Our History, through its glorious years …
The Syro-Malabar catholic community in Powai has a long and proud history among Mumbai Malayalee Catholics, which has its beginning with the migration of Keralites to this mega city in search of greener pastures. The early members had a never-ending quest for keeping their identity as St. Thomas Christian, even in their struggle to survive in this mega city, which is a confluence of various religions, culture and tradition from different parts of India and even from outside of it. The swift realization of the great saying ‘United we survive and divided we perish’ brought Malayalee Catholics under the banner of ‘Kerala Catholic Association’ (KCA).
The modest beginning of conducting one Holy Mass in Malayalam in a month soon gave way to the regular solemn liturgical celebrations on all special occasions such as Christmas and Holy week. This community remembers with gratitude many priests, such as Rev. Fr. T O Jacob, Fr. Primus Alapatt CMI, Fr. Joseph Pulickan, Rev. Fr. Dr. Joseph Nagaroor, Rev.Fr. Andrew Athapilly CMI, Rev. Fr. George Vadekkethala, who worked tirelessly to meet the spiritual requirements of this community until the inauguration of Diocese of Kalyan for the Syro-Malabar Christians on 24th Aug, 1988, with Mar Paul Chittilapilly as its first Bishop.
The Syro-Malabar community in Powai has its beginning around this timewith Rev.Fr. Raphael Moyalan CMI taking charge as its first Parish Priest on15th September, 1988. He was followed by Rev. Frs. Antony KakkanattuV.C, Jose Vallavankottu and Msgr. Thomas Thalachira, the then VicarGeneral of Eparchy of Kalyan. Rev. Frs. Joseph Odanatt and XavierKanattu served here as Asst. Parish Priests during the tenure of Msgr.Thomas Thalachira. Rev. Fr. Dr. Antony Kollannur was appointed as theParish Priest on 31st January, 1998 and served it till 3rd Feb, 2003, when hewas appointed as the Vicar General of Eparchy of Kalyan. Rev.Fr. BennyThanninilkumthadathil served as Asst. Parish Priest from 26th Jan 2001 to04th Feb 2002. We remember with gratitude all the administrators of theBishop’s House for rendering its premises for the spiritual andorganizational purposes of this community.
During the tenure of Rev. Fr. Dr. Antony Kollannur, our tireless efforts to finda plot for the church bore fruit, but not without overcoming multiple obstaclessuch as financial limitations and legal hurdles. Thanks to the providence ofthe Almighty, the then Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Dr. Antony Kollannur, thegenerous support from our Bishop and all others in the Diocesan Curia,willing sacrifices of the parishioners, financial contributions from allbenefactors in India and abroad and meticulous planning and execution byMr. George Joseph, the long cherished dream of a parish Church buildingcame true. The foundation stone of the Church was laid on 14th April, 2000 and was consecrated on 15th August, 2000 by Mar Thomas Elavanal. After 5 years of dedicated and ever recalling service of Rev. Fr. Dr. Antony Kollannur, Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Eluvathingal took charge as Parish Priest on 3rd Feb, 2003. Rev.Fr. Shaibu Paul Malethadathil served as assistant Parish Priest during this period.
The Parish Church building underwent a renovation during the tenure of Rev. Fr. Davis Chiramel, who followed Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Eluvathingal as the Parish Priest. The Church was consecrated by His Beatitude late Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil along with our Bishop Mar Thomas Elavanal on 20th Dec, 2004. Rev. Fr.Sebastian Mudakkalil was the Asst. Parish Priest during this period.
The first Pastoral visit to the parish by our Bishop was conducted on 27th Feb, 2005, which is an enriching and cherishing memory, where the Bishop met the Parish Council and the various associations. He also took time to visit the bedridden at home. The day of pastoral
visit concluded with an Agape in the evening, with the Bishop leading all the attendee parishioners. The parish community was elevated to the status of a Parish on 19th March, 2006 by Mar Thomas Elavanal. Rev.Fr. Davis Chiramel was transferred from the parish after one year of remarkable service and Rev. Fr. Davis Pulikkottil took charge as Parish Priest on 6th September, 2005.
After 3 years of dedicated service, on 1st June, 2008 Rev.Fr. Davis Pulikootil was transferred and Rev. Fr. Dr. Baburaj Kakkassery took charge as the Parish Priest. The parish community purchased the adjacent room to the Church building in August 2008 with the purpose of having an additional exit. Meanwhile the construction of the presbytery at the basement of the church was begun. During the tenure of Rev. Fr. Martin Velliyamkandathil as the acting Parish Priest, the presbytery was completed and was blessed by Bishop Mar Thomas Elavanal on 25th April, 2010.
During the tenure of Rev. Fr. Shibu Pulickal as the acting parish priest, the second pastoral visit of our Bishop took place from 19th to 30th October, 2010, and it was marked by the Bishop visiting each family unit of the parish. It concluded on 31st October with the Bishop spending the entire day with the Parish community. On 1st Nov, 2010 Rev. Fr. Justin Kallely took charge as the Parish Priest and still continues to guide us towards the eternal place. We believe that the presence of a resident parish priest helps the overall development of the parishioners in addition to the religious directions.
Currently, St. Joseph Parish has 11 family units along with associations such as Pithruvedi, Mathrusangham, Kalyan Eparchy Youth, Altar boys, Prayer Group, Catechism department and the Church Choir to provide social cohesiveness and religious ambience to the parishioners.
The parish is blessed with the presence of a convent of the congregation of the Daughters of St. Mary Leuca (DML). The congregation started their house in the parish on 15th March, 1993.The Sisters have immensely contributed towards the spiritual upliftment and social welfare of the parish through their family visits, involvement in catechism classes, assistance in the liturgical celebrations and helping tailoring classes. The parish community was fortunate to have Holy Family sisters for a short period of Time, when they started their house on 8th June, 1989 and later shifted to Ulhasnagar. We register our gratitude towards the Holy Family Congregation and to the congregation of the Daughters of St. Mary of Leuca.
One of the main social development programmes that the parish community is involved in is the tailoring classes, which began with the generosity of Shree Lallu Sharma, who donated a shop in Bhawani Industrial Estate. This charitable work that gives hope and means of living to the poor ladies around the Powai Parish, is continued to date, first under the supervision of SABS sisters at Bhandup and later by the DML sisters of Powai and currently under St. Joseph nodal centre of Karunya Trust. Other charitableworks of the Parish community include the educational help to needy students and partial hospital expenses of poor patients. The parish community recalls those generous hearts that make these works of charity possible.
The years gone by tell us how active the Almighty is in our parish, through His blessings and through the guiding and caring hands of all the church authorities. Our achievements make us proud and constantly inspire us to move forward with renewed enthusiasms, commitment and togetherness in Jesus Christ.