About the Parish
The beautiful and serene village of Alakode is situated about 25 km away south-west of Thaliparamba in the district of Kannur. Alakode is a gathering place of all religions. Once upon a time, the areas of Alakode were the properties of Vellad temple authorities and the Brahmin families of Maniyal Illam and Melpally Illam.
The migration to Alakode area began in 1928. The then Chuzhali village officer’s uncles were from Changanassery. Once they came in contact with Elakattuparambil Ouseph and Vellapally Immanuel while returning after visiting their relatives. They were told that lot of land is available for sale at Vayattuparamba area, belonging to Maniyal Illam. On hearing this they arrived here along with their friend Kallolickal Ulahannan and bought 400 acres of land. They settled with family here in 1928
Dr. P J Thomas from Kuravilangadu, Mr. Mathew Sebastian Thevarolickal from Koodalloor and Mr. Thomas Konnackal joined together and purchased 21 hills, around 12000 acres, which belonged to Mr. Mammathu Haji from Thaliparamba in 1928. Dr. P J Thomas was the Director of resurvey in the finance department of Indian Govt. then. He was also the finance advisor to the government. He had the intention of availing the land for a cheaper rate for the migrants. Though they had purchased 12000 acres of land, only 2000 acres were given with ownership. Konnackal Thomas, Padavathu Kocherukan and Thevarolickal Sebastian etc. were given the responsibility to sell these properties. They settled at Alakode in 1928. Around same period, 3 brothers from Pullattu family, Outha (Joseph), Vakkan and Thomman, purchased land from Dr. P J Thomas and settled at Alakode. Dr. P M Mathew Porunganal from Kozhuvanal and his Brothers Joseph and Isaac settled with family at Vayattuparamba having purchasing 413 acres of land in 1929. Pallithara Luke, Elakattuparambil Mathai, Kavanadiyil Kuriyacko and Madathilkunnel Thomman etc, also settled at Vayatuparamba in 1929. Many early migrants went back to their native places unable to resist the disturbances from the wild animals and hazardous sicknesses. Konnackal Thomas and Kavanadiyil Kuriyacko etc. include among them.
A second pace of migration to this area began in 1935. The families of Kariyil Kuriackose, Mathangari Thomas, Purayidathil Kuriyakose, Madapattu Yesudas, Perumpally Devasia, Kaithapadam Joseph etc. migrated to Vayattuparamba area in 1935. There were no significant migrations to this area from 1935 to 1950.
The number of migrations increased by 1949-50. The availability of jeep-road facility up to Karuvanchal by 1948 was the main reason for it. This migrants in the third pace include Kalapurayil Mathan (Ittycheria Mani), Kalapurayil Thommachan, Cherunilathu Joseph, Kunnemuriyil Scaria (Kochu), Kannadiparayil Thomas (Kunjappan), Antony (Kutty), Manjakunnel Joseph (Outha) etc.
The then Commissioner of Thiruvithamkoor devasam Sri P R Ramavarmma Raja purchased some land suitable for cultivation at a low price. He realized the fact that road facility from Thaliparamba to Koliyattumala is necessary for the development of his property. Not only that the main source of income from the purchased land was timber and road was necessary to sell them. With that intention he sought the help of a timber merchant named Purushotham Das Manickalal from Kollam to make road to his property. Road from Thaliparamba up to Kanjirangadu was made better and from Kanjiramkadu up to Nadukani a new road was made in 1945. A jeep-road was made till Karuvanchal by 1948. They found that road at Chapparapadavu area can’t have sufficient width, so the road was diverted through Oduvally. The road arrived at Alakode in Sept. 1950. Overpasses were made across the rivers of Karuvanchal and Alakode with stones. The creation of road helped to increase the number of migration from Thiruvithamkoor area to Alakode.
The people of Alakode, Vayatuparamba, Karthikaputha, Karuvanchal and Rayrome, who wished to have developments and basic facilities for living, joined together and formed a forum named ‘Alakode Development Society’. Sri P R Ramavarmma Raja, Rev. Fr. Joseph Plathottam and Sri K C Chacko Edattel were the President, Vice President and Secretary respectively. The Alakode Development Society made a development plan for Alakode and submitted to the concerned authorities. The demands made in the memorandum, which was submitted in 1957, include Thaliparamba, Alakode, Mankkadavu, Merkkara Inter State Road, Kannur District Hill Highway, Post office, Police outpost and Ayurveda Hospital etc. The permission for bridges over the rivers at Karuvanchal, Alakode and Mankkadav and roads at Thaliparamba, Alakode and Manakkadavu were granted soon since the demand for interstate high way was considered. Sri P R Ramavarmma Raja himself took up the work and completed it since there was no one to take up the contract work under PWD. His long standing vision and leadership helped to realize the dream developments in this area.
