Indian Catholic Heritage Day is an annual tradition at St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church on Welsh Road in Northeast Philadelphia. It is a celebration for all Catholics from India, whether they are Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara, Knanaya or Roman Catholic, and it traces back to the foundation of the Indian American Catholic Association 40 years ago.
The presence of His Grace Archbishop Christopher Pierre, the papal nuncio to the United States, who was the principal celebrant of the Mass, made the occasion more special. The archbishop was joined on the altar by Archbishop Matthew Mar Moolakkatt of Kottayam, India, Bishop Jacob Mar Angadiath of the Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago, Bishop Philipose Mar Stephanos of the Syro- Malankara Diocese of the USA and Canada, Auxiliary Bishop John McIntyre of the Philadelphia Archdiocese and clergy from half a dozen or so Indian Catholic churches. As reported by Catholicphil, His Excellency Archbishop Pierre remarked that “You are united here in America. Great sacrifices were made; you make them out of love for your family. That sacrifice is the way of love. If we do not have love for our neighbor, what kind of sacrifice is that? Today the world needs witnesses. The church is counting on your faithful witness and your generous love. True discipleship involves attentiveness to our neighbor.”
It was the first time ever, according to the organizers, that a papal nuncio has visited an Indian Catholic Church in Philadelphia.