Monday, September 12, 2011

Each According to Their Own Faith

Visitors of all faiths come to the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health hoping to be cured of medical ailments, resolve fertility issues, and receive blessings. Much as I saw in a Hindu temple in Gujarat, devotees can buy a silver, gold, or tin offering in the shape of the affected body part.. Garlands of flowers to drape over statues of Mary were popular purchases. Some also brought gold chains and saris. Hindus could be seen carrying platters of coconut halves, camphor, bananas, and flowers. In one chapel, they brought in baby coconut trees as an offering for fertility. Of course, money, placed in large locked boxes near the front of the chapels, is always welcomed. As people inch their way up to the altar or while sitting on the crowded floor, ritual actions are made, each according to his/her religion. Even during a Holy Mass, people of various faiths are present; it may not be until the distribution of the Lord’s Supper that one can distinguish the Christians from non-participating others. 

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