The Syro Malabar Catholic Congress (SMCC) is the lay association in the St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago. It is operating under the Constitution and Bylaws canonically approved by His Excellency Mar Jacob Angadiath, the Patron. His Eminence George Cardinal Alencherry is its Grand Patron. SMCC has a National Spiritual Director appointed by the Patron. Presently Rev. Dr. Augustine Palackaparambil is the National Spiritual Director.
SMCC was formed as the fulfillment of a long cherished desire of many Syro Malabar Catholics in North America who were doing extraordinary service to the Church in their own localities. It was necessary to have a national forum for all these volunteers to come together and equip themselves for better service to the Church. This need was in the forefront of those who took initiative for the first Syro Malabar Family Convention in Philadelphia from August 13 to 15, 1999. It was publicized and planned as a national convention. However the formation of the organization was delayed until January of 2000 to ensure wider participation of all Syro Malabar units in North America. After informing and inviting all known Syro Malabar units in North America and with a constitution and bylaws that underwent repeated revisions, the organization was formed on January 22, 2000. In the same year SMCC was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a not-for-profit corporation with provisions for establishing chapters in other States.
The Decree of Second Vatican Council on Laity encourages the lay people in the Church to engage in lay apostolate not only as individuals but also as groups and organizations to achieve specific objectives of the apostolate. According to the Canon Law lay people have the right to organize association, create its bylaws and elect its officials. However, its bylaws must be approved by the Bishop; and its Spiritual Director must be appointed by the Bishop. As a lay association SMCC’s role is to participate in the mission of the Church. Lay people are called upon to fulfill their mission in the Church and in the world.
SMCC Philadelphia Chapter hosted the 10th Anniversary Celebrations and National Family Conference in our church in July 2009. More than 750 families from all over USA participated in the 3-day conference. SMCC’s aims and objectives are formulated taking into consideration the two-fold nature of lay apostolate. Some of the major aims and objectives of the organization are:
- To provide a common forum for Syro Malabar Catholics living in North America to coordinate activities for the advancement of Syro Malabar Catholic community in north America.
- To introduce the young people in the community to the spiritual heritage of Syro Malabar Church.
- To work for the advancement of Syro Malabar Church in America
- To engage in charitable activities to help the disadvantaged in the community.
- To work closely with the hierarchy to achieve the mission of the Church.
- To engage in civic and political education of Syro Malabar Community and to develop lay leadership.
SMCC has national executive committee and a Board of Directors elected for a two-year term. Each local chapter has its own executive committee.
Office Bearers 2017-2018
President : George V. George
Vice President : Merly Jose Palathinkal
Secretary : Daisy George
Joint Secretary : Helen Zacharias
Treasurer : Devassykutty Vareed
Joint Treasurer : Joy Karumathy