“Remember, St.Thomas came to India when many of the countries of Europe had not yet become Christian. And it is really a matter of pride to us that it so happened.” – Dr.Rajendraprasad − 18th December 1955
Human beings are happy when they enjoy good health. But God has created man with a body and soul. While the body is mortal, the soul, which has been created in the image and likeness of God, is immortal. The soul of man is enriched by God’s grace, which enables him to lead a holy life. His intimacy with his creator, by a life of grace, caused him to enjoy peace and inner joy. Human beings are happy when they enjoy good health. But God has created man with a body and soul. While the body is mortal, the soul, which has been created in the image and likeness of God, is immortal. The soul of man is enriched by God’s grace, which enables him to lead a holy life. His intimacy with his creator, by a life of grace, caused him to enjoy peace and inner joy.
GROWTH OF THE CHURCH
There was a gradual growth over the years. In 1995 Rev.Fr.Vargheese Perepaddan was appointed as the director of Southern Region was Keelkattalai the centre. During his time many more new units were formed and more number of families had also taken the membership of this Church that led them to have a Church to gather for the Holy Mass and to cater to other spiritual needs based on their tradition needs and culture. For this strong faith and spirit spread like a tidal waves in the minds of the faithful. To fulfill this cause the Director of Southern Region from 1995 onwards led from the front and provided all kinds of support, encouragement and help. We cannot forget the dedicated and selfless service of Rev.Fr.Charly Allookaran, Rev. Fr.Antony Mukkattukara.
During the period 1998 − 2001 − Rev. Fr. John Tharayil was the director of the Southern Region. By God’s Grace and the tireless effort of Rev.Fr.Johnson, with the support of Holy Family Sisters, who sponsored the Land and with the co-operation of the people Fr.Tharayil could complete the construction of Sacred Heart Church on August 27, 2000. It was a milestone not only in the History of Sacred Heart Church but also in the Chennai Mission. The credit of first Syro − Malabar Church in Chennai Mission goes to Sacred Heart Church, Keelkattalai. From then on Sacred Heart Church Keelkattalai, has served as the centre of the Southern Region. Fathers who were appointed as the vicar of this church also proved that they are good shepherds of their flock. The laity of the church were also involved in both the Christian life and the administrative system of the church. It deepens the depth of co operation between the Parish Priest and the Laity. In 2003 parish Council decided to construct a shrine of Velankanni Madha . In 2003 when father Andrews Chithalan asked the director and Fr.Saji Valiyaveettil and Fr. Davis Kalapurakkal were associate directors of the church, completed the construction of the Shrine of Velankanni Madha and Noveena on every Saturday. When Fr.Ando Karippai was the Director of Sacred heart Church, he worked for the oneness of the family units and started different units around Keelkattalai and also tried to keep the basic nature of Syro − Malabar mission and patrimony. He attached top priority for the pastoral care and spiritual activities on a sustained and regular basis. The need of a hall for the Catechism classes led to the construction of the Parish Hall which was initiated and inaugurated by Rev.Fr.Sinto Chittilapilly.
CATECHISM FORMATION :
Children inculcate noble Christian values and formulate faith through catechism classes. There were only four students in the beginning of the catechism of this church but today it has increased to more than 100 children in Keelkattalai. Other than that more than 150 students are studying in three different units. Their systematic study and faith formation has great impact for deepening the faith which leads to Syro Malabar Spiritual life in the present generation. This also gives importance for the Bible study and teachings of the Church, which helps every child to grow in the systematic value of Syro − Malabar Catholic Church.
PIOUS ASSOCIATIONS :
To uphold the Christian Values in life of the faithful , church also introduced different pious association like Pithruvethi, Mathrujothis, Catholic Youth Movement, Mission League and Alter boys. Their active contributions help a lot for the smooth functioning of the Church. Family units : To keep the Syro − Malabar tradition, family meetings have been organized every months. There are 6 units and each unit has around 45 families. Each unit has their own leaders and they conduct several activities in unit level.
OTHER ACTIVITIES :
For the spiritual renewal and the enrichment of the faithful, Sacred Heart Church Keelkattalai,conducts three days’Charismatic convention every year. In 2011 church conducted Shalom Festival by Shalom Team from Kerala
Important Feast like Feast of Sacred Heart, Feast of Velankanni Madha and the Feast of St.Sebastian, Onam etc., are celebrated every year in a grand way which renews the faith, unity and co-operation among the faithful
Church also gives importance to celebrating Catechism Annual Day, which provides the children to exhibit their talents.
Laity conference 2011 was the first laity conference in Chennai Mission which was hosted by Sacred Heart Church under the guidance and leadership of the parish priest Rev.Fr.Saji Vattakuzhy OFM. This historical incident became grand success by the co-operation and the selfless dedicated services of the parishers.
In 1990 Keelkattalai Unit started with 13 families and now it has a much larger growth having around 200 families, four independent unit with individual powers of parish and parish priests and three substation which conduct Holy Mass and spiritual activities on Sundays.