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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"I dwell with the crushed and the dejected“ (Is 57:15)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month


Saint Thomas
Feast Day - July 3

Saint Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus (meaning "Twin," or "Thomas" in Aramaic) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. He is best known for questioning Jesus' resurrection after death when first told of it, followed by his confession of faith as both "My Lord and my God" on seeing and touching Jesus' tangible and physical wounded body in Gospel of Saint John 20:28.

Traditionally he is said to have traveled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, traveling as far as India.

St. Thomas is believed to have sailed to India in to spread the Christian faith among the Jews, some of whom had migrated to Kerala. St. Thomas landed in Kodungallur in 52 AD, in the company of a Jewish merchant Abbanes (Hebban) He is supposed to have landed at the ancient port of Muziris (which was destroyed in 1341 AD due to a massive flood that realigned the coasts) near Kodungalloor. According to tradition, the apostle baptised several people who are today known as Saint Thomas Christians or Nasranis. He went to Palayoor (near present-dayGuruvayoor), a Hindu priestly community at that time. He left Palayoor in 52 AD for the southern part of what is now Kerala State, where he established the Ezharappallikal, or "Seven and Half Churches". These churches are at Kodungallur, Kollam, Niranam (Niranam Church), Nilackal (Chayal), Kokkamangalam, Kottakkayal (Paravoor), Palayoor (Chattukulangara) and Thiruvithamcode Arappally – the half church.

St. Thomas was killed in India in 72 AD, attaining martyrdom at St. Thomas Mount near Mylapore (part ofChennai, capital of Tamil Nadu). He was buried on the site of Chennai's San Thome Basilica in the Dioceses of Saint Thomas of Mylapore. The Acts of Thomas and oral traditions (only recorded in writing centuries later) provide weak and unreliable evidence but the tradition is that Thomas, having aroused the hostility of the local priests by making converts, fled toSt. Thomas's Mount four miles (6 km) southwest of Mylapore. He was supposedly followed by his persecutors, who transfixed him with a lance as he prayed kneeling on a stone. His body was brought to Mylapore and buried inside the church he had built. The present Basilica is on this spot. It was first built in the 16th century and rebuilt in the 19th.

After his murder and death by spear in India, the remaining relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle were enshrined as far as Mesopotamia in the 3rd century, and later moved to various places. In 1258 they were brought to Abruzzo, in Ortona, Italy, where they have been held in the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle. He is often regarded as the Patron Saint of India, and the name Thomas remains quite popular among Saint Thomas Christians of India. Remains of some of his buildings, influenced by Greek architecture, indicate that he was a great builder.

St. Ephraem, the great doctor of the Syrian Church, writes in the forty-second of his "Carmina Nisibina" that the Apostle was put to death in India, and that his remains were subsequently buried in Edessa, brought there by an unnamed merchant. A Syrian ecclesiastical calendar of an early date confirms the above and gives the merchant a name. The entry reads: "3 July, St. Thomas who was pierced with a lance in 'India'. His body is at Urhai [another name for Edessa or Urfa] having been brought there by the merchant Khabin. A great festival." St. Ephraem, the great doctor of the Syrian Church, noted that relics of Thomas were held in Edessa. A long public tradition in the church at Edessa honouring Thomas as the Apostle of 'India' resulted in several surviving hymns that are attributed to Ephrem, copied in codices of the 8th and 9th centuries. References in the hymns preserve the tradition that Thomas' bones were brought from 'India' to Edessa by a merchant, and that the relics worked miracles both in 'India' and at Edessa. A pontiff assigned his feast day and a king and a queen erected his shrine.The Thomas traditions became embodied in Syriac liturgy, thus they were universally credited by the Christian community there. There is also a legend that Thomas had met the Biblical Magi on his way to 'India'.

He is the patron saint of architects, construction workers, cooks.

 
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39th National Youth Retreat

Our annual National Youth Retreat will be held at the Divine Retreat Centre. Come and let the word of God refresh you. Simultaneous retreats for couples, children and Bible nursery to be held. Contact Divine Youth for more details.

Date: May 19 - 24, 2019

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Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - drcsydney@gmail.com. Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2018 - December, 2018

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Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, has announced several English and Malayalam language retreats to be led by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC. All are welcome.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2019

POWER 2019 at Divine Retreat Centre

DRC is back with the highlight of the year: the 14th International Youth Conference - POWER 2019. The very best international preachers and gospel bands will be here to lead us into worship. Be there to experience a totally different atmosphere of prayer. A Couples' Retreat and a Kids' Retreat will be held simultaneously. Don't miss it.

Date: July 21 - July 26, 2019

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