The history of Palayamkottai is marked by unity in diversity with people of all religions assuming anequal role. With Population density in Palayamkottai reaching the optimal point geographical expansiontook place in the peripheral regions and settlements such as Maharajanagar, EB Colony,Thiagarajanagar, IOB Colony, KTC Colony (later named TVS Nagar) etc emerged in the Southern direction. As there were no Roman Catholic Churches in the vicinity, people had to depend either on St.Xavier’s Cathedral of the diocese located in the heart of Palyamkottai or St. Xavier’s College Church. A representation of the people of these regions was made to the Parish Priest of Palayamkottai to arrange for saying the Holy Mass on Sundays in a locality suitable by the distance to all these people.
Rev. Fr. Maria Michael while exploring the viability learned that a 12 cent land bought by Rev. Fr.Durairaj near the main office of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board in the Sivanthipatti Road is available in which subsequently a hut was erected for meeting for the spiritual purpose demanded by the people. The first Holy Mass was said at 2am on 25 th December 1981 as a part of the Christmas Celebrations. Since its inception, people were motivated to address their prayers through St. Jude Thaddeus thereby seeds of faith and dedication on the Saint was sowed. As the people demonstrated sincere fellowship, the Church was consecrated in the name of St. Jude Thadeus and Holy Mass was celebrated regularly on Sundays at 6. 30am. From January 1981, on every Thursday evenings at 6 30pm special novena Holy Mass was regularly celebrated.
After the death of Rev. Fr. Maria Michael, Rev. Fr. Saleth assumed the responsibility of the Palayamkottai Cathedral Parish. He along with the then Treasure of Paayamkottai Diocese Rev. Fr. Susai Marian, got the blessings of the Bishop of Palayamkottai, Most Rev. Iruthayaraj and converted the hut into a asbestos sheeted Church. Despite the fact that crowd could not be effectively accommodated which paved for the construction of RCC roofed structure. This was consecrated by the Bishop on 19 th December 1993.
Constantly observing the spiritual progress of the people and their participation in the affairs of the Church, the Bishop declared Maharajanagar as a separate Parish on 4 th June 1998 and appointed Rev.Fr. Susai Marian as its first Parish Priest. Rev. Fr. Susai Marian is a dedicated pastor, who introduced a familial approach to the new parish. He established contact with every Roman Catholic family and motivated them to follow the Holy Sacraments of the Church with Heart and Soul. His efforts
contributed to the further expansion of the membership and a land of 50 cents was purchased. The foundation stone for a new bigger parish church was laid on 16 th February 2001 and was consecrated by Bishop Most Rev. Jude Paulraj.
Successors of Rev. Fr. Susai Marian
The sincere services of Rev. Fr. Susai Marian came to an end with his transfer . After him, Rev. Fr. V. K. S. Arulraj assumed charge and spiritually guided the people for the next 4 years from June 2003 to June 2007. He organized the parish by introducing the concept of ‘Basic Christian Community’ locally known as ‘Anbiam’ and decentralized the spiritual responsibility. The flagpole was erected in the year 2003 and the Church Bell was installed in the following year. Rev. Fr. Antony Samy as the third Parish Priest of the Church brought out the Novena book aiming at the spread of the fame of St Jude Thaddeus.
The fourth Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan who served from 2009 to 2012 erected an arch in commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the first Christmas Mass. A person with good knowledge of divine music, his period saw development in Church recitations. Rev. Fr. Packiaselvan took over the charge of the Parish in the year 2012. Since January 2016, he introduced observance of Novena and prayers for good health and healing during Thursdays in the empty space in front of the Church main entrance. He also strove hard to add divine essence to the altar by extensively introducing Church art.
Rev Fr Packiaselvan’s spiritual guidance stood on the premise of liberating Catholic minds from merely viewing God as a performer of magic. Irrespective of that, miracles have taken place in the Church. In the year 2005, a relic from the sacred body of the Saint has been brought from St. Peter’s Church of Rome and placed in the Church espousing the faith in his miraculous healing power. One devotee Mr. Gnanadeepam of Manapad met with an accident and he was said to have been thoroughly healed once after praying to St. Jude Thaddeus. As a consequence, he fondly presented the statue of St. Jude Thaddeus to our Church.
Similarly, Master James who consumed the water that was used to clean the foot of the St’s statue was cured of his illness. A physically handicapped carpenter belonging not to the Christian faith was cured of his problem once after visiting the Church.
Since 7 th January of 1982 until 30 th June of 2016, 1800 Novena has been adopted and thus the fame of St. Jude Thaddeus is being spread among the general public. It is said that the faithful who visit the Church with a purpose, return getting their due reward. In such a Church, Rev. Fr. Joseph Johnson, an outstanding priest known for his social service is presently serving as Parish Priest and guiding the people in the right path and together they explore new ways of serving God and the deserving.