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Day 1: Visit to a Hindu temple; Concord parish reaches out

Day 2: Learning the rules of the road

Day 3: Family visits in ‘Catholic’ India

Day 4: Chennai (Madras) – Time with an apostle

Day 5: Close look at an Eastern Rite Church

Day 6: Ubiquitous respect for each others’ religious beliefs

Day 7: Southern India home to vast tea fields

Day 8: Worship on a houseboat

Day 9: St. Alphonsa, India's first canonized saint

Day 10: Home shrines a standard feature

Day 11: Portuguese influence very clear in Goa

Day 12: The Portuguese influence

Day 13: Time for a little tourism

Day 14: Seeing ‘the king’s land’

Day 15: Taj Mahal builder sought to unify religion

Day 16: India’s oldest mosque

Day 17: Discussing world issues

Concluding reflections

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placeholder January 23, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA

Bishop Cordileone’s pilgrimage to India

Close look at an Eastern Rite Church

Day 5: Tuesday, Jan. 3

Today we flew back to Cochin early in the morning and then drove to the town of Malayatur, where we were treated to a sumptuous breakfast (more like an elaborate brunch, but that has been typical on this trip!) by relatives of Father George Alengadan.

We then visited the parish church, another shrine to St. Thomas, at a place where tradition also has it that he would spend time in prayer. As the Syro-Malabar Church is growing in population, right next to the current parish church a new and much larger one is being constructed. The construction is nearing completion, and an impressive house of worship it is.

I noted a sort of softened Gothic style to the churches, which typically feature tall pointed arches and prominent bell towers. I learned the architectural style in this part of India, though, is more related to China, resulting from close ties through trade going as far back as before the time of Christ.

After this was pointed out to me, I did notice the pattern of the Chinese pagoda replicated in the buildings here, and especially in the houses. Both churches and houses also typically feature bright, lively colors and lots of wood, especially teak and often with beautifully carved figures on it.

After taking the long way back to the house in order to take in the tropical beauty of the area, we drove to the city of Ernakulam, the See city of the Syro-Malabar Church (their “Rome”). We pulled into the curia and residence of the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, who honored us with an invitation to lunch. We then visited the museum of the history of their Church, and, after a little rest, I prayed and celebrated Mass in the Major Archbishop’s chapel.

“Major Archbishop” is a very new title in the Church, and is comparable to that of Patriarch, that is, the head of an autonomous Church consisting of several local Churches (dioceses), who governs the Church with full jurisdictional authority (appointment of bishops, etc.). The position of Major Archbishop developed at the time of the Second Vatican Council as a way to allow full self-governance for those Eastern Catholic Churches which have developed in size and stability but for which historical, ecumenical or political conditions urge against the conferral of the title of Patriarch.

In the evening we drove back to Cochin, where we were again hosted by Father George’s relatives, who continued to insure that we were well-fed, in terms of quality as well as quantity. Before we sat down to dinner at their home, though, I was happy to oblige to bless their family furniture store (thank goodness for iPhones – with a Google search I was able to come up with a house blessing online that was easily adaptable!).

After taking the long way back to the house in order to take in the tropical beauty of the area, we drove to the city of Ernakulam, the See city of the Syro-Malabar Church (their “Rome”). We pulled into the curia and residence of the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, who honored us with an invitation to lunch. We then visited the museum of the history of their Church, and, after a little rest, I prayed and celebrated Mass in the Major Archbishop’s chapel.

“Major Archbishop” is a very new title in the Church, and is comparable to that of Patriarch, that is, the head of an autonomous Church consisting of several local Churches (dioceses), who governs the Church with full jurisdictional authority (appointment of bishops, etc.). The position of Major Archbishop developed at the time of the Second Vatican Council as a way to allow full self-governance for those Eastern Catholic Churches which have developed in size and stability but for which historical, ecumenical or political conditions urge against the conferral of the title of Patriarch.

In the evening we drove back to Cochin, where we were again hosted by Father George’s relatives, who continued to insure that we were well-fed, in terms of quality as well as quantity. Before we sat down to dinner at their home, though, I was happy to oblige to bless their family furniture store (thank goodness for iPhones – with a Google search I was able to come up with a house blessing online that was easily adaptable!).

 



 
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