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FR&A Gallery: St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Parishioners Consecrate New Church

Several hundred parishioners of St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Forane Catholic Church gathered at their new church on Elizabeth Avenue July 11 to celebrate the building’s consecration.

The church has been about 5 1/2 years in the making, said Cyriac Antony, an ex-Trustee.

The church is set on about 10 acres and can seat several hundred people. Antony said the parish has about 250 families.

The parish was formerly located in the old St. Joseph’s Church on Livingston Avenue in East Millstone. Antony said that church is being sold to a Korean Baptist congregation from Edison.

St. Thomas began with about 10 or 12 families, Antony said. It grew to about 45 prompting the purchase of the East Millstone property.

“We were there for the last 7 to 8 years, we wanted a bigger space,” he said.

The centerpiece of the church is a giant hand-painted mural on the wall behind the altar depicting Jesus and several saints. The mural took five months to paint.

Antony said the church has an agreement with the township Board of Education in which the church was able to tap into the Franklin High School’s sewer and water, and the two facilities will offer overflow parking for each other.

The ceremony was marked by a procession of visiting bishops and church officials up the church’s driveway. The procession was accompanied by men playing drums and cymbals, and women dressed in sarongs holding plates of rose petals.

Masses at the church will be conducted mainly in Malayalam, the language of the region in India from which most of the parishioners hail, and English, Antony said.

The Syro-Malabar church is an Apostolic church in India founded by St. Thomas in about 52 A.D., according to the church’s Web site.

“The Syro-Malabar Church is one of the 22 sui iuris Oriental Churches in Catholic Communion with its own particular characteristics expressed in worship, spirituality, theology and disciplinary laws,” according to the Web site.

2015 St. Thomas Church Consecration

 

 

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