Pastoral visit by Bishop Fintan Gavin, (Bishop of the Diocese of Cork and Ross)
Bishop Stephen Chirappanath (Apostolic Visitator to the Syro-Malabar faithful in
Europe) and Fr. Clement Padathiparambil (National coordinator to the SyroMalabar faithful in Ireland) on the 13th of March 2022 at SMA Church, Wilton.
Official welcome was given to Bishop Fintan Gavin, Bishop Stephen Chirappanath and Fr. Clement padathiparambil with “chendamelam” and colorful umbrellas on their arrival in St. Joseph’s Church Wilton. They were warmly greeted with bouquet of flowers at the Church entrance bythe Kaikars, Mr. Dino George, Mr.Sony Joseph and Mr. Shinto Jose. Bishop Stephen was the chief celebrant of the Holy Qurbana and Bishop Fintan gave the Gospel message and Fr. Clement Fr. Jilson were co-celebrants. Chaplain, Fr. Jilson Kokkandathil, gave a warm welcome speech before the Holy Qurbana. There was a formal meeting after the Qurbana in the presence of the Syro Malabar faithful in Cork at the SMA hall. Parish committee secretary, Mrs Tessy Mathew warmly welcomed the chief guests for the meeting. The meeting included cultural programs, award ceremony and felicitations by our Bishops, Fr.Clement and Fr. Michael O’Leary SMA. A memento was awarded to Bishop Fintan by Kaikar, Sony Joseph to mark his visit to the community. Kaikar, Shinto Jose gave vote of thanks at the end of the meeting. The chief guests and the community enjoyed refreshments served at the meeting.
At the time of Homily, Bishop Fintan expressed his solidarity and unity with our Apostolic visitator Bp. Stephen Chirappanath. Bp. Fintan affirmed our presence as “the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Community” in the Diocese of Cork and Ross. Moreover, he mentioned that our
community is a special gift and blessing to the Diocese and the local Church. He embraced our
religious tradition and practices within the Syro-Malabar rite. He also mentioned the importance of nurturing and maintaining our own spirituality, theology and ecclesiastical and worshipful traditions. He also mentioned the importance of sharing these traditions with our children who haven’t had the same opportunity to experience them in India as we have had. He also stated not to lose our identity in this increasingly secular Ireland. As our Bishop here in Ireland, he expressed his whole hearted support in all our ecclesial movements and activities and he want us to bring our richness to our local Church of Cork and Ross.

After reviewing the submissions from the Syro-Malabar faithful and after the detailed discussions with different groups, the following decisions were made in view for the
well-being of the Syro Malabar faithful in the Diocese of Cork and Ross and were announced at
the church by Bp. Stephen.
I. Amendments were made on the Church and Catechism registration forms. The new form will
be available for use by the end of the week. Those who have registered already doesn’t have to
fill it again. From now on, “The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church of Cork” will be known as “SyroMalabar Catholic Church Community in the Diocese of Cork and Ross (SMCCC). Church in the sense-Syro Malabar Church, a “Sui iuris”, an autonomous Church in Universal Catholic Church. Community in the sense -A community in the Diocese of Cork and Ross. It should never be considered in the secular sense of club/community based on language/ nationality.
Ours’ is a Church which has given a vital contribution to the Universal Church especially in its
missionary endeavors and of course to the fast-growing migrant world. As Bishop Fintan Gavin
noted, we all have a primary duty to evangelize the whole world as a Catholic because our own
mother Church is by its very nature Missionary and Bp. Fintan is of deepest appreciation for our
presence in Ireland as a great inspiration to who were once exported faith to the whole world.
The faith tradition of the Syro-Malabar Church is traced back to the Apostle St. Thomas and it is
the second largest Eastern Church in full communion with the Holy See.
II. Bishop Finton Gavin has the exclusive jurisdiction of Syro Malabar Catholic Church Community in the Diocese of Cork and Ross and as such all the Syro-Malabar faithful should respect him as their shepherd and abide by the regulations and directives given by him. Syro-Malabar Faithful in Cork are kindly requested to follow the guidelines given by the Chaplain of SMCCC Cork, National Coordinator and the Apostolic Visitator regarding the Spiritual, Liturgical, Theological and Religious matters related to Syro-Malabar Faithful. In case of any clarification, or if there are matters of serious issue Bishop of Cork and the Apostolic Visitator will be jointly discuss and decide for the welfare of SMCCC.
