THE East Indian community gathered at the Holy Cross Church in Kurla Sunday for the Holy Eucharist Mass, which was conducted in the East Indian Marathi dialect. Cardinal Oswald Gracious was present at the event organised by the Bombay East Indian Association.
It is after nearly 85 years that the Eucharist mass was held in the East Indian dialect in Mumbai. What made the occasion more special was that a Cardinal, for the first time in 400 years, celebrated the mass in the dialect. The language is an amalgamation of Marathi, Konkani and Portuguese.
Nearly 1,500 East Indians from gaothans spread across Mumbai, Vasai, Thane and Raigad attended the mass. The objective behind organising the mass was to bring the community together.
“The community is spread across the country and beyond. The mass facilitated the convergence of the community and allowed everyone to bond,” said Vivian D’souza, president of the Bombay East Indian Association. According to him, the preparation took nearly a month, while getting the Cardinal’s permission took nearly two-and-a-half years.
Hymns in the East Indian dialect were sung at the mass. People were served authentic East Indian dishes. Stalls selling traditional items like the Lugda saree, worn by East Indian women, jewellery and CDs of East Indian music were set up. “We longed to hear the mass in the East Indian dialect. We are proud that the community has taken a step forward,” said Annie Remedios, 80, a resident of Ghatkopar.
While this kind of a mass will become an annual feat, the community plans to hold such masses on a smaller scale every month at various parishes. “It felt like a family was getting together. For us, the message about unity is most important,” said Christine Miranda, 48, from Madh Island.
After the mass, people danced to traditional songs composed by members of the community.