St. Thomas Province, Kozhikode was the extended territory of the erstwhile St. Joseph Province, Kottayam. From early 1930s,even before the division of the congregation into provinces,members of the congregation were working among the migrant Christian population in Kozhikode and neighbouring regions. The pioneers who ventured out were sources of solace and energy:spiritual as well as temporal.
The history of the CMI presence in Malabar may be conveniently divided into three periods:
from 1948 -1966,
from 1981- to the present.
The first period is characterised by missionary commitment and total dedication to the needs of the people without any thought of establishing a unit of the Congregation in the area. This was the golden period of the CMI presence in Malabar. The second period was one of expansion. As many as 12 centres were added. The third period is characterised by consolidation. Three significant features of this period were
growth of the departmental system
suppression of certain houses that were not financially viable or where the congregation could not have the apostolate proper to it, and
the extension of the apostolate in Jammu and Kashmir.
The growth of the province can be charted as follows. In 1935,Fr. Athanasius, the pioneer CMI missionary of Malabar, started a parish, school and orphanage at Cheruvannur near Feroke at the request of the Bishop of Calicut. In 1936, the first CMI house was started at Kadalundy near Feroke to co-ordinate the work of the CMI members in the Malabar area. Many people from the south of the state began to migrate to the north for a better living. The CMI fathers were with them in all their trials. The various social, religious, cultural and educational requirements of the migrants were attended by the members of the mission. Malabar, especially Kozhikode, has innumerable stories of perseverance and sacrifices to tell. When the congregation was divided into three provinces in1953, a considerable number of CMI fathers were working in the Malabar area. After the division, it became an independent region under the St. Joseph Province; Fr. Aurelius Kadampuzha was the first regional superior.
In 1953 the Diocese of Thalassery was formed. Fr. RomeoThomas Mannanal and Fr. Placid Podipara were the chief architects of this new diocese. In 1954, a house was established in Calicut city with the name Amalapuri. Soon, many more CMI fathers signed up to work from there. Many parishes, including the present churches of Kodenchery, Thiruvambadi, Thariyode, Nadavayal,and Peravoor were developed under their leadership.
In 1969, the Kozhikode region became a vice province with Fr. James Pallivathuakal as the vice provincial. In 1978, the general synaxis raised it to a province and Fr. Caesarius Nalpathamkulam was elected as the first provincial. Today, the province has 26 houses/centers. It is spread over three states, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Jammu and Kashmir is a sub region of the province with Jammu as its headquarters.
The year 2014, the month November and the day 23rd will mark a new chapter for the congregation when Pope Francis canonised Bl. Kuriakose Elias Chavara . With this elevation to Sainthood the founding father has made it possible for the world to benefit from his ideologies. St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara believed in the consummate position of education in society. In this time in human history we could not have before us a greater role model than St. Kuriakose Chavara.
Fr. Thomas Thekkel CMI : Provincial
Fr. Thomas Panthaplackal CMI : Vicar Provincial (Pastoral)
Fr. Paul Kureekkattil CMI : Superior, Prov. Councillor-Finance
Director, Vimala Book Centre
Fr. Thomas Thundathil: Director, Gethsemene CMI Centre
Fr. Anoop Mavara CMI Director, Amala Media House
Fr. Jithin Kuroor CMI : Asst. Vicar , Asst. Director Chavara Culture Centre