Syro Malabar church is blessed with youth. There are more than 14 lakhs of youth in our church scattered around the world - working, studying, and residing in different countries. There has been attempts to bring them together and close to the mother church. The attempt was initiated by the Syro Malabar laity commission, thanks to the efforts of the Commission Chairmain Mar Mathew Arackal, Bishop of Kanjirappilly, Commission Members Mar Mathew Anikuzhykattil, Bishop of idukki, Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath, auxiliary Bishop Ernakulum - Angamaly and Adv. V.C. Sebastian, it's Secretary. Their coordinated efforts have seen the start of Syro Malabar Youth movement. Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath was specifically entrusted with the responsibility of the youth.
The first meeting towards the same convened on March 16th and 17th 2011 at Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad, saw further stride towards this goal. This meeting was attended by directors, animators and youth representatives from the dioceses of Kerala and nearby states. The meeting was inaugurated by Mar Mathew Moolekatt, Arch Bishop of Kottayam and was presided over by Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath. It was unanimously decided at the meeting, that a separate movement for the Syro Malabar Youth should be formed to coordinate all youth activities then prevalent within the church. With this in view a five member working committee was formed with Fr.Sebastian Kaipanplackal (Kanjirappilly) as Convenor, and Fr. Jose Alanchery (Pala), Fr. Franklin (Kalyan), Sr. I.C DSHJ (Balthangady), Sr. Jinsa Rose CMC (Idukki) as members. Under the guidance of Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath the committee started functioning.
The working committee at its various sittings took up the name, bye-law and functioning of the youth movement for discussion. On September 9, 2011 at the meeting held at the Archbishop's home, Ernakulum Mar Adayanthrath named the movement as Syro Malabar Youth Apostolate (SMYA). The idea behind the new movement was that it should co-ordinate other laity organisations like CLC (Christian Life Community), CML (Cherupushpa Mission League), Jesus youth, KCYM (Kerala Catholic Youth Movement) and ICYM (Indian Catholic Youth Movement) and yuvadeepthi working in the Syro - Malabar church to work together. And hence the term Apostolate was added to the name of the new movement. Mar Adayanthrath advised the working committee to form an ad-hoc committee to further expedite the activities.
This ad-hoc committee was formed including representatives from different dioceses across the country. Two meetings of the ad-hoc committee were held at the renewal centre at Kaloor, Ernakulum. In the first meeting held on 14th January 2012, committee presented guidelines to draft the first part of the bye- law and in the second meeting held on 26th May 2012 the prepared draft of the byelaw was reviewed. Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath donated a sum Rs 10,000/- as initial capital.
Thanks to the efforts of the working committee and ad-hoc committee a national youth meet was held at the renewal centre Kaloor, Ernakulum on 25th and 26th of August 2012. His eminence George Cardinal Alanchery inaugurated the meeting which was presided by Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath. 180 representatives from various dioceses and mission centers from all over the nation, participated in the meet. Key agendas like the necessity to back and strengthen the youth, importance and relevance of SMYA in the present times, the points and aspects to be worked up while strengthening the youth were discussed. The assembly requested the authorities, to form a youth commission for the Syro Malabar Church.
The 2012 world youth meet was held at Madrid, Spain during 10th to 20th August. Mar Abraham Viruthikulagara, Archbishop of Nagpur, celebrated holy mass at St. John's church, Madrid for the 800 Syro Malabar youth, from all over the world, who had assembled together. Fr Sebastian Kaippanplackal, Fr. Soji Kannalil, Sri Jomon Vellappally, Sri Manoj Kandathil and Sri Raijo co-ordinated this on behalf of SMYA. This was the first international meeting for the Syro Malabar youth.
In January 2013, Syro Malabar bishops' synod entrusted the responsibility of SMYA to Mar Joseph Pandarasseril, the auxiliary bishop of Kottayam. On March 12, 2013, a meeting of the youth directors and animators of Kerala and members of the ad-hoc committee was called under chairmanship of Mar Joseph Pandarasseril at Mount St. Thomas, Kakkanad to discuss the bye-law in detail. The meeting further decided that the bye-law should include sections such as Parish, Forane, Archdiocese / Diocese / Exarchate/Mission centres, regional and global. The meeting welcomed Mar Joseph Pandarasseril and extended all support and co-operation to him in his new appointment.
In the synod meeting held in August 2013, Fr. Sebastian Kaippanplackal presented the draft of the bye- law. The synod asked the working committee to expand the bye-law to include the five sections of the movement in detail and to make it internationally acceptable. Fr. Sebastian Kaippanplackal appealed to the synod to make SMYA the official movement of the Syro Malabar Church and to form a youth commission.
The meeting of the ad-hoc committee held on 21st November 2013 at Chaithanya pastoral centre, Kottayam under the chairmanship of Mar Joseph Pandarasseril, discussed in detail the bye-law pertaining to the parish and forane levels. The meeting requested a change in the name from SMYA to SMYM. Although some delegates had suggested the name SMCYM, by the majority decision, the name was fixed as SMYM.
