St Thomas the Apostle Holy Mass and Celebration
1-7-2022 with the Indian Community in Adelaide
On the 1st July 2022 at 7pm, Father Dean Marin, Deacon Remo Patroni along with six concelebrating priests, celebrated the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle Holy Mass for the Adelaide Archdiocese and the Indian Catholic Community of Adelaide.
Since Christians in India form a very small minority, their faith and their rights being recognized in India and worldwide is extremely important. In 2021, the Feast of St Thomas (3rd July) was named as ‘Indian Christian Day’The feast of St Thomas the Apostle is a significant event as it commemorates the arrival of the Christian faith in India, more than 2000 years ago.
Of equal importance to Indian Christians, the Pope recently canonised the first layman Saint for India. On the 5th June the Indian Community both in Indian and abroad were united in joy at the canonisation St Deva Sahayam; an 18th century Indian layman who converted to Catholicism from Hinduism, and who was killed in 1752 for refusing to refute his faith despite being brutally tortured. St Deva Sahayam comes from the southernmost tip of India, Kotta Diocese, also homeland to a few of our missionary priests serving in Adelaide.
This St Thomas Holy Mass saw all language groups of the Indian community work in unity to celebrate a beautiful Holy Mass where all communities participated and worshiped as one. Prayers, readings and hymns were heard in more than five different languages including the Eastern Rite Churches of Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara (Malayalam), as well as Latin Rite Churches (Konkani, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi language groups).
Father Dean participated in the beautiful welcome called ‘Maha Aarathi’, meaning toward the highest love for God in Sanskrit ("Aa" means "towards", and "rati" means "the highest love for God"). Four young girls from the Tamil Community, dressed in Indian traditional costume, performed liturgical ceremonial offering, creating a moment where faith and culture unite. There was also a special liturgical procession preceding the procession of the gifts of bread and wine, where communities carried symbolic offerings of Legumes, Rice, the spice Cardamom and Coconut, in a type of thanksgiving for all produce very much part of the land and cultural foods enjoyed by the people.
Three choirs participated in the Holy Mass, the Konkani, Bengali and Syro-Malabar Choirs, with Father Dean Marin giving a beautiful homily highlighting the importance of unity of the Indian people in Adelaide, Australia, and abroad, to celebrate Indian Christian Day. He also called each of us to mission to spread our Christian faith, like Saint Thomas, drawing on the recent statistics released by the Census that stated ‘less than 50% of Australians identified as religious’. He said, “We have a lot of work to do!”
Always very poignant part of the celebration is the individual blessing of the children! This customary blessing highlighted the faithfulness of the young people of the Indian Catholic Community. An example of the faith that is very much alive in these families.
The Indian community united, not only in faith, but also in joy, enjoying light refreshments after the Mass in the Cathedral Hall. There was a fantastic atmosphere enjoyed by all, with much laughter and a real sense of community as the catholic church of Indian in Adelaide came together.