March marks anniversary of first church
120-km walk retraces journey undertaken by its first missioner to the region
The Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), the Oriental Church’s first religious congregation for men, organized the February 13 march, which retraced a journey undertaken by its first missioner to the region.
Father Athanasius Payyappilly reached Calicut diocese after walking 120 kilometers from Trichur archdiocese in 1934. Two years later, he established the first Syro-Malabar Church in Kadalundi.
Italian Jesuit missioners running the Calicut Latin rite diocese had asked CMI priests to come and serve Syro-Malabar Catholics who had migrated to Malabar from central Kerala.
Participants celebrating the anniversary walked and traveled on special buses to cover the distance in four hours.
“It was an enriching experience remembering a great missionary and traveling all his way,” said Jose Chakkaramakkil.
Retired Archbishop Jacob Thoomkuzhy of Trichur, a native of Malabar, credited Father Payyappilly for nurturing the Syro-Malabar Church in the region. He “lived with migrants facing the threat of wild animals and deadly diseases.”
Bishop Remigious Inchananiyil of Thamarassery said CMI missioners have contributed immensely to the social and educational advancement of the Malabar region ever since.
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