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And it’s happening thanks to a surge in Catholics from India, who are bringing with them one of the treasures of the Eastern churches, the Syro-Malabar rite.
Details, from the Catholic Herald:
In June, the ordination of a deacon in Southwark diocese attracted headlines in Catholic publications across the world: Joice James Pallickamyalil is the ancient Kerala-rooted Church’s very first married deacon. (He is also, I feel loyalty-bound to note, a product of the St Mary’s University formation programme.) And last month a new Eparchy for Great Britain – a kind of diocese sans frontière – was announced. It is only the fourth to be established outside India. All this from a British Syro-Malabar community of perhaps 40,000 (around one per cent of the global total) who, until very recently, the clear majority of their fellow Catholics never even knew existed. If so, then they’ve been missing out on one of this country’s most remarkable Catholic success stories. Every second Saturday of the month, almost 3,000 souls converge on a convention centre in West Bromwich for a day including the rosary, Mass, Adoration and catechesis in two languages. Celtic matches notwithstanding, that is surely the largest regular gathering of Catholics in the whole of Britain. An event held at Nottingham arena last July, organised by the same group – Sehion UK: google ’em – attracted well over 5,000 people. That’s an impressive number, however one interprets it. One explanation would be that the gathering represents one in every eight British Syro-Malabar Catholics. (Remember how big the crowd was the last time that 12.5 per cent of all our Irish-extraction Catholics came together to worship their Lord? No, nor do I.) The other, and much more likely, explanation is that this charismatic ministry is attracting significant numbers of others, too. Frankly, I’m not surprised. I met a huge group of young Anglo-Indians at this year’s March for Life, all members of yet another vibrant movement: Jesus Youth. They were just the kind of people you can imagine having a serious leavening effect on the wider culture. And really, who better to re-evangelise sceptical Britons than the true heirs of Doubting Thomas? But here’s the best part: they are by no means alone. At the risk of tempting fate, I believe that we’re seeing the first fruits of a true resurgence, perhaps even a resurrection (with all that that implies), of British Catholicism. Genuine – and pleasingly diverse – signs of hope are breaking out all over.