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Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Korlai

Dec. 29, 2016

The atmosphere was charged with joyful anticipation as almost the whole village of Korlai gathered at the village bus stop. The brass band played their marching tunes with gusto, the ladies, in their traditional dress, shared their excitement in their home-grown Creole (a Portuguese-Marathi mix), the children, in their Sunday clothes, ran and jumped about, and the men were dressed in neatly pressed shirts. A few of them carried double-barreled shotguns, at the ready for the gun-salute, as they awaited the arrival of the Chief Guest, the head of the Archdiocese of Bombay, Oswald Cardinal Gracias. The excitement was palpable as Fr. Edward Jacinto, the Parish Priest, marshaled his troops to take care of any last minute tie-ups.

The visit of the Head of the Archdiocese to this comparatively remote part of the Archdiocese was indeed a special occasion. As his convoy of vehicles arrived, His Eminence was greeted with a bouquet of flowers and a rousing cheer, which was echoed by the gun salute.

The procession, accompanied by the brass band, then made its way through this ancient village, whose roots have been veiled by time, with the altar servers leading the way. The little streets were decked with decorations and streamers and wore a festive look. This was the parishioners’ way of saying to the Cardinal, ‘You are welcome to our village, our homes, and our hearts’.

Once in the church compound, the school children took over with the school band and their lezims. The celebration of the Eucharist commenced with a prayer dance by the children bearing steel matkas . The Cardinal and the concelebrants were greeted at the foot of the altar with the traditional arti and tikka. The offerings comprised the produce of the land along with the hosts and wine, required for the sacrifice of the Mass. The hymns were rendered with enthusiastic reverence.

After the Eucharistic celebration, the Cardinal went on to bless and inaugurate the newly constructed community hall and parish house. After the blessing, the people presented a cultural program followed by a community lunch.

Korlai may be tucked away in a remote corner of the Archdiocese of Bombay, but this event witnessed to the fact that the faith there is amazingly and joyfully alive!

(To know more about Korlai you can watch this video created by the Archdiocese of Bombay : )

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