The day Kerala devouts remained glued to TVOctober 12th, 2008 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS
Kozhikode, Oct 12 (IANS) The melody of Gregorian chants invited visitors to catholic institutions in Kerala Sunday afternoon, as the devout remained glued to TV channels bringing live the canonisation ceremony of Sister Alphonsa in Vatican.The mood was solemn at rectories, convents and in ashrams, as they watched in silence the first Indian native, a Keralite nun, being elevated to sainthood.
At Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) convents, the mood was of subdued euphoria, which was palpable as nuns solemnly watched the ceremony. Sister Alphonsa belonged to the FCC congregation.
“We were in preparation for this moment for the last two years,” said Sister Francin, as she watched FCC Superior-General Sister Ceelia walking in solemn procession with the holy relic in Vatican.
At Assissi Bhavan, the FCC provincial headquarters in Kozhikode, the scene was a group of around 20 nuns sitting on benches around and a dozen aspirants squatting on the floor watching the television.
The FCC had around 300 members in Vatican taking part in the ceremony Sunday.
One of the nuns watching the TV held a circular, from FCC headquarters, which bear the names of the nuns and their role in the Vatican ceremonies. As the ceremonies unfolded, the participants were jubilantly identified and called out to by those in the gathering.
The FCC congregation has 20 provinces and around 6,700 members.
“Of the 20 provinces, 13 are in Kerala,” said Sister Annie Jose, Mother Superior at Assissi Bhavan. The nuns of FCC convents kept a vigil and prayed all through last night and in the morning for the successful conduct of the long awaited canonisation.
“This in reality is the recognition of the sufferings she (Saint Alphonsa) endured. It indeed gives us courage to face challenges like that in Orissa,” she said.
One of the members of the congregation, Mable, 30, died in the last week of September succumbing to malaria she contracted while hiding in a forest in Orissa following the violence against Christians.
Catholic churches across Kerala celebrated the canonisation in various ways.
“We have organised a feast of friendship at the church this evening after the mass. All the families in the parish have been asked to bring the required dishes for the feast,” said Subin Kizhakkayil, assistant vicar at St. Antony’s church in Kozhikode, as he watched Vatican ceremony at the rectory.
In some other churches, sweetmeats were distributed. In all the churches, novena was held on the nine preceding days in preparation for the canonisation.
“Today is the final day for the prayer,” said Subin.