Parishes

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Tangasseri - Holy Cross Church

Liturgical Timing

Daily Mass:
Sunday Mass: 6.30 a.m., 8.00 a.m.
Confessions:
Sunday School:

The history of the Holy Cross Parish is interwoven with that of Olikara chapel.  Holy Cross also shares the heritage of the splendid history of Tangasseri.  The parish comprises not only the old English Tangasseri enjoying personal jurisdiction but also the coastal belt called Tangasseri coast.  Thus Holy Cross became a melting point between two cultures – the Anglo Indians and the Fishing community.  It is presumed that St. Thomas Christians were the early Christians in the area.  The arrival of Portuguese and Dutch in Tangasseri gave rise to another church in the vicinity of Infant Jesus Pro-Cathedral.  A separate Church was built in 1845 and erected as parish in 1848.  Santa Cruz church was built by Jovakin Nevis. (Dominican) Bishop of KodungallorCochin in 1848.  The Bishop was buried in Santa cruz Church.  It was only from 1926 that a separate Vicar, residing in the Parish started ministering the flock.  Fr. Emmanuel Fernandez was the first Independent Vicar.  Till then Holy Cross was under the pastoral care of the vicar of vaddy.

History has it that the True Cross was rediscovered in 326 and innumerable minute particles of it were sent to every part of the Christian world.  Larger fragments were enshrined in the church of the Holy Cross at Rome and in other Basilicas.  Holy Cross Church, Tangasseri is fortunate to have this highly prized, relie, enthroned on the altar. 

Another portion of the true cross was kept in Jerusalem until the year 614 when the city was captured by the Persians who had in their array 26,000 Jews.  These were permitted to have a free hand in their formen, holy city, and they, accordingly tried to obliterate every vestige of sovereignty.  About 90,000 christians lost then lives in the siege.  Every Christian sanctuary was destroyed and the great relie of the True Cross was, taken back to Persia.  But thirteen years later, when Heraclius invaded Persia, all the former conquests had to be given up and this sacred relie also was returned and it is this event – “Triumph of the Holy Cross’ – which the church celebrates on 14 September – The feast day of Holy Cross church.

A befitting seven-day celebration including a renewal retreat marks the occasion.  3rd May, the day that commemorates the funding of the Holy Cross is earmarked for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. 

“The chimes of the Holy Cross Church tick the clock of time”.  Constructed in 1841 by Archbishop Elect, Don Manual Sam Joachin Neves and intended as a chapel for his burial, it was enlarged in 1841.  Holy Cross Church was under the Padroado (Portuguese) Mission prior to the year 1887, with the passing of the concordat between the ‘Holy See’ and the king of Portugal, the Padroado churches – of which “Holy Cross” was one – were transferred to the Propaganda Mission Holy Cross Church had to submit to the Bishop of Quilon – the local head of the Propaganda Mission.  The natives of Tangasseri were parishioners of Holy Cross church which became the melting pot of two cultures – that of the Anglo- Indians and that of the Fishing Community.

The reconstruction of the Holy Cross church commenced on 14 September 1992 and it was blessed on 15th August 1995.  The original Holy Cross Church, which had a large and separating the chancel from the nave, minute wings on either side of the Sanctuary and multi – coloured stained-glass window – panes that reflected rainbow rays of sunlight onto the altar below was demolished and the present structure erected.

Holy Cross Church, a 60-year legacy owes its greatness to a Christian vision – to glorify God’s name and establish His Kingdom.  As sons and daughters, we pray that we may so experience the Father’s loves that having been reborn by His grace and power into.  His own divine nature, which is love, we can then naturally reach out and love others, for we fully realize that to glorify God’s name and establish His Kindgom, we ourselves, have to first experience the Father’s love and generosity.  It is only then that we become living curtnesses a examples of what happens, in the life of a person who chooses to enter into the covenant with the father.  And seeing you good works, they will give glory to you Father in heaven! This is our Christian vision, the goal to be achieved as a follower of Christ.

