St. Mary’s Mission – News

St. John Ogilvie Church, Blantyre, G72 9XD


Syro-Malabar Chaplain – Fr. Johny Vettickal Abraham  Contact No. 07983 892996

Syro-Malabar Mass in Malayalam – Sundays at 2.00pm followed by Catechism classes 1-12 Standard

St. John Ogilvie Church, Broompark Road, Blantyre, G72 9XD

All welcome.

First Friday of the month

Eucharistic Adoration, Novena to St. Alphonsa, and Holy Mass at 5.00pm


Saturday 26th March 2022

Some members of our parish community climbed Tinto Hill, following the Way of the Cross during the Great Lenten Season.  It was a beautiful day of spiritual practice with the benefit of physical exercise and community spirit.  Well done to everyone who participated.

23rd October 2021

The UK Syro-Malabar Youth Program,  last weekend, took part in Adoration for Encounter En-route 2021.  This was led by @jesusyouthuk who conducted Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in fourteen (14) different churches between Thursday 21st and Saturday 23rd October.  The UK Syro-Malabar Youth Program aims to strengthen and revive youth participation in the church and this was a truly amazing experience for the youth of our parish. Well done to everyone who participated.

5th September 2021

Inauguration of our Catechism programme 2021-2022.  On this occasion, we distributed to 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners of last year’s catechism examination.

15th August 2021

Feast Day celebration of St. Mary’s Mission, Hamilton.

Today we celebrated our Patronal Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Holy Mass at 11.00am followed by a special devotion,  procession, and distribution of offertory.  It was a happy and joyous occasion for everyone.

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is one of the 23 Eastern (Oriental) Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome. It has over 5 million believers. It is a sui juris (autonomous) Church governed by the Synod of Bishops headed by the Major Archbishop.

The Syro-Malabar Church is an Apostolic Church which traces its origin to St. Thomas, the Apostle, who landed at Cranganore (Muziris) in 52 AD and founded seven Christian communities in Kerala, at Palayur, Cranganore, Kokkamangalam, Kottakavu (Parur), Quilon, Niranam, and Chayal. St. Thomas was martyred in A.D. 72 at Mylapore, near Chennai/Madras. The early Christian community in India was known as St. Thomas Christians. They were also called Nazranis, meaning those who follow the path of Jesus of Nazareth.

From early centuries, the Church of St. Thomas Christians came into contact with the East Syrian Church, which also traces its origin to Apostle Thomas. From the 4th century until the end of the 16th century Thomas Christians were governed by Bishops who were appointed and sent by the Patriarch of the East Syrian Church. The Thomas Christians developed a unique system of ecclesiastical administration with the Bishops from Persia in charge of liturgical and spiritual matters and the local Archdeacon of All India (A priest) heading the Christian community and handling the administration of the Church through Palliyogam (early form of Synod).Thus St. Thomas Christians shared the liturgical, theological, spiritual and other ecclesiastical traditions with the East Syrian Church; in socio-cultural organization and practices, however, they were distinctively Indian.

With the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th Century a new era in the life of St. Thomas Christians started. East Syrian Bishops stopped coming; Archdeacon lost his position; and what followed was the Latinization of the liturgy and the ecclesial administration. It resulted in a division of St. Thomas Christians into two groups, of which the group who resisted Latin rule formed a separate community under the Archdeacon. Later they accepted the theological and liturgical traditions of the West Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and came to be known as the Jacobite Church. They were further divided into several independent Churches. The group that remained faithful to Rome came to be known as the Syro-Malabar Church, a name which means Syrian Christians of the Malabar Coast (Kerala).

In 1887 Syro-Malabar Catholics got their hierarchy restored by Pope Leo XIII. It has initiated a process of liturgical reform and restoration of the oriental identity. In 2004, the Holy See granted full administrative powers to the Syro-Malabar Church, including the power to elect bishops. Mar George Cardinal Alencherry is the prensent Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Church. At present Syro-Malabar Church has got 35 Eparchies (Dioceses) and over 5 million faithful. Today Syro-Malabar Church is present all over the world with its effective witness to the faith.

Kerala’s Christian presence (18% of 34.8 Million over the geographical area of 15,005 Square Mile) has immensely contributed to the overall development of the State, especially in the areas of education and health care. This has encouraged the young people to migrate to other parts of India and the World in search of better job opportunities. Today, there are significant number of Syro-Malabar faithful in the Middle East, the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and the African Countries. During the 1960s and 70s, small numbers of professionals migrated to the UK from Kerala, and found work in the NHS as well as other occupations.

The next distinctive phase of migration from Kerala to the UK occurred from 2000 onwards. Many families had migrated from the Middle Eastern counties at this time as well. With the help of the Syro-Malabar priests working in the Latin parishes or studying at various universities, communities were formed. At present we have around 8000 families in Great Britain, mostly belonging to the age group of 30-50. We thankfully remember the local ordinaries and parish priests who welcomed the Syro-Malabar families and provided them with pastoral care and support.

