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Kerala Church Delivers First Sign Language Mass

Thursday, September 21, 2017, 12:41 (IST)

Kerala church delivered a mass for the hard of hearing using sign language on Sept. 11, calling it a first in India.

Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, with help of priests and nuns trained in sign language led the service in Kochi, where about 200 people attended.

Kochi, the capital, is home for Syro-Malabar Church's headquarter. Parishioners with hearing problems from all 15 dioceses in the state attended the service.

As Alencherry preached, a priest and a nun trained in sign language stood beside him at the altar communicating the preaching to the congregation, who also responded in sign language, according to UCA News.com.

"All the dioceses will arrange Mass for you, whenever you need. Please let us know," said Alencherry at the end of the mass.

He noted that there is an increasing need for pastoral care for physically challenged people, and the church is realizing it. Other obligations of the church, including sacrament of confession, will also be conducted in sign language, he said.

A local mainstream media published a video of the mass on social media which went viral, calling it a first in the country.

Unlike other countries, liturgical services in sign language are new to India. The cardinal said the church has now decided to hold such services in all its 33 dioceses across India.