Laity forum submits memorandum to Synod over uniform Mass celebration

30th conclave of Bishops of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church begins at Mount St. Thomas in city

Almaya Munnettam, representing a section of lay people in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, submitted a memorandum to the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church on Saturday to either permanently exempt the archdiocese from the purview of a Synodal decision in August last year on the way the Mass is celebrated or to grant the archdiocese special privilege to celebrate the Mass as it is being celebrated now.

The representation was submitted to the 30th Synod that began here at the headquarters of the Syro-Malabar Church at Mount St. Thomas, Kakkanad, near Kochi, on Saturday. It will conclude on January 15.

The group of lay people was allowed to submit the representation after they were initially disallowed. The group threatened to organise a sit-in if they were not allowed to submit the representation and later, Almaya Munnettam leader Binu John and Pastoral Council general secretary P. P. Gerard submitted the representation. They said they were optimistic that the Synod would be an occasion to reconcile the differences of opinion over the way the Mass is celebrated in the archdiocese.

Though priests in the archdiocese had initially planned to submit a memorandum to the Synod on the issue, they withdrew from the move after a group of senior Bishops, who are now retired now, expressed their opinion against the imposition of a uniform method of celebration of the Mass.

The group of lay people and priests had come out against a Synodal decision in August last year. The Synod ruled that the Mass should be celebrated with the celebrant (priest) facing the congregation (participants) for the first part, and then face away from the congregation for the second half. The group opposing the Synodal decision said that over the past half-a-century, the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese had been practising fully congregation-facing Mass. The Synod has recommended the new way of Mass celebration without consultation or discussions, they alleged.

The decision on uniform Mass celebration is a case of imposition of a rule without imbibing the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, the group said.

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