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YUVA SPECIAL

Reflections of Catholic Youth Community Toronto | July-August 2022

Papal Nuncio Hails Syro-Malabar Faith Heritage Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Saint Thomas through the eyes of young Catholics

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Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Papal Nuncio to Canada praised the Syro Malabar Church for their faith traditions that survived two thousand years and wanted them to stay as cornerstone of their human, cultural and intellectual identity which is so strongly rooted on the gospel and on the life of Apostles. Oriental churches have a wealth of liturgical traditions interspersed with their cultural practices, a great topic for the present generation of young Catholics to learn further.

His Grace Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, lighting the oil lamp which is customary in India and elsewhere to mark something auspicious or new beginnings.

Listening to Archbishop Jurkovič, who addressed the Syro Malabar Community in Toronto on July 3rd at the public meeting, organized on behalf of the Diocese of Mississauga to commemorate the Jubilee of Martyrdom of Saint Thomas was a pleasant experience and it was good enough to get a big picture of the liturgical and cultural heritage followed by the community for centuries. The Saint was so ardent in his faith and highly convinced of the path to salvation brought forth by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It was awesome to learn about the vicarious expression of Thomas who openly declared Christ as' his Lord and his God' personifying his love for Him and investing hope in Him. Bishop Mar Jose Kalluvelil, Eparchy of Mississauga presided over the meeting which was also addressed by Bishop Mar Ephrem Narikulam, from the mission Diocese of Chanda in Northern India and a former pastor in the parish and a professor at the Saint Augustine's Seminary of the Archdiocese of Toronto. Saint Thomas Forane Parish in Toronto is the pioneering community of Syro Malabar Catholics in Canada. Christopher Kannampuzha, an alumnus of our school of Catechesis and a World Youth Day attendee is the recipient of John Paul II Award for Excellence in Campus Leadership in Toronto Metropolitan University for the year, presented by CCO. Christopher was an MC for the jubilee event.

How can the God be personalized? His Grace Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič gave an inspiring oration about the worthiness of the life of Thomas and his signature statement ‘My Lord, and My God, He urged to follow the path to salvation (Mar Thoma Margam) evinced by the Saint, who travelled to India to evangelize people, pursuing his call. (contd...p2) Soumya George, a Toronto based IT Professional is the Parish Animator for SMYM High-school wing and a Catechist. Soumya was another MC for the jubilee event.

Be a vibrant community of migrants manifesting the faith. His Beatitude George Cardinal Alencherry addressed the audience in a video message. Praising the Canadian Syro Malabar community the Cardinal said ".....You are a migrant community and let the migrant community become a vibrant community manifesting the faith in Jesus Christ by expressing ecclesial communion, and by the practice of our traditional faith. This tradition which has grown down up to us through centuries must be kept up, not only in this generation, but also for the generations to come. By direct preaching, by Catechesis, by our own liturgical celebrations, prayer gatherings, and by little acts of charity into our brothers and sisters we can accomplish it".

Amplified voices of young Catholics from St. Thomas Forane Parish, Toronto Brought out by Public Relations & Media Office: July31, 2022


July-August 2022

How can God be mine... 'My Lord, My God' explained According to Archbishop Jurkovič, Pope Francis himself has acknowledged that it is difficult to explain the audacious expression of Saint Thomas, "My Lord and My God'. …How can God be made his, how can one make the Almighty so personal.? The truth is by saying 'mine', we do not profane God, but honour His mercy, when God's wishes to become ours. As this is a love story, we can tell him that you became man for me, you died and rose for me and thus you are not only God, but you are also ‘my God,’ and you are ‘my life.’ Thomas knew that he had found the love that he was looking for and much more than he could ever imagine. God takes no offence in being ours because love demands confidence, mercy demands trust.