Public institutions were necessary as the migration and population increased. One post office in one village was the policy of the then Government. Alakode was part of Thadikadavu village then. There was a problem in providing a second post office in the same village as there was a post office already existed at Thadikadavu. They had to pay Rs. 400 to establish a post office at a place where population is less. That amount was to compensate the loss of the Govt. Sri P R Ramavarmma Raja was willing to pay the amount and a new post office was opened at Alakode. A Police out post was opened at Alakode in 1959. Alakode was under the jurisdictions of two police stations; south of river was under Peringome Police station and north of river under Thaliparamba police station. An office of Circle Inspector was opened at Alakode in 1994.
An L P school was opened at Alakode adjacent to the church in 1957. This school, which was named as Nirmala L P school, has got about 700 students and it is progressing well under the care of Sacred Heart Sisters.
A convent of the Congregation of Jesus was opened in this parish in 1996. St. Mary’s English Medium School, having over 1000 students, is under their administration. This school, established near the church in June 1996, has gained a good name within a short period of time.
A church at Thrachambaram in Thaliparamba was the only Catholic Church existed in this area till a church was established at Vayattuparamba in 1936. That church was established under the diocese of Kozhikod in 1920. The Jesuit priests were the parish priests there from 1928 to 31. A priest named Fr. Machado used to visit Vayattuparamba once in a month as per the request made by the migrant Catholics to offer Holy Mass. He used to celebrate the Mass in different houses in the village. The people used to inform all the families about the arrival of the priest for Holy Mass.
The priests had to come from Thaliparamba travelling about 25k.m. through forest roads. Priests from Europe were unable to walk such a long distance. So, the people used to carry them on joined hands or on chairs. The faithful had to walk from Alakode to Vayattuparamba for attending the Holy Mass.
Mrs. Elikutty Thevarolical explains about their journey to attend the Holy Mass that people used to go together in procession. The person at the front had to beat the bushes to remove the water. The women flock had to carry two pair of dress, one to travel and another one to attend Mass. The Holy Mass used to be conducted at the courtyard of Mr. Lukose Pallithara usually.
It was Rev. Fr. Portha who used to come to offer the Holy Mass during 1931-34. He took initiative in making a shed to offer Mass. Dr. P A Mathew Porunganal and another 5 families, who migrated along with him, donated 5 acres of land for the church. A church was built there. This church was known as ‘naduvil’ church in the beginning. The brothers of Ilackattuparambil family donated 15 acres more land to the church during the tenure of Rev. Fr. Kaironi, who served during 1934-38. Rev. Fr. James Nambrath took up the charge as the Vicar in 1949. Vayattuparamba was under the Latin diocese till 1961. The diocese of Thalassery was established in 1953. Vayattuparamba parish was handed over to Thalassery diocese in 1961 due to the reason that all migrants were Suriyani Christians. The Vayattuparamba was the parish of the people of Alakode till the establishment of St. Mary’s parish at Alakode in 1955.
The number of migrants increased as the road to Alakode was completed and Dr. P J Thomas and Sri P R Ramavarmma Raja began to sell their properties. A church at Alakode was necessary to meet the spiritual needs of the migrated Catholics. The construction of the church was started at Kottayad in the land which was donated by Mr. Mathew Sebastian Thevarolickal. About 25 early migrants had been buried in that place. It was decided to make a shed for the church at the present place as per the suggestions made by Bishop Mar Vallopilly, as this place was found better for the church. Mr. Mathew Sebastian Thevarolickal donated 10 more acres of land for the church at the new place. Rev. Fr. Jacob Nedumpally was appointed as the first parish priest of Alakode on Sept 8, 1955. He was succeeded by Rev. Fr. Joseph Kunnel in Nov. 1956. Alakode parish was very vast in those days, spread from Thaliparamba to the valley of Kudakumala.
The parishes of Udhayagiri, Marygiri, Perumpadavu, Vellad, Pathanpara and Vilakannoor etc. were the results of the hard work of Rev. Fr. Kunnel. He used to visit daily one church each on foot for celebrating Holy Mass and for other spiritual activities. He also found time to support the people in developmental activities for the place. He led a life, having no rest, and took initiative in coordination of youth organizations, CML, recreation club etc. along with other pastoral activities.
A convent of the Sisters of Sacred Heart was started in the parish on June 10, 1958. Rev. Sisters shared the difficulties and struggles of the migrants and supported them in all stages of their life. Mr. Mathew Sebastian Thevarolickal had sold 5 acres of land and another 5 acres of land free of cost for the convent. The second pace of the growth and development of the parish began when Rev. Fr. Joseph Plathottam took charge as the parish priest in 1959. The present church was built during the time of Rev. Fr. Plathottam. He was courage enough to take up the responsibility of constructing a church at a time, when the migrants were struggling to find their daily food. The new church was blessed by Mar Sebastian Vallopilly on May 1, 1965. Alakode parish, which was under the forane of Chemberi till then, was raised to a forane church very soon.
