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St. Jude Syro-Malabar Mission celebrated the Feast of St. Jude, their patron saint, on Oct. 30 at Christ the Redeemer Church, Grand Terrace. It also marks the 5th anniversary of the mission. The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is an Eastern Rite Catholic Church originating from India that is in full communion with the Pope.

The Feast Day was a beautiful evening of spiritual and communal celebration for the St. Jude Syro-Malabar Mission community. The celebration included Holy Qurbana (Mass), cultural programs and a fellowship meal, and the unveiling of a Souvenir (a special photo book that commemorated the faith community’s journey over the last five years).

The main celebrant of the liturgy was Father Soney Sebastian, SVD, founder and former director of the mission, and he was joined by Father Biju Thomas, current director of the mission, and Vicar General of the Diocese Monsignor Gerard Lopez, who gave the homily. In his homily Msgr. Lopez said that the Syro-Malabar Mission is always welcome in the Diocese, and that its presence and tradition adds to the multicultural nature of the Diocese.

The Mass was followed by solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament around the church. The ornate special umbrellas, golden cross, the beautifully adorned statue of St. Jude and the rhythmic music of the traditional drums (chenda) all added color to the procession. The liturgical celebrations were followed by cultural program and dinner in the hall. Some noted singers from Indian films and local talents from the mission sang while others performed “Bollywood” style dances.

A main highlight of the program was the releasing of the Souvenir to mark the 5th anniversary as well as the accomplishment of the first project of St. Jude Charity. St. Jude Charity is a program begun by the members of the mission to assist in some philanthropic activities in Kerala, India. As part of its first program, it has completed building a simple two-bedroom house for a needy family in Kerala, India. 

With a population of 4.25 million worldwide, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is the second-largest Eastern Catholic church after the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Its origins can be traced to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. It uses a variant of the East Syriac Rite, today known as Syro-Malabar Rite, which dates back to 3rd century Edessa, Upper Mesopotamia, making it part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage.

It is an autonomous church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, including the Latin Church and the 22 other Eastern Catholic churches, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church has provided thousands of priests and religious missionaries to the Church, who have gone to all corners of the world with the Good News of Christ.