Canadian Expansion: New Carmelites and a New Parish

By: Reverend Gregory Houck, O.Carm.


Mississauga, Ontario, is a fastgrowing suburb of the city of Toronto, about an hour’s drive along the QEW from Niagara Falls. The city, just west of Toronto, has about 650,000 residents, and is growing very quickly. The Carmelites of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Province (PCM) founded a parish, Saint John of the Cross, in Mississauga, in 1978 and have staffed the parish since.

The current pastor, Father Leo Huard, O.Carm., has served there since 1999. The parish, like the city, is growing quickly and currently serves 4500 families. The parish reflects Canada, especially the Toronto area, and is composed of parishioners from many ethnic and national backgrounds—Indian (Asian), Indonesian, Filipino, Latino and Anglo—all worshiping together.

In 2001, Father Joyson Pottackal, O.Carm., came to Mississauga from the Indian Commissariate to assist as associate pastor. Even though he is a member of the Indian Commissariate, he attends various meetings of the PCM Province and so most North American Carmelites have met him and gotten to know him. He took his first vows in 1993 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2000. As you can see, he has served almost all of his ministerial life in Canada. He is currently 33 years old.

Lately, some new (at least new to North America) Carmelites have arrived in Mississauga to minister there. These ‘new’ Carmelites also come from the Indian Commissariate.

Reverend Philip Nirappel, O.Carm., is a novitiate classmate of Father Joyson. He took his first vows as a Carmelite in 1993 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2000.

After ordination he served first in a Carmelite parish in the state of Kerala, India, and then served as the rector of the Carmelite seminary in Kerala. His provincial asked him to come to Canada last Fall. He is currently 33 years old. Reverend Joseph Kalluvillaputhenpurackal, O.Carm., took his first vows as a Carmelite in 1989 and was ordained in 1995. He has served in parishes as associate pastor and pastor priest in Kerala. He also came to Canada last Fall. He is currently 39 years old.

Reverend Abraham Kulanjiyil, O.Carm., is also a young priest, ordained in 1998, but is not so new to Canada. He came to Mississauga in 2003. He has a Master’s Degree in Sociology and a Bachelor’s in music. He is currently 37 years old. The hardest adjustment, according to Father Joyson, for all these Carmelites from India is adapting to Winter. When they call home and talk to their parents, they will mention the cold, but since India is a tropical country and the state of Kerala is in the south of India and low in elevation, their parents have only experienced warm temperatures. Of these Indian Carmelites, only Father Joseph has mentioned any appreciation of Canadian winters.

Not only are there new Carmelites serving in Mississauga, there is a new Carmelite parish there. In June of 2006 the Carmelites of the Indian Commissariate have begun to staff the parish of Saint Martin of Tours. This parish is about a fifteen-minute drive from the parish of Saint John of the Cross. It is not a new parish, founded in 1967, but new to us. The new pastor is Father Joyson, moving over from Saint John of the Cross parish, and the associate pastor is Father Phillip. Father Joyson has mentioned that the community at Saint John of the Cross parish has always been peaceful and unified, so it has been quite an adjustment to move to a parish with problems. “With a new pastor,” according to Father Joyson, “we seem to have turned a corner and things are getting better; much better than when I arrived.”

Father John Welch, O.Carm., PCM Prior Provincial, visited the parish in the summer, and welcomed the parish into the Carmelite family. Father Welch said, “Even though the parish of Saint Martin of Tours is administered by the Indian Commissariate and not by the PCM Province, they are Carmelite and so I was happy to extend the greetings of the whole Order to this parish and we look forward to working closely together.”

Saint John of the Cross Parish, Mississauga Saint Martin of Tours Parish, Mississauga

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