's regular procedure for Holy Mass.

The priest's claim, that the modified 'Onam Mass' was organised to foster and encourage the spirit of Kerala's traditional festival of Onam amongst parishioners, has not been taken kindly by the Church authorities.

The 'modified' Mass was led by parish priest Fr Antony Poothavelil, along with his assistant priest.
A parishioner said the Mass was conducted only after the Parish Council approved the idea put forward by the priest. "The idea was conceived by Fr Poothavelil and it had the approval of the Parish Council", he said.

The priests wore traditional 'veshti' over the usual Mass vestments, and the laity was welcomed with sandalwood paste being smeared on the foreheads. The altar boys were also seen wearing the sandalwood paste. The church choir also adopted a temple tune to suit the occasion of the Onam feast.

Syro Malabar Church Media Commission chairman Bishop Mar Joseph Pamplany, however, criticised the priest for changing the liturgy of the Church. "There is a formal way of offering the Holy Mass and changing it according to the will of a priest cannot be accepted. Though the church is not considering any disciplinary action against those involved now, such deviant behaviour is most certainly not encouraged in any of our churches", said Bishop Mar Joseph Pamplany.

Almost all of the laity had attended the Mass on Sunday in traditional Kerala attire, donning set-sarees, silk skirts and traditional mundu. Offerings of the laity included grapes, apples, yam, bananas, and coconuts in a traditional Kerala style.

According to a parishioner, Sanskrit renderings like 'Yesuvaya Namaha', and 'Christuvaya Namaha' with flowers was also heard during the Mass. At the end of the Mass, payasam was distributed to all the parishioners.

Source: newindianexpress

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