Babitha Joy felt a sense of pride during mass at St. Anthony of Padua recently.
Joy has only been in Timmins for two months, after facing visa delays, and she says that, when the local church hosted mass in Malayalam made her feel more at home.
“It feels like a blessing to me,” said Joy. “We can participate in Holy mass without any restrictions.”
Malayalam, the language spoken by Syro-Malabarian Catholics coming from the state of Kerala in India.
The mass was led by Bishop Jose Kalluvelil from the Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Mississauga.
Blessil Thomas, who came to Canada for his post-secondary education in 2019 made the trip to Timmins with two friends to take part in the mass after hearing about it from the priest at Holy Name of Jesus parish in Kirkland Lake.
“When I went to Northern College Kirkland Lake as my next adventure, my chance to attend holy mass in my mother tongue came to an end,” said Thomas. “Still, I went to church every Saturday and Sunday.”
Holding mass in Malayalam strengthens the community, said Anahka Johnson, who moved to Northern Ontario in 2019 for post-secondary education.
“I am so happy that our community is receiving such an honourable gift and I would like to have more such gatherings held,” said Johnson. “It helps to create a feeling of togetherness and a homey feel among people,”
Plans are in the works to hold mass in Malaylam once every three months, and a committee has been selected to work toward that goal.
Syro-Malabar Catholicism is an Eastern Rite Catholic church based in Kerala, India, with the Eparthy of Mississauga being established in 2015.