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Communicating in the language of the parishers

Brussels, Mumbai, January 26th, 2016 (SIGNIS/The Times India/Ucan India). The East Indian community in Maharashtra witnessed a rare event on Sunday when Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay celebrated mass with a sprinkling of the native dialect of this community.

Some 2,000 East Indians attended the event, happening after a gap of decades, from 60 gaothans and koliwadas across Mumbai, Thane and Raigad at Holy Name Church at 11am. "While the main mass was celebrated in Marathi, certain parts which involve prayers to be said by the people were said in the East Indian dialect," said Father Nigel Barrett, the archdiocesan spokesperson.

As the Cardinal does not speak the dialect, another priest delivered the homily. The petitions of the people, liturgically referred to as the ’Prayers of the Faithful’, were also said in the East Indian dialect.

Godfrey Pimenta of the Bombay East Indian Association, which organized the event, said it was "a historic movement for the community since mass in the East Indian dialect is being celebrated after decades."The aim is to preserve the language, which is hardly spoken by the young generation."

Traditional items were sold at the venue. Pimenta said, "I have designed 500 umbrellas from the East Indian sari or ’lugda’. One can use them during monsoon. These were sold at cost price. We also treated the guests to traditional breakfast and lunch. Brass bands gave the event a festive air."

Father Nigel recalled the contribution of the East Indians to the cause of nation building. Both before and since Independence several natives gave up their vast land holdings to the government to build infrastructure.

Fr Nigel said this Eucharistic celebration gave an opportunity to the Cardinal to interact with members of the community and express his gratitude for the contribution of the East Indian community to the Church and the country.


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