On Sunday, 14 May 2017, the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle under the leadership of Bishop Bosco Puthur solemnly welcomed the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, His Eminence Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, at St John’s College, Dandenong, Victoria, Australia. His Eminence was on his official Pastoral visit to Australia where he visited all five Oriental Catholic Church communities. The celebration at the Syro-Malabar Eparchy was attended by the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, Archbishop Robert Rabbat (Melkite), Archbishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay (Maronite), Archbishop Amel Nona (Chaldean), Monsignors and many priests.
Holy Qurbana was celebrated later at the College auditorium with the Cardinal Presiding and Bishop Bosco Puthur as the main celebrant. Together with the Cardinal, four Bishops from Oriental Churches in Australia, 28 priests and more than 1500 faithful participated in the Qurbana. Cardinal Sandri was given a liturgical reception by giving a lighted Candle at the Altar by Bishop Bosco Puthur. Cardinal Sandri gave a beautiful yet powerful homily during the Holy Qurbana. The Holy Qurbana was concluded with the Apostolic Blessing by Cardinal Sandri. He then shared his appreciation to the congregation for such a large gathering and their active participation. Before the final procession, Cardinal gave a Papal gift to our Eparchy through Bishop Bosco.
The public meeting presided by Cardinal Sandri commenced with a traditional Kerala prayer dance by a group of Catechism students, which the audience welcomed with a great applause. A short video was shown, narrating the growth of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy in Australia, especially from 2014. Bishop Bosco then welcomed everyone to the ceremony including the invited guests and dignitaries. During the public meeting, Cardinal Sandri expressed his appreciation and congratulated the deep faith and dedication of the Syro-Malabar faithful as an example to all Christian communities of Australia. Cardinal Sandri also expressed his sincere hopes for the further growth of the Eparchy under the leadership of Bishop Bosco Puthur. After his presidential address, Cardinal Sandri dedicated the newly purchased property facilities for St Thomas the Apostle South – East parish community. Felicitations by Australian Nuncio, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, highly appreciated the participation of children and youth in our Churches, which he found very encouraging.
“Rexband Music Concert Live Australia Tour 2017” is another major event this year for the Syro-Malabar Eparchy. Rexband is a worldwide musical ministry of the Jesus Youth Movement that has performed in 21 countries, six World Youth Days including two previous Tours to Australia in 2008 and 2012. The ticket sales inauguration for the Rexband tour was made by Greater Dandenong Mayor, Jim Memeti, who distributed them to the main sponsors of the concert in the presence of Cardinal Sandri.
Before word of thanks, Cardinal Sandri and Apostolic Nuncio Yallana were given mementos from the Eparchy to express our gratitude for their visit. The public meeting was concluded with a word of thanks by Gene Thalappillil, Eparchy Pastoral Council Secretary.