Malabar Carmelite Mission is the realization of a long cherished and expressed desire of the founding fathers of the Discalced Carmelite Order in India, namely, Flanders (Belgium) Province. The Province of Delhi, therefore, is the fulfillment of the wish and vision of the Belgian Carmelites who founded Malabar Province to spread the message of Carmel from Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari) to the Himalayas. The Provincial Chapters down through the decades so fondly and faithfully nurtured this vision and it was materialized, thanks to the firm determination of the Provincial Chapter of 1975. Visiting the different Dioceses of North India, providence finally led Rev. Fr. Ephrem Parathazham, Provincial and Fr. Constantine Padinjarekutt, his Councillor to the Diocese of Jalandhar. Impressed by the warm welcome and the cordial invitation extended by His Excellency Rt. Rev. Dr. Symphorian Keeprath OFM Cap., Bishop of Jalandhar, Rev. Fr. Provincial deputed Frs. Ambrose Panackal and Bernard Thattaparambil on 26 May 1976 to pioneer the Carmelites in the region to examine and explore the possibility of an independent mission exclusively for missionary apostolate and evangelization. Fr. Francis Kunnelpurayidam joined the two on 20 March 1977 and Fr. Aurelian Kurias on 26 October 1977.
These four fathers acquainted themselves with the people, language, culture and customs of the mission area and presented a positive report to the Province. Subsequently Rev. Fr. Ambrose represented the missionaries in the Provincial Chapter in 1978 at Carmel Hill Monastery, Trivandrum, and delineated the mission prospects demystifying the mission field. The chapter unanimously welcomed the recommendations and delegated the Provincial Council to implement it at the earliest.
In 1978 Rev. Fr. Patrick Mootheril, Provincial, and Fr. Vincent Raj, his councillor visited the mission to appraise the missionary activities. A meeting of the missionaries convened at Una in Himachal Pradesh focused on the necessity of a formal agreement between the diocese of Jalandhar and the OCD Fathers regarding the territorial demarcation and jurisdictional definitions. The Carmelites were given freedom to plan out and execute their mission under the jurisdiction of the Bishop.
In January 1979 a formal agreement was signed between the Diocese of Jalandhar and the OCD Malabar Province specifying the area: the then district of Hoshiarpur except Dasuya Tehsil, and Anandpur Tehsil of Ropar district in Punjab and the districts of Una, Kangra and Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh – about 15000 Sq. kms in all.
The formal undertaking of this territory was executed on 31 March 1979 during the Holy Mass celebrated by the Bishop and concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Patrick, Provincial, and the missionaries. Subsequently the community of missionaries further expanded in the same year with the arrival of Br. Avertan and Fr. Tobias on 29 March 1979, and Fr. Peter Kappalumackal on 6 August 1979.
With the help of Fr. Gilbert OFM Cap, who was the Parish Priest of Hoshiarpur, the missionaries rented a small house in Hoshiarpur city and moved in on 24 August 1979. Rev. Fr. Aurelian Kurias was appointed Superior of the first community in the Mission. Without much delay the missionaries managed to buy the present site at Kakkon on Hoshiarpur - Pathankot state highway, thanks to the assistance of Late Mr. Buta Masih. On 16 June 1980 the community moved into a temporary house on the new site under the patronage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, with the resident members Fr. Aurelian Kurias, Fr. Peter Kappalumackal and Br. Avertan. The Provincial Chapter of 1981 elected Rev. Fr. Peter Kapplumackal as the first Mission Superior.
As the mission steadily grew in personnel and institutions it was upgraded to a Provincial Delegation. In 1987 the Provincial Council rechristened the Malabar Carmelite Mission as the Provincial Delegation of St. Therese of Lisieux entrusting a larger area to the new circumscription. Endorsing the decision of the Provincial Chapter of 1993 to upgrade the mission further, Very Rev. Fr. Camillo Maccisse, Superior General, declared this circumscription as St. Therese's Regional Vicariate during the concelebrated Holy Mass at Carmel Church Muradnagar, U.P, on 22 February 1994. Fr. Charles Serrao, Definitor General, Fr. Cyriac Neerackal, Provincial, and all the members of the region took part in the ceremony. The First Regional Vicariate Congress that followed elected Fr. Martin Panamthanam as Regional Vicar and Frs. Joseph Thekkel and Ambrose Panackal as Councillors.
The Vicariate flourished enviably marking a noticeable increase in the number of Carmelite Friars. Consequently, in 2002, the Provincial Chapter of Malabar Province and the Vicariate Congress requested the General Definitory to raise the Vicariate to the Status of a Vice-Province. The General Chapter of 2003 thoroughly perused it and entrusted the follow-up to the General Definitory. As a result Very Rev. Fr. Louis Arestegui Gamboa, the new Superior General, made a pastoral Visitation to the Malabar Province and the Vicariate. On 21 May 2004 the General Definitory endorsed the request of the Vicariate and upgraded it to "The Commissariat of Delhi" and placed it under the jurisdiction of the Latin Hierarchy. It was officially executed by Rev. Fr. Patrick Mootheril, Vicar Provincial of Malabar Province, during the Solemn High Mass on 23 June 2004. Rev. Fr. Francis Kiliampurackal, Regional Vicar, was appointed the first Commissary General with Fr. Benjamin Kokkat and Fr. Mark Nediyakalayil as Commissariat Councillors.
