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CMI priests are ‘living portraits’ of new saint

 Representatives of the Brisbane Indian community in traditional dress present gifts to Archbishop Mark Coleridge during the offertory procession at Mass in St Stephen’s Cathedral on the feast of St Kuriakose Elias Chavara

Representatives of the Brisbane Indian community in traditional dress present gifts to Archbishop Mark Coleridge during the offertory procession at Mass in St Stephen’s Cathedral on the feast of St Kuriakose Elias Chavara

By Emilie Ng

BRISBANE’S six Carmelite of Mary Immaculate priests started the new year in hope of being “living portraits” of their founder, the newly canonised St Kuriakose Elias Chavara.

The CMI priests gathered on the new saint’s feast day, January 2, for a celebration Mass with Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane.

It is the first year that Indians around the world celebrated St Chavara’s feast, as Pope Francis had only canonised him on November 23.

Members of the Brisbane Indian community, many originating from Kerala, India, where the CMIs were founded, attended the packed cathedral for the thanksgiving Mass.

The Mass included traditional Indian flair including a special religious ritual arati performed by Keralan girls in traditional dress, while readings and prayers were proclaimed in Kerala’s official language, Malayalam.

Parishioners under the care of several CMI priests provided the music for the liturgy.

Coomera parish priest CMI Father Antony Vadakara thanked priests and members of Brisbane archdiocese and visitors from the Syro-Malabar rite communities for celebrating the momentous feast.

“We were very blessed to have so many come from different parishes where the CMIs have ministered and are ministering, to this unique, blessed event, to thank God with us for the canonisation of our founder,” Fr Vadakara said.

Archbishop Coleridge thanked the CMI priests for being “an important part” of life in Brisbane archdiocese.

“God wanted to communicate to the world through St Chavara and his spiritual family; and that communication has taken flesh more and more as the CMIs have spread through the world, coming even to these shores and to the Archdiocese of Brisbane, where they have become such an important part of our life,” he said. Archbishop Coleridge also challenged the priests to be “a living portrait” of St Chavara.

“The mystery of spiritual paternity means that each CMI has the charism of St Chavara in his DNA – each of them is in some way a living portrait of their founder,” he said.

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