Our Church

The St Alphonsa Syro malabar Catholic Forane Church Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

 

We are the children of ST Thomas the Apostle; his faith was firm in his master, and his proclamation of faith is the primary root of our faith. “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:16). St Paul wrote in one of his letters, “For we live by faith, not by sight. “(2 Corinthians 5:72)

 

The Syro-Malabar or St Thomas Catholic’s are rich in faith and tradition. The Syro-Malabar Catholics migrated to Eastern Canada in the 1960s and Edmonton & Fort McMurry in the 1980s. Since Alberta is Canada’s oil hup, there were many engineering and trade job opportunities in Alberta. As usual, it started with few Catholic families, and then, immigration began to grow. At that time, the Diocese of Edmonton invited priests from Kerala to serve in the Arch Diocese, and they were assigned to different parishes outside of Edmonton. Most of them were Syro-Malabar priests.

In 1990, Fr Thomas Alukka, Fr George Nellicheri and the catholic families of that time initiated the Syromalabar Qurbana in Edmonton while the priests worked for the Archdiocese. After Father Alukka left, other priests from Kerala serving in the Edmonton Diocese took the initiative to celebrate Holy Qurbana for the growing community—initially, Fr Willson Erathara and Fr George Nellicheri. We were known as the Malayalam Church because the community was tiny. Catholic rites didn’t identify us; the Malankara and the Latin joined us to celebrate the Holy Qurbana. There was only once a month of service; Fr Sunny took the initiative in 2008 to connect with the Malayam community. With his initiative, we had the Malayalam services on and often for at least a month; he was a priest at St. Theresa’s Parish. Once he left, Fr George Puramadom, Fr James Chitteth, and Fr Joby Munjeli led the community in the faith formation. Other priests in many vocations helped the community with Sunday services and other feast days.


In 2012, the Syromalabar community became a Syromalabar Mission under the guidance and leadership of Emiratus Bishop Jacob Angadiath, Chicago Diocese. At that time, Bishop Jacob was the apostolic visitor of Canada. Fr Varghese Muduvelil was the first mission director. Many youths of that time, under the guidance of Bishop Angadiath, took the initiative to bring the community together under the name of Syro Malabar Church.


In 2014, Fr John Kudiyiruppil became the first Vicar of the Edmonton Syromalabar community, and the community became an organized parish known as St Alphonsa Syromalabar Catholic Church. Arch Bishop Richard Bishop let our community rent one of their churches for our official service. St Edmond Church was our first official Church, and Fr John could share the rectory with Fr Patrik of St Edmond Church. We acknowledge the Arch Diocese of Edmonton and Arch Bishop Richard Smith for their hospitality and the warm welcome they offered to our community for our needs to grow as an independent parish. When Fr John became the Vicar of our parish, there were around seventy-five registered families. He could increase the number to more than two hundred families within a year. The community grew to this level because of those families’ commitment and financial support. We now have around 700 families, and many support the church financially. We have about six hundred catechism students. 

Fr John Kudiyiruppil was a blessing to our community. He was a priest full of energy and enthusiasm and always thought about the well-being of our community’s growth and development. Because of his hard work and community involvement amid hardship, we could buy our church on February 28, 2017; Fr John started the official catechism in 2014 with limited teachers and children. In 2014, Fr John began the first faith festival in our parish. We can’t forget the timely service given by the Knights of Columbus; we could buy the church because of the Knights of Columbus mortgage service. In 2015, under the leadership of Wally Streit, the previous State Deputy, we started the Knights of Columbus Council in our parish. 


On July 29, 2017, our community reached a significant milestone. Major Arch-Bishop George Allenchery consecrated our church in the presence of Arch-Bishop Richard Smith, Emeritus Bishop Jacob Angadiath, Bishop Jose Kalluvelil, and Ukrainian Bishop David Motiuk. That was a moment of great joy and celebration for us. All the parishioners attended the consecration and the public function, and many priests, religious people, political leaders, MLAs, and people from different communities came together to celebrate our shared faith and the growth of our community.


As the community grows, many priests come to serve it. Fr Jojo Changanamthundathil, Fr Thomas Thaicheril, Fr Boby Mudathuvayalil, and Fr Augustin were our priests from 2018 to 2022. Fr Jacob Edakalathur and Fr Jerlin Kadaplakkal are serving us at present. 


Syromalabar Youth Movement (SMYM), Mathurjyothy, Pithurvedy, Catholic Congress, Knights of Columbus, and Shalom Media Ministry are active ministries in our parish. Many individuals rented their time and money so the community could have all these privileges. The workforce to construct the new altar and sanctuary is one of the exceptional services of our committed volunteers. The parishioners mostly do all the immediate renovations. The Syro Malabar community is the largest Malayali community in Edmonton. The community is committed to its tradition and culture; we celebrate all important Syromalabar Church feasts, and our Patron, St Alponsa’s, feasts on the last Sunday of July every year—St Thomas Pray for us. 

The Syro Malabar Community of Canada is blessed with a  new Apostolic Exarchate (Diocese) for the community. Rev Dr Jose Kalluvelil has been installed as the new Exarch (Bishop) for the new Exarchate by our Holy Father Pope Francis. Today the total number of Syro Malabar faithful in Canada is approximately 35,000 spread across 21 mission communities in six provinces of the country.

 

The Most Reverend Jose Kalluvelil was born in India on November 15, 1955, and was ordained priest on December 18, 1984. In 1989, he was appointed Director of Catechetical Department in the Eparchy of Palghat where he served for 12 years. In 2003, he completed a Masters degree in Theology of Human Mobility from Urbanian Pontifical University in Rome and in 2006 he also completed Doctorate in Adult Catechesis from Salasian Pontifical University, in Rome.

Our Bishop

Rev. Dr Jose Kalluvelil

Our Vicar

Rev. Fr. Jacob Edakalathur

Fr.-Jacob-Edakalathur


Our Assistant Vicar

Fr. Jerlin Kadaplackal

Fr Jerlin

Holy Qurbana Timings