The Catholic church began its mission on Pentecost Sunday and we believe that the Holy Spirit is the love of God who continues to dwell in us and in every good work, governing and protecting the church, directing both clergy and laity while dispensing divine grace we fully realize that as people of God we have an urgent mission, received from the risen Jesus personally, to spread His good news message, values and curtness throughout the world and we try to do our part in fulfilling this overall mission of Christian evangelization.  In the mission Christ entrusted to his apostle, He stressed the obvious marks of unity, sanctity, universality and apostolicity to save as efficient signs by which the church can be discovered and we strive to achieve this goal.  For the church to function effectively and carry on the mission entrusted to her by Jesus.  She must exercise three necessary attributes: namely authority infallibility and indefectibility.  The true church, founded by Jesus Christ to serve mentioned in every generation, must endure until the end of time.  She cannot fulfill her mission if she ever defaulted or suffered destruction Jesus promised: “When I am raised up from the earth, I will draw all men to me”.  The death of Christ on the cross makes possible the exercise of His will of universal salvation.  As long as the world  and as long.

Holy cross - church is located near the arch, the entrance to Tangasseri, a 99 acre piece of land that extends into the Arabian Sea. “Nestling among gently swaying emerald green coconut fronds and sapphire blue skies in summer, wind swept raging winds and ashen skies during the Tropical Monsoon, ‘Holy Cross Church’ bounded by the Parochial House and St. Patrick’s Elementary school on one side, and by the hallowed grounds of the cemetery on the other is a haven of peace in all seasons, a balm for the spirit.  The only sign of permanence in a raferdly changing milieu.

Tangasseri, a colonized settlement of the Anglo-Indians, was under European rule for more than few centuries.  Though the Portuguese and Dutch had left their stamp on the settlement, the all-pervading influence was British.  The people of Tangasseri were an amalgamation of Portuguese, Dutch and English culture.  They have been described as “a very interesting, old fashioned Christian Community of a religious beat of mind” with quaint manners and traditions.  By 1922, the combined population of Tangasseri.  The exodus of the community was in large part responsible for an influx of people from other parts of Kerala and the coastal belt.  Several beautiful villas that dotted Tangasseri have been demolished.  Extensive properties have been segmented into more compact ones.  A couple of existing old houses bean testimony to a culture and society that is fading out.

Holy Cross Church is deep rooted in tradition and custom.  There is a pleasant little custom wherein families visit the shrine of ‘Our Lady of Dolours’ to pray the Rosary.  They are also regular in paying homage to St. Jude, patron of difficult or hopless cases.  The way of the Cross during the Lenten season and the Novena to ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Succour on Saturdays are distinct reminders of the Catholic origins of Tangasseri.  We organize the devotion to St. Joseph in the month of March, to ‘Our Lady’ in the month of May and honour the ‘Sacred Heart in the month of June with a forty hour adoration.  October, the month of the Holy Rosary is devoutly observed by praying the Rosary every day.  There is a traditional practice of commemorating Good Friday.  When the life like statue of the occupied Jesus is earned out in the procession, we ‘experience the Divine Presence.  The sight of men, women and children going on their knees with lit candles to worship the saviour and the singing of traditional hymns are customary.

The parishioners of Holy Cross church are religious minded and there is a positive involvement on their part in the liturgy as well as in the parish activities.  75% of the people are church attenders.  Various enrichment programmes like seminars and discussions are organized at regular intervals.  Renewel retreats are conducted twice in the year, one in September in connection with the feast of the ‘triumph of the Holy Cross’ and the other in December when the feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated in all Solemnity.  Renewal Retreats in English are a special feature.  The Redemptorist Mission in September 2000 and the Inner Healing Retreat in August 2005 were greatly appreciated.

Movements like the Legion of Mary, Carmelite-third order, CLC, Vincent de paul and KCYM are active in the parish.

An association for women functions in the parish.   They are involved in several programmes and undertake different kinds of activities.  They are bent on fighting for and defending their rights and have organized an antiliquor movement.  The widows have a separate meeting place with a view to sustain themselves spiritually and materially.

