Msgr. Dr. Gigi Philip
Fr. Abraham Lukose Kizhakkedath
In 1986, with the arrival of Rev. Dr. Peter Kochery, we started the Malankara Catholic movement in Toronto. At that time, there were only less than five Malankara families in Toronto. In 1991, the mission officially started its operation with a regular Malankara Qurbono once a month, and we began to have regular monthly prayer meetings. The Malankara liturgy was celebrated at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, where Dr. Peter Kochery resided. Having established a solid foundation to the Malankara community in Toronto, he handed over the charge of the Mission to the new pastor, Rev. Fr. Antony Chethipuzha, in 1992.
Under the guidance of Fr. Antony Chethipuzha, our community continued to grow as a vibrant and enthusiastic group. We continued to celebrate the Holy Qurbono once a month and on special occasions, and continued our monthly prayer meetings. At that time, Malankara liturgy was celebrated at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Toronto, where Fr. Antony was an associate pastor.
With the appointment of Rev. Fr. Gigi Philip in 1997 as our vicar, our community achieved a new dimension in our growth. The parish moved back to St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, where we celebrated the Holy Qurbono every week. Under his guidance, we started catechism classes for the young children, conducted lenten retreats, began a Christmas carol program, and continued our monthly prayer meetings. The MCYM was established in 2003.
In 2004, Rev. Fr. Cherian Mambrakuzhy was appointed as the new vicar of our Mission, and we moved to St. Eugene’s Chapel (which belongs to St. Margaret of Scotland Church). Fr. Cherian helped further to elevate our community to a renewed faith life. As a result, there emerged a greater enthusiasm in spiritual life, and our parish experienced a tremendous growth in faith. Fr. Cherian renamed our church as St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Mission, and a Malankara Qurbono in English was introduced. Under his leadership, an MCYM-NA conference was conducted in Toronto in 2008.
In 2008, Rev. Fr. John Kuriakose took charge of our Mission. We briefly moved to St. Mary’s Polish Church in downtown Toronto for six months, and returned to St. Eugene’s Chapel. In July 2009, the MCYM Toronto also took the initiative to create a monthly bulletin, which is sent to the Malankarites across the world.
In the year 2015, Fr. Gigi Philip was appointed as vicar of our mission parish and in 2016, Rev. Fr. Abraham Lukose was appointed as associate vicar of our church. On February 26, 2017, our mission was elevated to the status of church (full-fledged parish) under the St. Mary, Queen of Peace, Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy in the USA and Canada, by Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Eusebius, the first Bishop of the Eparchy. On July 3rd, 2018 we acquired a property at 11-15 Warrendale court, Etobicoke. Fr. Gigi Philip was appointed as the Syncellus of Canada on October 28, 2018, by His Excellency Most. Rev. Dr. Philipos Mar Stephanos, the current Bishop of the Eparchy.
Today, the Syro-Malankara Catholic community in Toronto has more than 70 families. The Toronto parish is a very vibrant faith community involved in spiritual and charitable activities. We have monthly prayer meetings, women’s prayer meetings, Holy Mass in English once a month, weekly adoration, annual lenten retreat, Christmas carol and Christmas Parish Night. Our mission gives special attention for the faith formation of our children and for developing the proper Malankara Catholic identity in them. Sunday School is very active under a set of committed teachers. Over the last few years, our parish has been receiving new immigrant families, and are looking forward to building the community in the years to come.