On July 15th and July 16th, Fr. Nikodemus Schnabel, O.S.B., Patriarchal Vicar for Migrants and Asylum Seekers (VMAS) of the Latin Patriarchate made two visits to the Malayalam-speaking communities of the Indian Chaplaincy found in Beersheba and Herzliya. He was accompanied by the priest in charge of these two communities, Fr. Babu Jose Kainickal, O.F.M. Capp., who is responsible for the "Jerusalem Chapter" of the Malayalam-speaking Indian Chaplaincy. This chapter is made of eight different communities, including the two smaller ones in Beersheba and Herzliya - each with 40 to 60 worshippers.
Althought most of these communities celebrate according to the Syro-Malabar Rite, the larger ones (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa) occasionally celebrate according to the Latin Rite, as a small group of Malayalam-speaking Indians belong to it. This weekend, as Fr. Nikodemus had been invited to preside over the celebration, the two communities in Beersheba and Herzliya celebrated for the first time in their lives the Eucharist in English, according to the Latin rite.
In the discussions with the faithful that followed the services, a great need was very clearly expressed: in both places, Malayalam-speaking Indians suffer from a lack of religious freedom. Many of their employers prohibit them from praying, practicing their faith, and going to church. During the liturgy, prayers were thus focused on all those sisters and brothers who would have liked to join in but were not allowed to.