There are various formation programmes for children.  They are members of the little way association.  They contribute their nute and  make use of the money collected for noble causes the altar boys’ association meets regularly and guide lines are given for their proper conduct.  They have a chance to animate the liturgy once in a year.  The children put their heart and soul into the Vacation Bible School and imbibe the true spirit.

The parish has made tremendous progress in the field of education.  There are two thousand five hundred and forty four students studying in different schools.  Three hundred and two are studying in colleges.  Eight have cleared the SET.   The parish has three Doctors, twenty six nurse, a doctor of homeopathy, a pharmacist and a dentist.  There are ten graduate engineers and three who have done their masters in engineering, eleven diploma holders and one certificate holder.  Forty-two have passed their T.T.C., forty-one have done B.Ed., one has done his M.Ed.  Twenty are professionals in the department of fisheries.  One has done his postgraduation in law.  Forty one have completed ITI.  Eleven have done courses in shorthand and type writing.  Eighteen have done their nursery training.  Six have done their MBA and eleven have got through the Kerala Government Technical Education.  Twenty have graduated in computers and twenty six are diploma holders.  One has secured the doctorate degree while four are M.Phil holders.

The Parish councils assist in the administration of the Parish.  The members of the parish council that number 48 and grouped into six wards.  The BCC groups are relatively small neighbourhood grass-root groups that serve as important balance to larger impersonal highly traditional parish structures.  Basic Christian Communities are composed of individuals and families who value close personal relationships with other active Christians, the experience of authentic community, the opportunity to serve and minister to others and the sharing of faith that is nourished by reflection on the gospels, social action and prayerful celebration of the sacraments.  Meetings are held monthly.  Groups are visited.  Feast days are celebrated and homes are blessed.  Prayer meetings are held weekly.

The Parish is active through the Liturgical year with celebrations galore.  On Sundays, the celebration of the Holy Eucharistic at 6 A.M. and 7.30. am.  On weekdays, excluding Fridays, it is at 6.30 am and 7.15 am and on Fridays it is at 6.30 am and 5. pm.  After the evening Mass, the congregation devoutly participates in the novena in honour of the Holy Cross.  Their faith is such that their prayers, are answered.  An hour of adoration is conducted every Thursday.

The important feasts that the parish celebrates are the feast of St. Sebastian in January, and that of St. Joseph in March.  Sacred Heart’s feast is kept up in June.  The feast of the Pentecost is celebrated with a nine day novena and a pentrcost vigil Mass in English.  The feast of the ‘Triumph of the Holy Cross’ falls on 14 September.  A eleven day celebration marks the feast of the confraternity that falls on 8 December the feast day of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

The KCYM is at the forefront of the activities of the parish.  They organized an ante pan masala drive the  Sunday School of the parish functions well.  Catholic students from the first standard to the twelfth  standard attend catechism classes.  They are five hundred and ninety six in member twenty five teachers take time off their busy schedule to impart to these children the basic principles of Christianity.

Holy Face Convent comes under the jurisdiction of the Holy Cross Parish.  This house of the congregation of Benedictine sisters for reparation to the Holy Face was founded in Tangasseri in 1993.  The chief apostolate of the Congregation is hospital work and feeding the poor. The only institution in the parish is the St. Patrick’s lower primary School.

The Parish Bulletin ‘Edavakashabdham’ (voice if the parish) was launched on March 1998.  It was highly appreciated by the local parishioners as well as those working abroad.

Among the parishioners of Holy Cross Church, there are some those who answered the call of God to the Religious life.  Father Ben Fernandez who was educated in Kandy, in list while Ceylon and Father Gregory Fernandez were two of Tangasseri’s early vocations to the priesthood Father Felix.  Among the nuns were Sister Justena, Bonafacia and Basilia who joined the Carmelete order and Sr. Jane de Chantal of the order of St. Joseph, in Bangalore.