Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Boston

Syro Malabar Eparchy Eastern Rite Catholic Church

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A lot of people today have been enquiring after the Syro Malabar Eparchy Eastern Rite Catholic Church.  It probably has much to do with the fact that the Archdiocese of Boston has sold one of its shuttered churches to them, but the communicants will not leave.

Well according to Wikipedia:

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is an East Syrian Rite, Major Archiepiscopal Church in full communion with the Catholic Church. It is one of the 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in the Catholic Church. It is the largest of the Saint Thomas Christian denominations with more than 3.6 million believers. It is also the second largest Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

The church is headed by the Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, Mar George Alencherry the Patriarch and Gate of All India. Saint Alphonsa is the first saint from within the Church. The members of the Church are locally known as Surianis or Syrian Catholics or Roman Catholic Syrian Christians (RCSC).

There is a lot more here on this Church believed to be founded by St Thomas. And it’s really, really interesting.

The Syro-Malabar identity is unique to the state of Kerala in India and its people. According to Fr. Placid Podipara “they are Hindu or Indian in culture, Christian in religion and Syro-Oriental in worship”…

The Church has some 29 Eparchies. 13 are outside Kerala including one in the United States of America.

The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago is an Eastern Catholic eparchy for Syro-Malabar Catholics in the United States. The Diocese, established in 2001, is the only eparchy of the Syro-Malabar Church outside India, and it has jurisdiction over Syro-Malabar Catholics in the entire US. It is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Which brings us to the one receiving all the media attention: St Thomas Syro-Malabar Church, Boston.

The Syro-Malabar Church is one of the most flourishing and promising
Catholic Churches today. This is the second largest Eastern Catholic Church in the world, with a population of around three million. At present it is the major community of the ancient Thomas Christians in India. A vibrant and growing Catholic community, the SMC boasts 26 dioceses, which account for almost half of the 8,000 diocesan clergy in the 130 Dioceses of India; the Church also provides more than 60 percent of the 82,000 missionary workers among the 15 million Catholic community in India…

The establishment of the Syro-Malabar diocese is a historical landmark in the history of the Syro-Malabar church. Until the establishment of this diocese, the Syro-Malabar church was confined to India only. The establishment of the diocese helped the immigrant Syro-Malabar Catholics to practice their rite in the U.S.A.

There are more than 100,000 Indian Catholics following this rite in U.S.A and Canada and the number is increasing on account of the immigration of professionals…

Their parish website is here.

And they seem to be doing really well.


God’s work is clearly being done. So instead of doing this (holding round-the-clock vigils):

Why not simply worship togther? It that too much to ask for, Christians?


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 3, 2011 at 17:20

Boston Church Sold to Syro Malabar Eparchy (Eastern Rite)

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But the parishioners will not leave:

The Archdiocese of Boston has sold one of its shuttered churches, but communicants insist they will continue to fight for their parish.

St. Jeremiah’s Church in Framingham, which closed in 2005, was sold for $2 million to the Syro-Malabar Eparchy — an Eastern rite Catholic community based in Chicago that is in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

The announcement has failed to budge the church’s appeals committee, which has held vigil at the church since its closure and still celebrates Sunday Mass. The church’s closure is still being fought before the Vatican.

“We are requesting the cannon law equivalent of a restraining order. We’re asking the Vatican to notify the Archdiocese of Boston about this restraining order and that our rights need to be protected until our appeal can be reviewed,” said Jackie Lemmerhirt, co-chairwoman of St. Jeremiah’s appeals committee.

“Basically, nothing here at St. Jeremiah’s has changed,” she said.

Since June 2008, the Syro-Malabar community has had “full pastoral and liturgical presence” at St. Jeremiah, according to the Archdiocese.

Lemmerhirt said St. Jeremiah’s parishioners have had a very good relationship with the Syro-Malabar Church.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 2, 2011 at 19:45

Archdiocese Lists Priests Accused of Abuse

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Cardinal Seán O’Malley has released a list of 134 priests and twodeacons accused of abuse in Boston archdiocese. It comes ‘after serious and thoughtful consideration and prayer’:

Boston — The Archdiocese of Boston on Thursday published a partial list of clergy members accused of sexual abuse, nearly a decade after a scandal erupted here involving widespread abuse by priests and revelations that the archdiocese had been shielding molesters for years.

Victim advocacy groups have long pressed the archdiocese to publish such a list, a step that a number of other dioceses have already taken. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley first suggested in 2009 that he would publish a list; diocesan officials said this week that it had taken two years to gather the necessary feedback and weigh complicated issues like the due process rights of priests whose cases had not been fully adjudicated.

In an open letter, Cardinal O’Malley said he had decided to publish a list of 132 priests and two deacons “after serious and thoughtful consideration and prayer.” They include priests whom the church or courts have found guilty of sexually abusing a child, others who left the priesthood before or after accusations of abuse and dead priests who have been publicly accused of abuse.

The list, published in a searchable database on the diocese’s Web site, also includes 22 current diocesan priests who remain on administrative leave while their cases are investigated.

Separately, Cardinal O’Malley has listed 25 priests who were publicly accused of molesting children but for whom the archdiocese found the accusations to be unsubstantiated.

“My deepest hope and prayer is that the efforts I am announcing today will provide some additional comfort and healing for those who have suffered from sexual abuse by clergy,” Cardinal O’Malley said in the letter.

The names of an additional 91 accused diocesan priests have not been listed. They include 62 dead priests who have not been publicly accused and 22, mostly still alive, who have not been publicly accused and could not be proved to have molested children. Cardinal O’Malley also chose not to publish the names of clergy members belonging to religious orders or other dioceses who were accused of sexual abuse while working in the Boston Archdiocese. He said it was the responsibility of their orders or dioceses to do so, an explanation that angered victim advocates. Victims’ groups said at least 70 such clergy members had been accused, including some thought to have had multiple victims.

“This is shameless hairsplitting,” said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

In addition to names of accused priests, Cardinal O’Malley’s list includes the year each was ordained and whether he is alive. For living priests, it includes whether the accusation has been substantiated or is still under investigation. There are links to the assignment histories of each accused priest, said the Rev. Richard M. Erikson, vicar general of the archdiocese.

“It’s all been in the public domain,” Father Erikson said. “But in terms of a systematic listing, this is the first time we have consolidated the information in a user-friendly way.”

The database does not include photographs or details of accusations.

Some victims’ groups said the list was commendable but flawed, partly because it did not include priests from religious orders or any names that were not already in the public domain.

“If O’Malley’s goal were truly to reach as many victims as possible, and to protect as many children as possible, he would have released the longest possible list today,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of, which tracks records in abuse cases.

Father Erikson said that Cardinal O’Malley consulted with a lay advisory board, priests, survivors and others before deciding whose names to include. About 30 other dioceses, including the Archdioceses of Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, have already published names of accused priests.

Cardinal O’Malley, who replaced Cardinal Bernard Law in 2003, has spent much of his tenure trying to restore faith in a church rocked by the abuse scandal. Diocesan officials emphasized that even before publishing the list, Cardinal O’Malley had put in place a number of procedures meant to prevent sexual abuse and help victims heal.

David Clohessy, the national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that while the list was “helpful,” it would leave people confused about whether many of the priests on it — the ones who have not been officially found guilty — were predators.

The full text of the Cardinal’s open letter is here.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 26, 2011 at 12:30

Destroying a Historic Chapel

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Just caught these photos of the destruction of a historic chapel in Boston:

BCI has been writing about the moral, ethical, and fiscal demolition of the Boston Archdiocese and squandering of patrimony for more than a year now.  For those who find it difficult to believe that all of the astonishing things we write about at BCI are really happening–and they are– we offer today an unexpected continuation of our series on the relocation of the remains of the late Cardinal O’Connell by showing you a few pictures of the physical demolition of the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To be fair, the land is owned by Boston College and BCI was not sure of exactly who retained and managed the demolition crew when we first wrote this post. (Wednesday evening, a commenter said that in fact it was the RCAB who hired the demolition team).

Here, once again, is a photo of the chapel before the demolition, and then several pictures sent to us yesterday by “Brighton Neighbor” from during and after the demolition.

Below are pictures of the site after the chapel was demolished.
War zone?

Shocking and sacrilegious.

The whole piece is here.

UPDATE:   Diocesan Demolition: Correction and Updates.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 4, 2011 at 20:35

Boston Archdiocese to Sell Six Churches

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Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley is moving to sell six shuttered churches belonging to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, removing the sacred standing of the church buildings through decrees made public today.

The decrees satisfy a requirement under canon law that allows the archdiocese to pursue bids to sell the properties for redevelopment.

In three of the churches, according to church officials, parishioners have maintained protest vigils since their parishes were shut down in the middle of the last decade, occupying the church buildings and holding their own lay services.

A highly organized group of protesters at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, in Scituate, for instance, has worked in shifts for years to maintain an around-the-clock presence.

Two other closed churches, in Everett and Framingham, will live on as houses of worship, O’Malley has decided.

For years, the fate of the closed churches has been the source of a dispute between local Catholic faithful and their archdiocese. Angry Catholics have fought the closings, taking their case to the highest authorities at the Vatican. The Vatican appeals were rejected last year.

O’Malley, who had promised not to sell the buildings until the appeals to Rome were exhausted, is now asking vigil protesters to accept that it is finally time to move on.

“He would ask the faithful to respect his decision, and in areas where there are vigils that there would be a peaceful conclusion,” said the Very Rev. Arthur M. Coyle, the cardinal’s liaison on the long process to prepare the churches for sale.

The protesters, who had anticipated the move by the cardinal, promised today to continue their fight…

The above and more here.

A sign of the desperate times.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 14, 2011 at 20:45


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