With a view to fostering local vocations the Vicariate opened its own formation houses in the north. In 1989 a minor seminary was opened at Mount Carmel Ashram, Kakkon, Hoshiarpur, and on 1 October 1992 the Novitiate was begun at Palampur in a rented house with the vestition of 9 Postulants. The Novitiate was later shifted to Una on 16 May 1993 and finally got established at Dehradun on 14 November 1997. From 2001 a few batches of our Philosophy Students attended Vishwa Jyothi Gurukul, run by IMS Fathers at Varanasi and the others were sent to Carmel Hill Philosophy College, Trivandrum. In the wake of these uneasy shuttling an independent Philosophy College became a cherished dream and oft-discussed priority. Consequently, on 22 July 2009 His Grace Most Rev. Vincent Concesao, Archbishop of Delhi, blessed and inaugurated our Philosophy College at Faridabad and ten students from Delhi Commisariat, West Benagal Regional Vicariate and Ranchi Provincial Delegation were enrolled as the first batch. Another remarkable achievement of the Carmelite Mission is the Provincial House at Najafgarh, New Delhi. On 28 November 2009, the 441st Anniversary of the Reform of our Order, Very Rev. Fr. Saverio Cannistra, Superior General of the Order, inaugurated the Provincial House.
The steady and unabated progress of the Commissariat in personnel and multifarious resources made it self-sufficient within a short time. As a result, the Plenary Council of the Commissariat placed a request before the General Definitory to upgrade the Commissariat to a full-fledged Province. Subsequently, Rev. Fr. Augustine Mulloor, Definitor General, made a fraternal visit to the Commissariat to appraise its holistic development and self-sufficiency. The General Definitory in its session from 6 to 8 of September 2010 endorsed the recommendations of Rev. Fr. Augustine Mulloor and upgraded the Commissariat to a Province. Very Rev. Fr. Saverio Cannistra, the Superior General, officially declared this decision on 4 November 2010 at Mount Carmel Church, Kakkon, Hoshiarpur, during the Solemn Mass officiated by Rt. Rev. Anil Jose Thomas Couto, Bishop of Jallandhar, and concelebrated by Very Rev. Fr. Saverio Cannistra, the General Superior, Rev. Fr. Augustine Mulloor, Definitor General, Major Superiors of many Religious Congregations, Priests from many of the North Indian Dioceses and the Members of the Delhi Province. Rev. Fr. Benjamin Kokkat was appointed the first Provincial of the New Province and Frs. Augustine Mangalathil and Mathew Kaippayil became the Provincial Councillors.
Subsequently, the First Provincial Chapter was held from 21 to 25 February 2011 and elected Fr. Joseph Thekkel as Provincial and Frs. Abraham Mittathanickal, Joseph Mattam, George Vayalil and Thomas Vazhakala as Councillors. The Second Ordinary Provincial Chapter, held from 22 to 26 April 2014, elected Rev. Fr. Augustine Mangalathil as Provincial and Frs. James Manampuram, Thomas Chakkungal, Jacob Puthettukalathil and James Velassery as Councillors. The Third Ordinary Provincial Chapter, celebrated from 24 to 28 April 2017, elected Rev. Fr. Abraham Mittathanickal as the Provincial, and Rev. Frs. Joseph Thekkel, Joseph Mattam, Mathew Kaippayil and George Vayalil as Councillors. The Fourth Ordinary Provincial Chapter, was held from 22 to 25 June 2020 to elect the present office bearers.
The Province of Delhi has at present 41 Priests, 1 Deacon, 5 Theology Students, 4 Philosophy Students, 6 Novices, 11 Postulants and 20 Aspirants. The Province is comprised of 9 Formed Houses, 14 Parishes, 11 Stations, 11 Schools and 1 Kindergarten. In its eagerness and commitment to reach out to the poor and the marginalized, the Province has established various social service units like Mahila Mandals, Balvadis, Self-help Centers, Vocational Training Centers, Tailoring Centers etc. through its Carmelite Social Service's Wing.
The Province of Delhi is spread across the states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The Province, for its steady progress, is also highly indebted to the Sisters of 13 Religious Congregations who, through their self-effacing services, enrich, enhance and nourish our missionary endeavours.
Thanking God Almighty and the Mother of Carmel for bestowing immense graces on us and for constantly protecting us, we look forward expectantly to the constant fulfillment of the Lord's Mission Mandate: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Mt. 28:19) We put our heads and hearts together to bear witness to the Carmelite Charism in this region under the patronage of St. Therese of Lisieux and the unfailing protection of St. Joseph and Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
"Perfection of life consists in drawing close to God."
Forgetting all things creaturely, remembering the Creator, attending to the interior, and loving the One loving thee. - St. John of the cross, O.C.D.