Language Sites
  • UCAN China
  • UCAN India
  • UCAN Indonesia
  • UCAN Vietnam

Many faiths join Christian festival

Feast of Saint Lawrence a shining example of Indian interfaith harmony

Many faiths join Christian festival
Muslim women using the holy oil given at the shrine
Francis Rodrigues, Mangalore

January 28, 2011

Mail This Article
(For more than one recipient, type addresses separated by commas)

A three-day annual feast of Saint Lawrence that ended yesterday at a Catholic shrine in southern India has attracted thousands of people from various religions. The Shrine of St. Lawrence at Karkal near Mangalore in Karnataka state is more than 200 years old. It traditionally celebrates the three-day feast in the last week of January. Father Arthur Pereira, the shrine’s present director, says large number of Hindus, Jains and Muslims attended the feast. “This shrine is known for interreligious harmony despite fundamental attitudes that are prevalent in the present times,” the priest told Karnataka is one of the states in India where Hindu militants have targeted Christians over the past few years. Father Pereira says people forget their religious differences at the shrine. “They become extremely spiritual and emotional. They remove sandals and kiss the ground as a sign of deep devotion,” he said. People working outside visit the shrine on holidays. “We offer them flowers and holy water near the saint’s statue,” the priest added. John D’Silva, a local Catholic lay leader, said people from other religions outnumbered Christians on the third day of the feast. They revere the saint as the “god of Karkala.” Kishore and Seema Rao, a Hindu couple from Mumbai, said their son regained his health after praying there. “Doctors could not cure him of his problem. But our visit and prayers at this shrine has seen his health improve,” Kishore told Raziya, a Muslim woman, has visited the shrine for the past 10 years. “I had a growth on my tongue and a boil on one hand. They disappeared after I promised to light candles at the shrine,” she explained. Related reports India’s biggest Marian shrine gets rail link St. Jude Thaddeus’ shrine draws crowds IB13061.1638
Want more stories like this?
Sign up to receive UCAN Daily or Weekly newsletters (You can select one or more)
Want more stories like this?
Sign up to UCAN Daily or Weekly newsletters
You can select one or more
First Cut
Morning Daily
(Morning Daily)
Full Bulletin
Afternoon Daily
(Afternoon Daily)