Catholics from Kerala made great strides all over the world. This achievement is due to our solidarity as a community, sharing of the apostolic faith that we received from St. Thomas, the apostle of Jesus and our great tradition. Even though Catholics from Kerala came to Australia during early 2000, our Syro-Malabar Diocese was not formed until 2013, with Mar Bosco Puthur, our first and current Bishop.
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is one of the 23 Eastern (Oriental) Catholic Churches in communion with Rome. The Syro-Malabar Church is the second largest of the 23 Oriental Catholic Churches with around 5 million believers worldwide. With its deep-rooted spirituality and high rate of vocations to priesthood and religious life, the Syro Malabar Church can be considered as the most vibrant Catholic community in the world.
In May 2007, the community members started gathering at different residences for their prayers. This congregation, like the early Christians, provided the members with a sense of community with mutual religious and material support. Under the guidance of Fr. Thomas D. Areekuzhy M.C.B.S, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Community believers, who were residing in north Brisbane suburbs gathered and formed the St. Alphonsa Catholic Community Inc, in the year 2007.
Gradually, the community grew, and the necessity of finding a larger congregation area was deeply felt. This led the community to St. Paschal’s Church, Wavell Heights in 2008. The parish priest then kindly permitted the community to gather at St. Paschal’s Church to continue with the practices, including worship services, customs and observances. These activities of the community extended to various areas, which included catechism, feast, youth programs, retreats and chain prayers.
In 2010, a committee was selected by the members of the community to oversee and structure the activities of the church. Various activities were undertaken, and the community participated in many charity events to support the indigent. Keeping up with the rich traditions of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, St. Alphonsa Catholic Community has solemnly celebrated the feast of St Alphonsa since 2009.
The community realized that no church can exist without catechesis of the children. Hence, in 2008 a full-fledged Sunday School with the name ‘St Alphonsa Sunday School’ was established at St. Paschal’s Church, Wavell Heights, under the leadership of Babu Shauryamackal.
As the St. Alphonsa Catholic Community developed, the community recognized the need to celebrate Malayalam Mass more regularly. Thus, in January 2013, St Alphonsa Catholic Community Inc. started celebrating Malayalam Mass, monthly. During this time, St. Alphonsa Sunday School expanded substantially and had nearly 150 students. Currently, more than 290 students regularly attend Sunday school. St. Alphonsa Sunday School developed a formal structure and formulated policies and procedures for its management, with a Parent Teacher Association (PTA), formed to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and the community to provide support for the development of all children personally and spiritually.
Since January 2013, St. Alphonsa Catholic Community began organising youth programs. These youth programs focused on enabling the youth to acquire the attitudes, competencies, values, and social skills that will support socialisation and healthy development which will carry them forward to be successful in adulthood. During 2013, St Alphonsa Mathrusangam (Mothers Guild) was formed and became the platform for promoting the cultural, social and spiritual aims of the community by sharing, caring and providing materialistic aid for the penurious.
St. Alphonsa Catholic Community grew causing the need for more facilities and resources to meet the ever-increasing demands of the members. Realising the development and requirements of the community, Metropolitan Archbishop of Brisbane, His Grace Mark Coleridge, gave directions to St. Alphonsa Catholic Community Inc. to move to Parish of Hendra and Northgate. Complying with the instructions given by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Brisbane, His Grace Mark Coleridge, on 16 June 2013, St Alphonsa Catholic Community Inc. relocated to Parish of Hendra/Northgate.
On 23 December 2013, Pope Francis established The Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle, Melbourne, Australia, the second Eparchy outside the territory after Chicago, USA. Pope Francis appointed Bishop Bosco Puthur, then Bishop of Major Archiepiscopal Curia, Kerala, as the first Bishop of the new Eparchy and assumed charge on the 25 March 2014.
Rev Fr Peter Kavumpuram was appointed as the first resident chaplain to St Alphonsa and St Thomas Syro-Malabar communities, Brisbane in August 2014.
On July 28th, 2015 St.Alphonsa Syro-Malabar community was raised to the status of a Parish by Bishop Mar Bosco Puthur. Rev. Fr Peter Kavumpuram was the first Parish Priest for St Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Parish Brisbane North.
Since then, the Syro-Malabar Community in Brisbane North has blessed with Holy Mass in Malayalam every day at St. John’s Church Northgate. During 2016, Fr Peter Kavumpuram transferred back to his mission work in India which followed the brief appointment of Fr. Varghese Vavolil. Due to the increasing workload of being the parish priest of two parishes, Fr Abraham Kazhunadiyil was appointed as the vicar of St Alphonsa Parish, Brisbane North and Fr Varghese became the new vicar of St Thomas Parish, Brisbane South. Since May 2019, Fr Saji Valiaveetil assumed charge as the parish priest and is the current vicar of the parish.
Currently, the community consists of 220 families (more than 700 members) and is actively led by Fr. Saji John Valiyaveetil for its spiritual growth. The parish has 10 active family units that maintain the spiritual and community spirit of the parish.
We thank God for all the blessings that he continues to shower upon our community.