Friday, June 23, 2006

Feast of the Sacred Heart in Bombay

I ended up for the 7:15 pm solemn Mass at St. Peter's in the suburb of Bandra (with a large Catholic population). This is the parish where I was baptized, and where I go for Mass when in the city.

The church was crowded, like a Sunday. Eight concelebrants (including four elderly Spanish Jesuits, who've had a huge role as missionaries in Western India. St. Peter's is a Jesuit parish. The principal celebran was a priest of the Society of St. Paul, however.). Procession. Incense. The works. Simple choir with a single guitar accompanying. Hearty singing by the congregation.

I love St. Peter's -- a beautiful Italianate neoclassical thing. Not sure how old. Small graveyeard in the front, right next to a large dusty open field, the playground for St. Stanislaus' boys' school next door. It's so familiar. After a minute, I even forget about the loud traffic bustling right next to the church on Hill Road. Just noticed for the first time that there seems to be something under a glass display under the old high altar. Could it be a saint? Will have to check that out. [Probably tomorrow when I'll be back in Bandra. Visiting my friend Sandra. Yes, I actually know a Sandra from Bandra.] During the Eucharistic Prayer, we prayed for "Benedict our Pope and all the bishops and priests." I know that Cardinal Dias has been appointed to Propaganda Fide. Has he already left? Is the See here vacant?

And after Mass --- Benediction. In all my years (well, about 4 of them) of going to Mass in Bombay in the early 90s, I'd never come across Benediction. With the Salutaris Hostia and Pange Lingua (in English), but without the Divine Praises. And a prayer concecrating the parish to the Sacred Heart. [This was Benediction with the ciborium, however. Not a monstrance. Again, that's new to me.]

Anyway, very grateful to have made Mass, in a spirit of thanksgiving especially for the good news with respect to my father's health.

[Sadly, any sense of piety disappeared as I got in the car to drive back to my uncle's place. Oh lord, why the heck do I try driving in this city? :: sigh :: :)]

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