‘Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi’, Holy Father John Paul II’s instruction on the pastoral care of migrants, observes the growing number of Eastern Rite Catholics in the Western World and their duty and right to follow their liturgical tradition. ‘Eastern Rite Catholic migrants, whose numbers are steadily increasing, deserve particular pastoral attention. In their regard we should first of all remember the juridical obligation of the faithful to observe their own rite everywhere insofar as possible, rite being understood as their liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary heritage (cf. CCEO Can. 28, §1 and PaG 72).’

On 28 July 2016, our Holy Father Pope Francis established the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Great Britain (for England, Scotland & Wales), with its see in Preston at St Alphonsa Cathedral (formerly St Ignatius Church, Preston). Among the 35 Eparchies of the Syro-Malabar Church, Eparchy of Great Britain is the third, outside of India. The Syro-Malabar Church is grateful to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and Scotland for the support to the new Eparchy. Bishop Michael G Campbell of Lancaster was directly instrumental in the establishment of the Eparchy. The existed 181 Mass centres are now formed into 72 Missions of the new the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Great Britain to serve nearly 38,000 Syro-Malabar Catholics in Great Britain. Currently, there are around 60 priests working for the community in England, Wales and Scotland assisting Mar. Joseph Srampickal, Bishop of Syro Malabar Eparchy of Great Britain. The new eparchy is rich in terms of the human resources and the active liturgical and spiritual life of the faithful.

It is in 2001 a group of Syro-Malabar Catholics landed in Glasgow to render their service in the health sector and settled in and around Cambuslang. Rev. Fr. Paul Morton of St. Bride’s Cambuslang acquainted them and helped them spiritually. He opened the doors of St. Bride’s for the liturgical celebrations in the Syro-Malabar rite. In 2006 Fr. Sebastian Kallath VC was sent by Commission for Evangelisation and Pastoral Care of the Migrants of Syro-Malabar Bishops Synod to Motherwell diocese as the Chaplain of the Syro-Malabar Community. Fr. Sebastian resided in St. Bride’s, Cambuslang; and it became the home of Syro-Malabar liturgical and social gatherings.

In 2011, St. Cuthbert’s and St. Ninian’s formed a linked parish.  This saw the arrival of Fr. Sebastian Kallath, VC, as Assistant Priest and established our association with the Syro-Malabar Community. When Fr. Sebastian returned to India later that year, Fr. Joseph Vembadamthara VC, took over as Assistant Priest and Chaplain of the Community and in a short while, the Syro-Malabar Community became a more prominent feature in our parish.

In 2016, Bishop Joseph Toal designated St. Cuthbert’s as the permanent base for the Syro-Malabar Catholics residing in the territory of the Motherwell Diocese. On 1st May 2016, Rev. Fr. Gerard Bogan, then Parish Priest of St. Cuthberts and the local faithful welcomed the Syro-Malabar Catholics wholeheartedly and supported it to grow into an active community. Today that mutual co-existing and faith sharing has attained new heights with the help of  Rev. Fr. Charles Dornan, the present Parish Priest of St. Ninian’s and St. Cuthbert’s. On 24th November 2018, the community was established as a Syro-Malabar Mission by the name, ‘St. Mary’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Hamilton’ with Fr. Joseph Vembadamthara VC as Mission Director, by the Decree of Mar Joseph Srampickal, Bishop of Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Great Britain.

In April 2021, Father Joseph left the parish of St. Ninian’s and St. Cuthbert’s to return to India, before taking up another post in Germany.  His replacement was Father Johny Vettickal Abraham.

The Syro-Malabar Community brings colour, vibrancy and enthusiasm to their profession of the Catholic Faith as witnessed in many events like Feast celebrations, Retreats and Renewal programmes, Catechetical and spiritual formation of children and the faith expressions and activities of various pious organisations.

Each year, to mark the Feast of the Assumption, the Patronal Feast of the Syro-Malabar Community, St. Cuthbert’s Church is decorated with streamers, flowers and ribbons.  The church building is full of people singing, praying and celebrating their faith.

The Boys Brigade Pipe Band outside the church indicates that a procession through the surrounding streets of Burnbank is about to begin.  The procession is joined by parishioners of St. Ninian’s and St. Cuthbert’s Parish.  A large statue of Our Lady is carried through the streets.  People watch and wave from their doorsteps.  It is a wonderful spectacle.

After the celebration of Mass and the procession, everyone is invited to the church hall for food and to continue with the festivities.  It is one of many events that bring meaning and exuberance to the community. The Syro-Malabar community is a community that enjoys being together, supporting one another and living the Word of God.