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Newly Constructed St Stephen's Parish Church at Thope, Kollam
Bangalore, Dec. 9. The newly constructed parish church of St. Stephen's, Thope (Kollam) was blessed by Rt Rev. Dr. Stanly Roman (Bishop of Kollam)on 8 December 2011.
Blessing of St Stephen`s, Thope (Kollam)
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The ceremonies that began at 3.15 pm with the reception to the bishop lasting more than 3.5 hours.  When the procession reached the main entrance of the new church, Fr. Thomas Meckattuparambil (Rector and Parish Priest) welcomed the gathering.  The Bishop, in the presence of Fr. Thomas Anchukandam (INK Provincial) and nearly 40 priests, handed over the key of the church to the parish priest, cut the ribbon at the main entrance and ushered the faithful into the church.  During the first part of the rites, the main celebrant sprinkled holy water on all the walls of the church as well as the faithful.  The second part consisted of the reading of the Word of God and the homily.  The litany of all the saints introduced the important rite of consecration.  The Bishop implanted the relic of St. John Bosco on the altar.  After the Bishop anointed the altar with holy oil, concelebrating priests anointed the twelve crosses inserted on the wall of the church.  The Bishop officiated at the Eucharist that resumed with the offertory procession.   At the end of the Eucharist, the parish priest proposed the vote of thanks.  He gratefully recalled those who had played significant roles in the construction and the Bishop honoured them with mementos.  The gathering specially hailed the service rendered by Fr. Paulson Kannappally, the former Rector and parish priest, who initiated the work in 2007.  The ceremonies concluded with the blessing of the flag post and the grotto by the Bishop.

The public function, held after the sacred rites, was attended by Msgr. KJ Yesudas (Vicar General, Kollam Diocese), Fr. Thomas  Anchukandam (Provincial), Mr. Shibu John (Honourable Minister of Labour, Govt. of Kerala), Mrs. Prasanna Ernest (the Mayor of Kollam), Mr PG Thomas (District Collector), Mr Gurudasan (MLA) and several other dignitaries.

The history of St. Stephen's Parish dates back to 1800.  It was entrusted to the Salesians in 1975.  Ever since then, several Salesians have given themselves to the welfare of the people, especially through the Fishermen Community Development Programmes.  The Catholic community of the parish consists of more than 2000 families.
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