Migrant Catholic Community of Mumbai Celebrate their Faith
Mumbai (CBCI News): Some 6000 Catholic migrant workers in Mumbai came together at St. Theresa’s Church, Bandra, to celebrate God’s love together with their Shepherd Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Bishop Agnelo Gracias, Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes and Bishop John Rodrigues. Most of the workers hail from states such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Assam.
The people led Cardinal Oswald Gracias and other bishops to the altar with a traditional dance. The ceremony began with ceremonial washing of hands and applying of kumkum on the foreheads of the celebrants. The St. Theresa’s ground witnessed the joy and exhilaration of the Faithful. The liturgy was in Hindi while the people sang hymns in Hindi and Sadri. The singers, altar servers, ushers – were all from the migrants of Mumbai. The Cardinal who presided over the Eucharist along with the other bishops and priests, in his homily in Hindi recalled the difficulties many of them face and urged them to have faith in the Lord and pray in all situations of life.
It was Later Fr. Proksh, SVD who in 1973 started an evening Mass every Sunday in Hindi for the benefit of the migrant workers and others. He used to bring along his singers from Gyan Ashram to St. Theresa’s Church. The Hindi Mass has continued over the years by the Divine Word Fathers and on an average about 2500 people from all over Mumbai attend the Mass on Sundays. Being conscious of the spiritual needs of the migrants, especially those from the North and North-East Indian states, the SVD Fathers have faithfully continued the tradition of offering pastoral care to them..
The gathering with the Cardinal and the Bishops is the result of the networking between all the centres under the leadership of Bishop Agnelo. .In the month of April the networking- committee got rectified 27 marriages on St. Xavier’s Ground, Vile Parle. The Catholic Sabah organized the function. On Easter Sunday there were 33 baptisms of the migrant persons who were not baptized, whose parents were Catholics. On Pentecost Sunday this year Confirmation was administered to 63 migrants by Bishop Agnelo Gracias, on St. Theresa’s ground.
The local Church is trying to do whatever it can to provide pastoral care to the migrant community so that they can have access to the Sacraments and be able to remain in touch with Christ, the Church and each other. The missionaries have toiled for these people in the missions for years with their sweat and blood, and it is our duty that the faith of these migrant Faithful are not be lost in the din of Mumbai metropolitan city, said one of the organizers of the event.