St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Scarborough
A Historic Overview
People from Kerala began migrating to Canada in the late nineteen sixties. In the seventies, there was a dramatic increase in the number of Malayalee Catholics settling down in Toronto area. Recognizing the needs and aspirations of this group, the Archdiocese of Toronto agreed to have a formal place of worship to meet their spiritual needs. On 18th February 1977, Rev. Fr. Thomas Thottunkal was appointed as the Chaplain of Malayalee Catholics in Toronto by the Archdiocese of Toronto. On November 22, 1982, this group celebrated its first Holy Mass as a community of Kerala Catholics, at St. Timothy Catholic School. Within a few weeks, His Eminence Cardinal Carter appointed Fr. Joseph Kannath as the first pastor of this community and officially called it as the St. Thomas the Apostle Mission for Malayalee Catholics.
In December 1983, this place of worship moved from St. Timothy School Gym to Precious Blood Church in Scarborough with regular Sunday Mass. In 1998, under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Varghese Pudussery CMI, the venue of our Parish was moved from Precious Blood Church to Holy Cross Church in East York. The Pastoral care was entrusted to the CMI fathers from Kerala. In 2006, to accommodate the growing needs of our community, the Parish was moved back to Precious Blood Church. In 2007, as the number of families grew and settled in East and West regions of Toronto, the Archdiocese gave temporary permission to conduct Mass in Mississauga also. In July 2007, the first mass was conducted by Fr. Jose Thaiparampil at St. Francis Xaviour Catholic Church, Mississauga. On October 26, 2007, the Archdiocese gave permission to have the Holy Mass celebrated on every Sunday in Mississauga.
In the year 2005, Catechism classes were introduced by Fr. Jose Thaiparampil. Approximately 50 students were enrolled in the program. 2009 witnessed the establishment of Family Units. Fr. Issac Tharayil divided the community into 23 Family units based on area of residence. Towards the end of 2009, the Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago took over the Liturgical matters of the Mission and subsequently the Mission was renamed as St. Thomas Syro Malabar Mission.
On May 12, 2009, the General Body meeting held at the Nativity of Our Lord Church in Etobicoke under the leadership of Fr. Jose Thaiparampil and Fr. Thomas Kalarathil, unanimously decided to build a church for the Mission. One of the parishioners, Mr. Thomas Kannampuzha offered to donate 6 acres of land for building the Church at the Northeast corner of Britannia and Credit view Road in Mississauga. However, after lengthy research and feasibility studies, the plan to build the Church at that location had to be abandoned due to government regulatory matters.
Fr. James Cherickal was appointed as the pastor of St. Thomas Syro -Malabar Mission in 2010. Under his leadership, the Family Units were further strengthened, and Parish Council elections were conducted. He also established separate Parish Councils for East and West Regions. Building a Church for the Mission became the primary goal. Fr. Kurian Puramadathil was appointed Associate pastor in 2010. During this period, we initiated two Ministries in the Parish: Tiberius Ministry and Good Samaritan Ministry. These ministries were to help the new immigrants and the financially disadvantaged members of the Community. After the departure of Fr. Cherickal, Fr. Anthony Thundathil and Fr. Vinod Madathiparambil of Syro Malabar Diocese of Chicago, looked after the Spiritual needs of our Parish from April to September 2012.
Fr. Mathew Periappuram was appointed as the pastor of St. Thomas Syro Malabar Mission and he served the community from October 2012 to May 2013. By June 2013, the West Region raised sufficient funds to purchase a Mission Centre and thus, the house at 1434 Torrington Drive, Mississauga became the first Mission House of the community. Fr. Jose Kalluvelil was appointed pastor of the Mission on September 06, 2013. General Body meetings were conducted in East and West regions separately and strengthened Family Units. Parish Council election was conducted in the West Region. He successfully raised funds in both regions towards the Church buildings. In December 2014, the East Region bought a Mission House at 4 Caley Terrace, Scarborough.
By this time the East Region had 550 registered families and 250 Catechism students and in the West 596 families became members and 300 students attended Sunday classes. The number of Family Units became in 10 in the East 19 in the West. St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Mission bought the first church for the East Region at 115 lonview Road, Scarborough and later another Church for the West Region at 6630 Turner Valley Blvd, Mississauga.
On August 06, 2015, Pope Francis created an Exarchate for Syro-Malabar Catholics in Canada and appointed Mar Jose Kalluvelil as the first Exarch. In the same year on September 19, 2015, Mar Jose Kalluvelil was consecrated as the Bishop of the Exarchate.
Fr. Thomas Valummel became the Pastor of St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Church, Scarborough. The family units became stronger and under the new parish council the parish flourished. Many new families came to Scarborough region and became members of the parish. Pastorlly minded, Fr. Thomas visited all families to bless them. When he went back to his home diocese, Pala in 2018, Fr Jacob Edakalatoor became the pastor of the Church with Fr. Daris Cherian Moolayil as the Associate pastor. Daffodils, the parish bulletin began to be published on a monthly basis. Mr. Joseph Akkarapattiyakkal and Sabu Varghese became the trustees in April 2018. Mr. Johnson Irimpan became the trustee in June 2019 replacing Mr. Sabu Varghese. On June 24, 2019 the Exarcate of Mississauga became an Eparchy and Mr. Jose Kalluvelil was installed as its first Bishop by the Major Archbishop, George Cardinal Alencherry.
On June 25, St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Church, Scarborough was bifurcated and the new parish of St. Joseph Church, Oshawa was erected. St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Church, Scarborough was made a Forane Church and Fr. Jose Alencherry became its first Pastor. Varnam 2019 was staged in December as a fund raiser which brought $50,000 to the parish building fund. In January, 2020 “Santarts” (St. Thomas Arts) was established with Malayalam, Music, Dance and Cultural academies and Santarts Band as its facilities. Mrs. Shyla Thomas became its first principal. In May, 2020, election to the new Parish Council was conducted from the 12 Family Units. The Parish Council at its first meeting on May 16, 2020 elected Mr. Bejoy Varghese Kelamparampil and Mr. John Joseph Edathazha.