Dear Editor: I am a member of Our Lady of the Snows (OLS) parish for 22 years. I am also a leading member of the Indian Roman Catholic Community (Latin Rite) in the U.S. For the last three years, I worked with the pastors of OLS viz. Msgr. Raymond Chappetto (Bishop Chappetto) and Father Kevin McBrien, planning and conducting the feast of St. Alphonsa and have been proud to see that year after year the event has been attracting more and more Catholics from within and outside of the parish.
Members of the whole committee that worked with Father McBrien at OLS were thrilled and proud to see the exceptional and extensive coverage that The Tablet gave to the event (Aug. 1). Thank you for bringing St. Alphonsa, the first saint of India to the Catholic world.
I would also like to bring a concern to your attention about the caption printed on The Tablet’s front page. The caption started with the sentence: “Indian Catholics of the Syro Malabar Rite walked through the streets… .”
The congregation was comprised of Catholics of different rites in Kerala, India, which are Syro Malabar Rite, Syro Malankara Rite and Latin Rite. The congregation also included Knanaya Catholics, which is believed to be the descendants of a group of Christians that migrated to Kerala. Labeling the entire people as Catholics of the Syro Malabar Rite raised concerns of identity to people from other rites as there are undercurrents of divisions within the Indian Catholics. Being a Catholic of Latin Rite, I could say that the Latin Catholics felt offended by the sentence.
The Indian Catholics of Latin Rite is a minority that is concerned about identity in the light of Syro Malabar Catholics that created their own parishes and diocese, but is blessed with the support of the Diocese of Brooklyn and is homed by OLS parish. I request that more information is gathered to ensure that The Tablet’s coverage does not have misinformation.
PAUL D. PANAKAL
Floral Park, L.I.