St Thomas India Catholic Mission

Decent Essays
Detroit’s St. Thomas India Catholic Mission Inaugural Program
The St. Thomas India Catholic Mission began as a faith community of twenty-two newly immigrated Kerala Catholic families in the 1980s in Detroit, Michigan operating out of St. Patrick’s Parish and led by Dr. Joseph Pullukattu. It was not until 1994, under the new leadership of Rev. John Melepuram, the new Chaplain of the Syro-Malabar community, and by the request of the growing Indian American Catholic community that the St. Thomas India Catholic Mission emerged as a full-fledged member of the Syro-Malabar Catholic community, which boasts 3.8 million members worldwide. The mission continues to serve the Indian American Syro-Malabar Catholic community in Detroit today as the St. Thomas
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The community emerged less than two decades after national immigration quota restrictions were demolished and professional and skilled preferences were established by the 1965 Immigration Act. The community expanded into a mission in the 1990s alongside the implementation of the 1990 Immigration Act, which increased the number of more socio-economically diverse immigrants admitted to the United States, as well as, enacted diversity programs for low admittance countries. In fact, at this time Detroit’s Indian American community doubled, likely directly inciting the development of the mission (Booza, Metzger). Legal immigration preference towards educated, skilled and professional workers, particularly affected the Indian Catholic community, and this mission in particular, because Kerala is one of India’s most highly educated and professional Indian states, as well as, its most Christian (India). Moreover, Kerala serves as the heart of the Indian Christianity, with its roots dating back to the apostle St. Thomas who introduced Christianity to India in 52 AD (History). Kerala’s prominent standing in education is partially due to Catholic influence which worked around Britain’s religious neutrality laws by instead establishing many Catholic colleges, hospitals, and schools in the state (Christian Missionary Activities in India). Consequently, the Indian…show more content…
Furthermore, both Indian and American Catholics belong to the Latin tradition and the Universal Catholic Church meaning they share very similar religious principles such as, the recognition of the seven sacraments and the Nicene Creed. Furthermore, both Catholics and Indian Americans share a similar history of discrimination in the United States, despite both being part of the powerful elite, with Catholics being part of the Christian majority and Indians being of the Caucasian majority. Until the twentieth century, Catholic immigrants faced similar social and professional discrimination as Indian Americans due dominant Protestant American views of both Catholicism and Indians as old-worldly and incompatible with the American tradition of independence; however the church Americanized and entered the mainstream much like Indian Americans have
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