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Be strong lovers of Jesus like Saint Thomas: Mar Jose Kalluvelil Saint Thomas paid the great price of our faith by receiving the crown of Martyrdom and for that reason only you and I have embraced the spirit of Catholicism and have become Syro Malabar Catholics and are therefore privileged to celebrate the feast of dukhrana with solemnity. Magnifying the martyrdom of Saint Thomas. Bishop Mar Kalluvelil, wanted us to be strong lovers of Jesus, like Saint Thomas who gave witness to Christ with his genuine signature expression “My Lord, my God” - ‘Mar Valah.’ Secondly, each of us must be a bold missionary like the saint, to witness his master. Thomas is the only apostle to travel outside the then Roman empire.

"By remembering the martyrdom of Saint Thomas and marking the anniversary through liturgical celebrations and gatherings we draw strength to live out the faith that Thomas professed in Christ, in our daily lives" - Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič

Rev.Fr. Jose Alencherry celebrates the most solemn Raza Qurbana

Santhom Square to perpetuate memory of the Jubilee

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Charles is an IT Professional and a Parish Councillor. He was the elder for the Seraphim music band of Jesus Youth and takes pride in connecting youngsters by all means.

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H.G. Archbishop Jurkovic blessing the commemorative plaque of Santhom square to be built

To perpetuate the memory of the 1950th year of the Martyrdom of Saint Thomas and the visit of Papal Nuncio, a Santhom square to perpetuate the memory is proposed to be constructed in the premises of St. Thomas Forane Church, In Toronto in the near future. Trustee Johnson Irimpan requested the Nuncio to bless a plaque commemorative of the event, which he gladly accepted. Mr. Johnson read out the inscription on the plaque that was blessed in the presence of Bishop Mar Kalluvelil and Bishop Mar Narikulam.

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Y GODCharles Sebastian, Parish Convener - Youth Affairs ,M

The most solemn Eucharistic Celebration Qurbana (means an offering, a gift) in the Syro Malabar Church is the 'Raza'. The word means mystery. The Sliba (Cross), the Word of God, and the Body and Blood of Christ are three living representations of our Lord. They are given supreme priority in various prayers, hymns, and rituals of the Raza. Rev. Fr. Jose Alencherry, former Vicar and now Vicar of St. Alphonsa Cathedral joined the feast on the second day to offer Raza Mass. Fr. Alencherry also took the podium to introduce the Papal Nuncio, Chief guest of the public meeting on the feast day.

AMPLIFIED VOICES OF YOUNG CATHOLICS FROM ST.THOMAS FORANE PARISH, TORONTO


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July -August 2022

A Note of Appreciation

Johnson Irimpan, Parish Trustee

Let this be a new beginning... Rev. Fr. Baiju Chakkery, Forane Vicar & Convener Jubilee Feast Organizing Committee. Dear young friends, It is the best time in your life to do the best things. The World needs great initiatives. The Church needs sustainable efforts and projects that connect people with God and newer stories of witnessing from your world to strengthen the faith of your youngsters . The community looks forward to new leaders emerging from your rank...young people who can influence and inspire! We want to hear your stories., you in action, wherever you are, as Catholics, as human beings who care. Look at the lives of young Saints... And be the change you want to see in the World and, in your Church. Come up with ideas, bring up projects that help you get connected..., connected to the church, and above all connected to the Lord.

The hard work that paid An unusually active involvement of the youth community was visible in most of the events of the Jubilee feast spread over three days. What makes them connected to the Church? Youngsters really enjoyed practicing together and performing skits, artistic events like Margam kali rooted in the heritage, medley, music and presenting floats of Saints or organizing food stalls, demonstrating a real blend of talent and energy. Kudos to the team members...

Varsha Nigi, a recent graduate of Mc Master University, an avid dancer and choreographer is a leader of several youth focused cultural initiatives in the GTA. Varsha is also an alumna and Youth Associate aspiring to build a career rooted in Medical Sciences.

In the present world, youngsters need newer models that help them to connect, that reduce stress, enhance motivation, and make life easier. The parish community is grateful to you for the good work you are doing... and showing us that you are capable of...Best wishes .

Did you know? For the first generation of migrants, it was a rare feast to have a Holy Mass in Malayalam offered by visiting priests or those who came for higher studies in the seminaries in the late sixties. The first official Mass in Malayalam was offered in 1982 by Fr. Thomas Thottumkal at Saint Timothy School, after he was appointed as Chaplin of migrant Catholics from South-western India who speak Malayalam, in the Archdiocese of Toronto. This September we celebrate forty years of our presence in Canada !

