Until 1967, the Catholics of Palarivattam and the surrounding places, who belonged to the Syro Malabar Rite, used to go to Edappally Church for their spiritual needs. In those days Palarivattam was a part of Vyttila panchayat. When Cardinal Joseph Parekkattil had been in charge of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, he told Rev Dr Antony Puthusserry, the vicar of Edappally, about his desire to establish a new parish between Ernakulam and Edappally. Rev Dr Puthusserry began his earnest attempt to find a suitable place to establish the new church very soon.
Soon it was found that the land at Palarivattam belonging to Kochaneth Balakrishna Kurup Girija Kurup Kochanantha Kurup, which was near the road and which included some fields and an aqueduct, was convenient for the new church. The trustees Of Edappally John Kattithara and his brother Francis Kattithara took initiative to purchase that piece of land. A temporary shed was constructed the very next day and the first holy mass was celebrated there the coming Sunday by Rev Fr Varghese Kavalakkatt, the Pro Vicar general of the archdiocese. The foundation stone for the proposed church and priest home was laid on the same day itself. The land where the chapel stands today had been donated by Thomas Antony Valiyaparampil.
The work on the new building which was to house the church and the priest home was completed in no time and the new church was dedicated to St Martin de Porres. Rev Dr Varghese Kattakkakathuttu, the assistant vicar of Edappally was appointed the first vicar of Palarivattam church. At first there were only seventeen families belonging to the Syro Malabar Rite under the new church at Palarivattam. However, a lot of people belonging to the Latin Rite who lived in places around the church came to attend the service there. That practice is maintained even today. A considerable portion of the various things necessary for the new church had been the donations of the people from Latin Rite. We remember that the holy of holies was donated by Joseph Nediyathara. The first trustee of Palarivattam was John Kattithara and the first sacristan was Job Kattithara. Right from the purchase of land to the construction of the church building, everything was supervised by John Kattithara and his brother Francis Kattithara, who worked hard with the priests to put a strong foundation to the new church.
The church was established only in 1968. But the growth the church has shown is just incredible. A major impetus came from the government decision to make Palarivattam a part of Cochin Corporation. After that people started flowing to Ernakulam and nearby places in search of jobs and for business purposes. A large number of those people settled in places around the church. Gradually the number of families grew significantly. The parish was growing fast In 1971, St Martin nursery school was established. It has now grown into an English Medium LP school.
The tenth anniversary in 1978
The tenth anniversary of the establishment of St Martin de Porus Church was celebrated in 1978 under the leadership of the vicar Rev Fr Thomas Nettikkadan and the assistant vicar Rev Dr Varghese Kalapparampath. There were 123 families under the parish at that time. One of the important organizers of the tenth anniversary celebrations was Justice Joseph Vithayathil, the father of Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil. The public meeting held in connection with the celebrations was attended, among other dignitaries, by the minister K A Damodara Menon. A souvenir was published to commemorate the occasion.
The branch of Cherupushpa Mission League functioned in an exemplary fashion in the parish from its inception. They used to bring a manuscript magazine too. That was an idea encouraged and supported by the then vicar Rev Fr Joseph Kuncharath The initiative shown by him and the assistant vicar Rev Fr Mathew Kilukkan was invaluable in the reconstruction of the church.
Though the number of families increased steadily and rapidly, there were practically no contacts among most of these families as they had come from various far away places. It was in such a situation that the idea of family units was put forward in 1984. Soon they were established under the initiative of Rev Fr Mathew Koipparampil. It opened the doors to a great idea called “the parish a big fellowship.” This was a decisive step in the progress of the parish as it cemented the spiritual, the physical and the human aspects of a community made one in Christ. It soon led to the development of a rejuvenation in faith, which encouraged the members to love and accept all. Now we have a parish community strong in faith, unity and Christian love
The next ten years concentrated on spiritual growth of the parishioners. In that drive valuable help was derived from Loretto Bhavan (the Adoration Convent), and Anjali Sadan (CMC Convent). They have been rendering invaluable support in the administrative, spiritual and social programmes of the parish. The LP school has always been managed by the Adoration convent. We are convinced that the convents have succeeded in contributing significantly to the spiritual; growth of the parish.
The 312 families divided into six units in 1991 have grown to about 650 families divided into sixteen family units now.
The silver jubilee of the parish was celebrated in a befitting manner from 26 December 1993 to 2 January 1994. It was an occasion for the community to celebrate the opportunity of being united in Christ. The celebrations were inaugurated when Rev Fr Mathew Earaly was the Pro vicar. Most of the celebrations were held during the tenure of Rev Fr Joy Ayiniyadan and the jubilee souvenir was published at the time of Rev Fr Jose Vayalikkodath. A Parish Hall was constructed a jubilee memorial. It was in this hall that the services were conducted when the new church building was being constructed.
The idea of the new church building had been felt when the old building was highly insufficient to contain all the members of the parish. The idea was given formal shape by the vicar Rev Fr Jose Ozhalakkattil and the parish committee. But the decision to build the new church was taken only when Rev Fr Zacharias Paranilam was the vicar. The idea was called ‘the new Martin church in the third millennium.’ It was Rev Fr Joseph Kunchathara who took the initiative for the construction of the imposing new building. We acknowledge with gratitude his great contributions coming from his experience and skills.
The various devotional organizations that function in the parish have all contributed in a bid way to the all round progress of the parish and the community. They have worked tirelessly to lead the parishioners to unity, love, cooperation, and spiritual growth.
On this occasion we proudly and gratefully remember the vicars who have led the parish in its 38-year long history. We conclude this memoir expressing our great sense of gratitude to all who have helped and supported