New churches at Vijayagiri Kropimala, Manakadavu and Thadikadavu etc. were established due to the efforts taken by Rev. Fr. Plathottam. He had to take up the responsibilities of nearby churches too as no priests were appointed there permanently. In the history of Alakode church, Fr. Plathottam had the longest tenure as its vicar. He was transferred to Thariyodi parish in 1966.
Rev. Fr. Augustine Naduvilekunnu (Kunjagusthy Achan) was the parish priest of St. Mary’s Church from 1966-71. He was interested in agriculture and took initiatives in developing the coconut tree farm of the parish. It was Fr. Augustine Naduvilekunnu, who completed the work of the ‘mugavaram’ of the church. He captured the hearts of the people through love and affection.
Rev. Fr. Mathew Palamattom took up the charge as parish priest in 1971. He was a good singer and every solemn celebration of Holy Mass offered by him was very rich with beautiful songs. His untimely demise while being at Alakode parish had put the people in deep sorrow and memories of him are alive even today. Rev. Fr. Thomas Cheeramkuzhy and Mong. Jacob Poothettu served here as parish priests during 1972 to 1975.
The construction of the Sunday school building was done during the tenure of Rev. Fr. Zacharias Kattackal from 1976-80. Rev. Fr. Varkey Kunnapally, who served here from 1980-84, took special initiative and started a youth organization named as ‘yuva Vedi’. The water supply system in the churchyard was also done by him.
Rev. Fr. Sebastian Joseph Kanjirakattil was the parish priest from 1984-1990. Many developments took place during his tenure. He was interested in beautification of the church and surroundings. The church was beautified by constructing a second mugavaram and the cemetery also was given a beauty touch. The presbytery and the parish hall also were constructed during his tenure.
Rev. Fr. Abraham Thonipara, who began his pastoral ministry from 1990 in this parish, was known as the ‘vicar of the poor’. He touched the heart of the poor and his active participation was visible in their joys and sorrows.
The constructions of the capela, in the heart of Alakode town, and the common graveyard were done during the time of Rev. Fr. George Cherayil (1995-99).
Rev. Fr. Thomas Theruvankunnel was appointed in 1999 and the capela was completed by him. The coming generation may call the tenure of Fr. Thomas Theruvankunnel as the golden years in the history of this parish for the developments he initiated. It was a dream comes true for the people of Alakode with the establishment of an Arts and Science College. He served the parish up to 2005.
Rev. Fr. John Mullakara took up the charge as the parish priest on May 31, 2005. He entered into the pastoral care of this parish when the parish was going through financial difficulties. The expense of the construction of the college had gone very high unexpectedly. He was a priest who executed and proved many new systems in pastoral activities and in development of the parish. He introduced ‘envelop collection’ system in the parish to collect fund for the development of the parish. Sunday collections also were given a boost during this time. He had a dream to make Alakode Forane church to a pilgrim centre. He placed many statues of saints in and around the church. The Piatha near the grotto, the circle of St. Antony, Benevolent Mother Mary at meditation meadow, Mary and Child Jesus in the church, flag-post, stone cross and stone lamp etc. were placed by him and it has helped to generate a special spiritual atmosphere in and around the church.
He also did some experiments in family units to make them more active. Conducted prayers before the exposed Blessed Sacrament in the houses, in the year of the Eucharist, made beautiful Cribs in units during Christmas and presented and prayed for the heads of the families in prayer gatherings of family units.
This parish, in which many social and cultural events to be organized, needed a place to conduct them. This requirement was met with the construction of the two storey parish hall which can accommodate 1000 people. It was a great step in taking the parish to the path of developments.
Publication of Parish directory helped the parishners to have better communication among them. Rev. Fr. Xavier Puthenpura, Rev. Fr. Aji Kuzhiyanimattom and Rev. Fr. Biju Muttathukunnel were there to support the parish priest.
Kuttaparamba, which was a filial church of Alakode, was raised to an independent parish by Mar George Valiyamattom due to the efforts of Fr. Mullakara. He got transfer to Velimanam church on May 23, 2009.
Rev. Fr. Antony Muthukunnel took charge of this parish on May 23, 2009. All his abilities and talents are being used for the spiritual and material growth of this parish. He is on a mission to compete the debts of the collage and for that share of each family is being collected. He has the whole hearted cooperation and support of the Asst. Parish priest Rev. Fr. Sony Vadassery.
Religious Organisations Working Under the Parish
St. Vincent De Paul Society
Institutions Under the Parish
Mary Matha Arts & Science College
Syro-Malabar Religious Houses In the Parish
Sacred Heart Convent Congregation of Jesus Convent
Social Activities Under the Parish
Credit Union Infarm
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