III. Fr. Jilson Kokkandathiul is the Chaplain as such you have to give him filial respect. All the
matters regarding the Syro Malabar faithful’s pastoral, ecclesial, spiritual needs will be met by
him. Any decision pertaining to the Syro-Malabar pastoral care will be taken only with the
knowledge and consent of Fr. Jilson. So, for re-ordering the present situation he needs time until
December 2022, he will be working with different groups and committees. They are to support
him wholeheartedly. Meanwhile for the financial purposes and dealings, Fr. Jilson and Mr Sinto
Joseph will be the official signatories. In other words, Mr. Shinto will be the “Nadathukaikaran”
for the next 8 months and the other two will be “koottukaikarans”. The new committee will be
formed in the month of December 2022 and they will assume the ministry in the month of
January 2023.
IV. Bishop Stephen has appreciated the present prathinidhiyogam and the previous
pradthinidhiyogam for their wonderful work for registering 205 families in the Diocese of Cork
and Ross as the Syro Malabar Catholic Church Community. That was resembled as a financial hike comparing to the former years. Bishop Stephen’s sincere appreciation to them and all the
V. Fr. Jilson will be the sole controller of the means of communication. He is to designate the
persons if needed for conveying the messages and information of the SMCCC. The means of
communication in the particular way include website, whatsapp, facebook and email.
VI. Rationale behind the Trust. After due consultation with the leading solicitors of Ireland, five
Trusts were formed in Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Galway and for the whole of Ireland for the SyroMalabar faithful. The main intentions of forming the trust as you all know are the following:
1. Clarity, transparency, credibility and accountability of the financial operations and
2. Submitting the accounts in right manner before the revenue, charity registration, civil and
ecclesial authorities when needed.
3. For the smooth functioning of the charitable endeavors as envisioned by the trust.
VII. Trust and our faith community are different. Trust is meant for administrative purpose and
as such, all have to cooperate in a manner suggested by the trust. Our church community is
formed for nurturing the faithful in the Christian faith and Bp. Stephen assured that all your
spiritual and pastoral needs will be met by Fr. Jilson. But at the same time, he asked our
earnestness and whole hearted support for the registration and subscription of the families. Non
registered people can join for Catechism by paying an administrative fee, which is 50
Euro/Child/year. If anyone has any financial difficulties, can approach Fr. Jilson personally and he will find solutions for such difficulties. No one will be barred from receiving the faith education.
It is the main duty and concern of our mother Church that the faith be received and the faith be
increased. The needed amendments are made in the registration form and the catechism form
after due consultations with Bishop Fintan, Bishop Stephen, Fr. Clement and Fr. Jilson, and Fr.
Michael Keohane and other committees and groups concerned. If anyone has any further
questions kindly consult Fr.Jilson. Fr. Jilson will be receiving suggestions and directions from
Bishop Fintan, Bishop Stephen, Fr. Clement according to the nature of the matter.
VIII. Bishop Stephen gladly remembered all the bygone Chaplains and the committee members
for their dedicated effort to make SMCCC, Cork a good Christian fellowship expressing strong
faith and preserving the tradition and strong patrimony.
He stated that it is of great importance to acknowledge our failures and accept our limitations in the path of our growth as a solid communion in the midst of secularization and post truth society where half-truths and no-truths are presented in the mode of truth through different means of communication. He also asked pardon for his offences which has inflicted pain upon any of the faithful, officials and Priests in his way, in its stride of preserving the rich spiritual and ecclesial tradition and heritage of our land. He asked pardon if in any way our ministry has affected negatively the youth and the children and their parents.
“To err is human and forgive is divine” but that is not a license to consciously make mistakes. But it is natural to human life in this world to commit mistakes but let us be aware it should not be made out of malicious intentions and uninformed conscience. Let our wounds be healed by our wounded healer, Jesus who is our consolator and refuge.
Overall, the pastoral visit was a blessed and fruitful event for the SMCCC and will be marked in our history as it was the first time in our history we had this kind of a pastoral and apostolic visit.