Plaque of Magnificat in Konkani unveiled in Jerusalem

PTI, 26-09-2017 11:21:26

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Plaque of Magnificat in Konkani unveiled in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Sep 25 (PTI) Nearly a hundred Indian Christian pilgrims from Goa and Kolkata celebrated the unveiling of prayer tablet in Konkani language at the famous Church of Visitation in the Ein Kerem area here.

The unveiling is part of a tradition which honours the visit paid by Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.

Many Indian pilgrims were in tears of joy as the Arch Bishop of Goa, Daman and Diu Reverend Father Filipe Neri Ferrao unveiled the plaque of Magnificat, also commonly referred to as Mary’s Song of Praise.

“This is a great honour and matter of joy for the Konkani speakers”, Father Ferrao said.

A Konkani Christian Nancy, living in Qatar, said that six of them joined the group on the flight from Doha to Amman and for her this ceremony is going to be the highlight of the trip.

“We Konkani’s have a deep faith in Mother Mary. Mother Mary and Mother Teresa are two figures most respected in the community and i can’t express my pride at the fact that we have been able to put a prayer tablet in Konkani at this church”, she told PTI.

“I can’t express my joy. This is a great privilege bestowed on us by the authorities of the Holy Land. I hope the last remaining spot on the wall sees a plaque in Bengali”, said Father Raju from Barrackpore near Kolkata.

Several Christian shrines in Israel are managed by the Vatican outside the administrative jurisdiction of the State of Israel through the organisation known as Custodia De Terra Sancta (Custody of the Holy Land).

The organisation has the authority to allow space in various shrines in Israel to install prayer specific to that shrine in various vernacular languages of the world.

Magnificat plaques in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada have already found a place on the walls of the Visitation church.

Scopus World Travel Ltd, a travel agency in Israel owned by Indians, recently applied to the Custodia De Terra Sancta to allot one of the two left spaces for plaques at the Visitation church in Konkani language.

“This is a great achievement for us and for India in general and the Konkani speaking people in particular”, said Ashok Ravindran, CEO of Scopus.

The travel agency has been bringing about eight to nine thousand Christian pilgrims from India to Israel every year and hope to multiply the numbers as interest among Indian tourists for the Holy Land continues to grow, he said.

“We can’t express our joy at being here and going through places Jesus walked. We decided to renew our marriage vows after 42 years of being together at the Cana Church in Nazareth”, said Derek and Gilda Gomez, an elderly couple from Behala in Kolkata.

The Goan tourists recited prayers and Magnificat in Konkani and all the participants stood up to sing India’s national anthem at the end of the ceremony.

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