Say 'Yes' to a life of Service and Responsibility- Pope Francis Jerin Raj Jerin a member of Board of Governors of Seneca College, Toronto is a Professor in the School of Business. Being an organizer and leader of national fame, Jerin is an Eparchial Animator for SMYM International and was the head of the Canadian Youth delegation attended 'Arise 2022' in Rome and had audience with Pope Francis early this month.

Bettina George came to Canada as an International student a few years ago. Proficient in dance, choreography, music, sporting events, and making reels she has found her passion in connecting with youth and engaging them making new platforms. Betty is also a member of the Parish Council, representing SMYM International.

We have proven it once again! If we come together, work shoulder to shoulder, we can make wonders...build new pathways of togetherness, of friendship and even communities that care...and share the love of God as Catholics.

Addressing 75 young leaders who were along with me in Rome, from the Syro Malabar Eparchies of Chicago, Mississauga, Melbourne, Great Britain and the Apostolic visitation in Europe and representatives from India, Pope Francis said as Christians our wish is to follow Jesus and "walk along with his path of love, the sole path that leads to eternal life" Though not easy, he said this path "is exciting" and "gives meaning to our lives. It gives us the strength to say 'yes' to a life of service and responsibility, and 'no' to one of superficiality and dissipation." "In today's 'fluid', even 'frothy' culture, our lives find substance and meaning whenever we say 'yes' to Jesus."

Strengthening our bonds The feast of Saint Thomas is a time for youth to come together and celebrate their faith. It is an opportunity to show solidarity with the Church and to deepen our commitment to living a life of Christlike love and service. This feast was like no other. Having not had the celebration for the past two years, it was a sense of pride that the community comes together after the unprecedented times to finally celebrate the feast of Saint illustrating our continued bond to the community and to our rich faith culture

Alex Kurishummoottil Shibu is a recent High School grad, and the Chair of Catechesis Student Council for past year, is also aspiring to partake in WYD 2023 in Lisbon

AMPLIFIED VOICES OF YOUNG CATHOLICS FROM ST.THOMAS FORANE PARISH, TORONTO


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July - August 2022

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Imagine these tweens representing Canadian Catholic Youth staging a Christian musical medley at World Youth Day in a few years from now.... We need to develop solid long-term plans and energetic -futuristic leadership to make it a reality!

World Youth Day Lisbon 2023

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It’s a joy to have a friend who can steer you in the right path and help you make the right decisions. A friend whose values and beliefs align with your Christian beliefs. One rooted in the teachings of Christ. As a faith community- we are surrounded by opportunities to build such relationships. We also thrive when relationships are strong. Take time to get to know and invest in each other so you can build a strong connectivity with each other. Feasts and celebrations help us in this. World Youth Day 2023 is the next biggest platform....and we need to be prepared to make use of every opportunity...

Saumya George, Parish Animator SMYM High School

WYD- What's it for? How's it relevant to me?

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We anticipate a number of Province wide (at-home) WYD celebrations taking place across Canada. More details on those gatherings will be posted on World Youth Day Canada website..https://www.wydcanada .org/en/home/ In the meantime, future leaders and pilgrims may sign up for the Portugal 2022 e-mail newsletter on the above website.

A doorway to lead.... INT. TH SA

It's a pilgrimage of youngsters from all around the world...All youth and young adults – in fact, every person age 18 to 35 in our parish and in our country can join this pilgrimage. Whether you plan to travel to Lisbon, participate through digital media, or join your peers at one of many local celebrations taking place in dioceses all across the country, in the coming months and we want you to be part of this moment in the life of the Church.

Every year, the Church is called to reflect upon and celebrate youth and young adults. The Global Celebration of Young People takes place annually on the Solemnity of Christ the King in every diocese and community around the world, including at the Vatican with the Holy Father.

Tasked by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), WYD Canada accompanies Canadians in their preparation and participation of the World Youth Day.

Youth Apostolate of the Eparchy of Mississauga is for supporting and strengthening fraternity of young Catholics with a series of programs across Canada starting with regional conferences in October 2022.

Have Questions? Contact: wyd@cccb.ca

AMPLIFIED VOICES OF YOUNG CATHOLICS FROM ST.THOMAS FORANE PARISH, TORONTO


July - August 2022

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More young leaders to work with the Church Charles Sebastian, Parish Councilor and Convener - Youth Committee Charles is an IT Professional and a Parish Councilor. He was the elder for the Seraphim music band of Jesus Youth and takes pride in connecting youngsters by all means.

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Parish Trustee N.U. Thomas and Trustee elect Veena Siby presented a beautiful handcrafted replica of a snake boat to Archbishop Jurkovic as a token of our gratitude and love. The memento was appreciated by the Nuncio. Racing of Snake boats - as the name indicates boats longer like snakes- with about 100 oarsmen skilled in rowing the boat in unison with precision timing accompanied by 'Vanchi pattu' - a poetic form with a rhythm enriched with folklore is an acclaimed tradition in central Kerala, esp. in Kuttanadu where it has a huge fan base.)

The Youth community has an integral role to play in the church and we are blessed with a high potential and talented youth who are very strong in their faith in God. With the kind of support the church has been offering to various activities and initiatives of youth, there is clearly a strong bond being established between the church and our youth community, specially these days. I am sure we will continue to see more leaders emerging from our youth community to closely work with the church leadership in the coming months and years’

ALLAYING FEARS AND STRENGTHENING CONNECTIVITY The digital divide

What's My Identity?

Technology has intercepted in all walks of life, especially that of our young natives. Though the digital revolution limits face-to- face human interactions, making more couch potatoes diminishing their preparedness to help those who need it (often in the guise of their right of personal space or individual freedom) on one side, it makes communications and collecting/pooling of ideas and resources faster, and effective in a way it could be easily digested.

Should that be a Catholic one or more of a secular one? Can Catholics be secular as well? Or should I have a hybrid Identity of an Indo-Canadian?

How can the scope of technology/modern media be utilized further in evangelization or making discipleship powerful?

What makes Eastern Churches distinct? Which faith traditions should I follow or is it more important to have faith in one God that we all believe in and be witnessing him in a way ideal for each person rather than following age old rituals and patterns of worship?

What is my role in the Church? How can I experience Jesus further? Is there anything I can do to help others experience Jesus? How can I consider Him a friend and love him?

Allaying fears How many of the followers are able to follow Catholic social teachings and practice it in their lives? Is there a cognitive dissonance? Where can I find answers? How can I allay such fears?

What are the fears and doubts most young Catholics have?.....What are the areas where they need clarity? What are the other questions they might have ?

At a younger age every Christian might go through a similar phase with questions similar to those listed above, which are not answered at the right time or not at all answered. Time is ripe to initiate an ongoing conversation to allay the fears and to be stronger in faith.

AMPLIFIED VOICES OF YOUNG CATHOLICS FROM ST.THOMAS FORANE PARISH, TORONTO


July - August 2022

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It was a great display of team-work of these youngsters....What makes teamwork effective? ....Having trust in yourself, your ability to resolve conflicts and move forward, demonstrating commitment and being accountable.....These are some of the elements that bring results... You might have more to add from your own story...

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World offers a lot of platforms for the talented and the committed. If 'what's next' is the question you might have, come up with your own story or a fresh idea....that could be converted as your new creative project.! .

Create newer, inclusive platforms We need a plan to engage in work that promotes and develops talent, enable young people to come up with new ideas, experiment and refine it. At the same time we need to create newer inclusive platforms to support and encourage such talent within a broader framework. Suggestions are always welcome.

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Theres Joshy, a new graduate of our School of Catechesis was the Chairperson of our Student Council . Theres works with youngsters and inspires them to bring out their talent.