August 30, 2013 is a memorable day in the history of SMYM, for in the meeting held at St. Thomas mount Kakkanad, which was attended by the representatives CML, CMC, KCYM, Jesus youth and Yuvadeepthi of Kerala, his beatitude Mar George Cardinal Alancherry, the major Archbishop, declared SMYM as the official youth movement of Syro Malabar church. He also appointed a 9 member working committee, Fr. Sebastian Kaippanplackal (director), Sijo Ambatt (President), Shino Mathew Kunnapillil, Soumya Vathelloor (Vice presidents), Tijo Padayattil (General Secretary), Libin Kottupillil, Jerry Thakolkkaran (Secretaries), Anoop Punnapuzha (Treasurer), Sijo Elathoor and Merin kollikudiyil (Councillors). 170 Youth, 20 Archbishops/ bishops and members of the Archi Episcopal curia had attended the meeting. The meeting concluded with entertainments. With the institution of the new working committee, all the existing committees were dissolved.
In the August 2014 synod detailed bye-law was submitted and the Bishops were kind enough to give many suggestions. The major Archbishop, Mar George Cardinal Alancherry entrusted Mar Mathew Moolekatt, Archbishop of Kottayam and Mar Mathew Arackal, Bishop of Kanjirappilly to study the bye-law in detail. The bishops afterwards gave more suggestions. In addition to this, the bye- law was also forwarded to Mar Joseph Chittuparambil, Mar Sebastian Vaddakel and Mar Kuriakose Bharanikulangara. And their suggestions too were incorporated into the bye-law. The chairman and the members of the commission studied the bye-law and due changes were made.
On 18th September 2014, the first meeting of the SMYM was held at the Salesian house, Bathery under the chairmanship of Mar Joseph Pandarasseril. All working committee members participated to finalize the bye-law. Fr. Sebastian Kyppanplackal was entrusted with the responsibility to seek opinion from cannon and civil law experts regarding the various aspects of the bye-law and to finalize the bye-law so as to place it before the synod in January. It was also decided to forward the bye-law to various youth directors to engage the youth in the discourse. The corrections suggested by the civil and cannon law experts were incorporated into the bye-law.
In the meeting of the SMYM executive held at the house of Mar Jose Puthenveetil, who also was kind enough to participate in the discussion of the bye-law, the practical guidelines to be given along with the bye-law while handing it over was also discussed.
In January 2015, at the synod meeting, the bye-law was approved and the synod asked to follow it on an experimental basis for three years. The Syro Malabar Youth Commission was formed with Mar Joseph Pandarasseril as chairman and Mar Ephrem Narikulam and Mar Jose Puthenveetil as its members.
On 12th January 2015, at the meeting held at mount St. Thomas, representatives from various Archdioceses/dioceses attended to elect the SMYM representatives to KCYM. Sri Sijo Ambatt, Sri Naijo, Sri Antochan Antony and Kumari Divya were elected.
On March 3, 2015 a meeting of the youth directors, animators, and representatives of the youth was held in which Mar Joseph Pandarasseril cleared doubts pertaining to the bye-law.
On January 11, 2016 the newly setup office of the youth commission at Mount St Thomas was blessed by cardinal Mar George Alancherry. On February, 2016 Fr. Sebastian Kaipanplackal took over the responsibility of the office as secretary of youth commission.
On May 3, 2016 in a meeting of the directors, animators and youth representatives from the dioceses of Kerala and nearby states held at Mount St Thomas, the subjects of the Archi Episcopal assembly was introduced and discussed.
On May 21, 2016 Sr. Akhila CMC took charge as the SMYM animator.
On May 30, 2016 the initial design of the SMYM emblem and anthem were made. The working committee further decided to arrange meetings in different parts of Kerala to discuss the bye-law, anthem, emblem and flag. In accordance with the discussions was held at the following places. On June 16, 2016 for Thalassery, Thamarassery, Manathavady, Balthagady, Bhadravathy dioceses at santhesh bhavan, Thalassery.
June 25, 2016 for Irinjalakuda, Thrissur dioceses at BLM, Irinjalakuda.
July 16, 2016 forenoon for Kanjirappilly, Pala, Kottayam dioceses at Amal Jyothy Engineering College, Kanjirappilly. In the afternoon at Karimban, St. George Church for idukki diocese.
August 21, 2016 for Kothamangalam diocese at NEST, Muvattupuzha.
September 25, 2016 for Ernakulum -Angamaly diocese at renewal centre, Kaloor.
October 2, 2016 for palakkad diocese at pastoral orientation centre.
In all the meetings archdiocesan/diocesan youth directors, animators and Executive members actively participated and valuable suggestions were given.
On 27 August, 2016 at the Archi Episcopal assembly held at Sahridya Engineering college, Kodakara, Irinjalakuda the Syro Malabar Youth Movement bye-law and migrant form were released by Major Archbishop Mar George Cardinal Alancherry by handing them over to Mar Joseph Pandarasseril, youth commission chairman.
At the youth commission meeting held from 29 - 30 August 2016, the amended emblem and flag with English translation of the SMYM slogan "Youth in the Society for God's Kingdom" were duly approved by the youth commission. On 31st of August 2016, the synod approved the same.