MORE priests from India’s Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS) are expected to take up ministry in Brisbane archdiocese in the coming years.
Provincial Fr Francis Kodiyan was recently in Queensland to visit the archdiocese’s five MCBS priests.
He also went to Toowoomba diocese to meet an MCBS priest there.
Fr Kodiyan heads the MCBS order’s Emmaus province in Kerala, India.
Brisbane archdiocese’s vicar general Monsignor Peter Meneely said the provincial’s visit was another milestone in a fruitful relationship which started with the signing of an agreement in 2009 between the archdiocese and the MCBS congregation.
In his first visit to Brisbane, Fr Kodiyan met with the episcopal council comprising Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Msgr Meneely, auxiliaries Bishop Brian Finnigan and Bish-op Joseph Oudeman and vicar for clergy Fr Michael McCarthy.
Msgr Meneely said there were several reasons for the provincial’s visit.
“It was an official canonical visit – one of Fr Kodiyan’s roles is to visit priests from his congregation wherever they are on mission around the world,” he said.
“During these meetings, he discussed how the priests were working within the archdiocese and also how they had adjusted to the broader cultural setting of Australian society.
“There were also discussions with the episcopal council about challenges facing the archdiocese and how the MCBS congregation can assist in providing sacramental and pastoral ministry throughout the archdiocese.”
An additional matter for discussion was how the Syro-Malabar rite MCBS priests were adjusting to working within the Latin rite in the archdiocese.
The Syro-Malabar Church is the second-largest of the 22 Oriental (Eastern Rite) Catholic Churches in full communion with the Church in Rome (Latin Rite), and one of four having in common the East Syrian Liturgical tradition.
It is a sui juris (autonomous) Church governed by a Synod of Bishops headed by the Major Archbishop.
While the majority of Roman Catholics belong to the Latin Rite, the Eastern Rite provides a unique dimension to Catholic heritage and spirituality.
Syro-Malabar Catholics, also called “St Thomas Christians”, trace their origins and faith to the missionary efforts of St Thomas the Apostle, who landed at Kodungallur in Kerala, India, in 52 AD.
During his visit to Brisbane, Fr Kodiyan presented Archbishop Coleridge with a St Thomas cross and candle to recall the rite’s founder.
He also celebrated Easter Mass with Syro-Malabar rite communities in Wavell Heights and Annerley.
Msgr Meneely said the MCBS provincial had been “delighted” in his discussion with the congregation’s priests to see how well they were settling in.
“He said they seemed happy with their ministry and felt they were contributing significantly to the life and mission of the Church in Brisbane,” the monsignor said.
“Fr Kodiyan said, dependent on the needs of the archdiocese, his congregation would be willing to send more priests here.”
Another MCBS priest is due to arrive in Brisbane from India next month.
Brisbane archdiocese has five priests from India’s Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), also based in the state of Kerala.
These priests have been appointed to the archdiocese under a separate agreement.