AMPLIFIED VOICES OF YOUNG CATHOLICS FROM ST.THOMAS FORANE PARISH, TORONTO


July - August 2022

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Floats @ the feast by SMYM

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Saint Devasahayam Pillai, new in the row of Saints from India: Float: Joshua Devassy

Did you get snapped at our last event? Check out the photos below and also our social media to see if you were snapped!

Margamkali, an age-old and hallowed tradition of Syrian Christians 'Margamkali' is an ancient Indian round dance of the St. Thomas Christian community, based in Kerala state "Margam" means path or way or solution in Malayalam, but in the religious context it is known as the path to attain salvation. The process of conversion to Christianity was known as "Margam Koodal" until recently in Kerala. Much of this folk art is woven around the mission of St. Thomas, the Apostle. The original Margam Kali describes the arrival of St. Thomas in Malabar, the miracles he performed, the friendship as well as the hostility of the people among whom he worked, the persecution he suffered, the churches and crosses he put up in various places, etc. These details are incorporated in the various stanzas of the Margam Kali songs. Kerala's Margam Kali is an important element in the age-old and hallowed tradition of St Thomas among the Syrian Christians of Malabar Coast.

Anjana Chirayath Anjana, now an Ontario Certified Teacher is one of the active Youth Associates who have demonstrated a plethora of talent in multiple ways. She is a Catechist as well.

Dances in a form of prayer and worship through bodily movement is known to accompany religious ceremonies and sacred rites since prehistoric times. Ann Christy Binoy and her sister Ann Liya Binoy presented a mix of classical and folk dance forms that celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Through this dance they proclaim and praise Jesus as the Son of David who was born of Mary for becoming good news for every human being.

AMPLIFIED VOICES OF YOUNG CATHOLICS FROM ST.THOMAS FORANE PARISH, TORONTO


July - August 2022

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We should be proud to be Syro Malabar Christians Noel George Kannikkatt Noel is a High school student who takes an active interest in drama and theatre presenting ancient characters. At the same time Noel is humble and keen on asking questions to clarify himself. He played the role of a Karanavar (head of a big family) in the skit 'Thomasleeha'

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To commemorate the historical anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Thomas, a skit, “Thomasleeha”, was presented by the Pious Associations. The skit written and acted by the youth of the church, depicted the arrival of St.Thomas in Kerela, his work of evangelization, to his martyrdom in the hands of other religious fanatics. It reminded us of the roots and origins of our faith. It depicted how Christianity came to be in India and spread all over the country through the apostolic mission of St. Thomas. Through him, our ancestors were able to be witnesses to the risen Lord and experience salvation. The skit educates children of the dedication and faith of St.Thomas and glorifies our unique identity and that we should be proud to be Syro-Malabar Christians and live our lives more like St. Thomas.

The tail piece - Need a blue-print

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A note of Appreciation and a big Thank you to all young friends who worked tirelessly to make our parish proud! As Pope Francis recently said "Let us be leaders of hope, and the builders of future..."

The jubilee of Martyrdom was an incredible opportunity for the younger generation to come together and showcase a part of what they are capable of. They are the present and future of our Church. There is no doubt, they are capable of creating platforms and mobilize the needed support. Our parishioners enjoyed and appreciate the demonstration of togetherness of youngsters and mutual encouragement.

Your Vicar and the Parish Council

The Syro Malabar anthem glorifies the rich tradition of the origin of our church literally translates into 'Sons of Syro Malabar Church who are the children of Mar Thoma are there to proclaim the holy scripture in unison all over the globe, the new generation that is rooted in the traditional Indian culture witness the glory of God'..

We have to keep the doors open further for them to learn, participate and create plans together and execute in ways that reach out to every single youngster in the community ...plans to inspire them and motivate them to build a future for them with the Church. A blue-print and a sustainable plan for the next few years to nurture young leadership that helps the 'generation next' to walk in Faith must be the next step... Jose Varghese, For the Editorial Team

AMPLIFIED VOICES OF YOUNG CATHOLICS FROM ST. THOMAS FORANE PARISH, TORONTO Compiled and brought to you by the Public Relations & Medeia Office, St.Thomas Forane Parish, Toronto ON M1K 3A1 (For Pvt Circulation)