The Feast of Our Lady of Rosary in Navelim

The feast of our Lady of Rosary brings the entire village of Navelim to the feet of Mary, the Mother of God. People of all walks of life are drawn by an inner call that they deeply feel to the Church. The entire village of Navelim and the surrounding areas become soaked into a spiritual atmosphere that ignites an expectant joy that looks forward to coming of the day of the feast. Our Lady of Rosary, like the beads of the Rosary, not only binds the people together but also build a link with the divine. Mother Mary mediates the life of the people both at the human and social level as well as divine level. The mystery of the divine and the spiritual is accessed through the annual ritual procession, novena masses, lighting of candles, offering of garlands of flower, feast day masses, coming together of friends and family etc.

We can certainly find that the sacred and secular are living together in the life of our people. The spiritual is symbolically accessed through the material. The ordinary, the mundane mediates the extraordinary and the spiritual. The novena and the feast in Navelim like other feasts in Goa demonstrate how the divine and the spiritual circulates in the life of the masses. The celebrations in the Church and the celebrations at home and in the Church square intersect with each other making Mother Mary the nodal point of this intermingling. Mother Mary, thus beautifully bridges The Mystery of her son and the Mystery of the Church to the people.

The Catholic faith has its roots in the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. One cannot disassociate Mother Mary from the mystery of Jesus Christ. We may use the language of Adi Sankara and his Vedanta to understand the link between Jesus Christ, Mother Mary and the Mystery of the Church. Applying Indian interpretative (hermeneutical) tools, we can say that the link holds good at the vevharika level but is also a truth at the paramarthika level. Catholics can easily see and feel this link because Mother Mary, is the mother of Christ as well as the Mother of the Church. We can also understand the ever-unfolding mystery of faith through the image of dynamically growing knowledge by ever overcoming avidya. Mystery thus, from our Indian terms is knowing through avidya.

Therefore, the more we know of the mystery there is more yet to be known. The mystery is marked by growing knowledge as well as growing avidya. The mystery being a lived faith, is at once lived at the vevharika level or level of our daily life as well as at the paramarthika level, the level of the divine illumed to us through revelation in our Lord Jesus Christ. This means Catholics live the mystery of faith mediated by their daily life. In fact, there is no real dichotomy between the truth of faith at the paramarthika level and the truth of faith lived and experienced at the vevharika level. Theologically, it means Catholics live the mystery of faith incarnated in their daily life.

To understand this we have to give up our habitual linear thinking and embrace a circular mode of thinking. The vevharika level is linked with the paramarthika level by a circle. This means the relation between both paramarthika level and vevharika level is advaitic or sacramental and we can therefore see the link between devotion to Mother Mary and discipleship of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can vividly come to its appreciation through our devotion to Rosary. Rosary is a mediation on the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. The devotion of Rosary intensifies the moments of our life by enabling us to mingle them within the life, teachings, death and resurrection ( Paschal Mystery) of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mother Mary and the Holy Rosary doubles up and enable us to join our life, suffering, hopes and joys to the life, suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

People in Navelim give us the witness of the comingling of life and faith. The Catholic faith is celebrated and prayed in the Church while it is lived in hustle and bustle of daily life. The is a circular relation between what happens in the Church and homes and society at large. What happens in homes and society enters the Church and what happens in the Church enters the homes and society. The circle is thus made complete and life is made whole with the integration of grace. The feast in Navlim is an event of grace for all people in the village as well as surrounding areas. Like the beads of the rosary, the events in the Church are united with the events in the society. Our Hindu brethren also exhibit great devotion to our Lady of Rosary. Our Lady of Rosary indeed unites both human, divine and the cosmos.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao