Two weeks ago, 42 people either from or connected to the parish had the great chance to visit Fr. Rojin’s parish in the state of Kerala in India. Fr. Rojin had told me that Kerala is God’s country. I, of course, told him that Ireland is God’s country, but that Kerala is a close second.
These days many Catholics who live in the Northeast see a decline in Church attendance, a decline that even St. Jerome parish is experiencing. I am happy to tell you that the Church is alive and well in India, and especially in Kerala.
All of us on the trip were astonished at the liturgy we attended that Sunday. Present were 600 young people from youngsters to teens, sitting on the floor in orderly rows. The Mass was done in the SyroMalibar Rite, which is Catholic, but far different from our Roman Rite. The entire Mass, except for the Scripture readings is sung. The children remained engaged and responsive throughout the entire hour and a half ceremony. Each one had a prayer book with all the sung responses, and oh, how they sang and participated! The lit- urgy is highly participatory in the way that marks our children’s Mass, but even more so.
Fr Rojin assures me that when these young people head off to college, leaving the village for the big cities of India, they still continue to attend Mass. In a way, that experience re- minded me of Mass back in the 1950’s at St Joseph Cathedral in Hartford, but even then I did not see or experience the level of joy and attention that I saw in India. The Church is indeed alive and well!
Changing topics: remember that our “Honor Way” brick memorials are due in by February 15 . We will probably end up with an order of about 250 bricks that will be placed at the new entranceway at the front of Church.