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Cuncolim catholic feast a symbol of religious harmony between Hindus and Catholics

Maddi celebrated on Sunday at church premises and at Dandora in the evening with great pomp and religious devotion
Novenas begin from Monday
Feast to be celebrated on February 2

CUNCOLIM: The feast of Our Lady of Health, which is known for religious integrity among the Catholics and Hindus, will be celebrated on February 2 in Cuncolim.

It is pertinent to note that the feast of Our Lady of Health and zatra and Sotreo celebration of Shree Shantadurga Kunkalikarin have become the symbol of Hindu-Catholic unity. This exemplary religious integrity needs to follow in other parts of State, says a local from Cuncolim. Hindus are expected to throng the church for the feast to offer flowers and light candles to seek Saude Saibinn’s blessings. As narrated by their ancestors, both Hindus and Catholics in Cuncolim strongly believe Saude Saibinn and Shree Shantadurga Kunkalikarin are sisters.

The religious unity is evident by the fact the Hindus without fail visit the church during the feast while Catholics throng the Shantadurga Kunkalikarin Temple during zatra and sotreo festival by taking part in the procession welcoming Goddess Shantadurga like their Hindu brethren.

Catholics call Goddess Shantadurga as Mamai Saibinn. The religious unity in Cuncolim has prevailed as the Cuncolkars believe that Saude Saibin and Shantadurga Kunkalikarin are sisters.

On this religious integrity, Fr Victor Ferrao, in his article "Feast of Our Lady of Health Harbinger of Peace and Healing," says ‘for ages Mother Mary has become a bridge for the two communities in Cuncolim. The celebration in Cuncolim has become therefore the celebration of unity in diversity a true living of the marvel of oneness and difference.’ Fr Ferrao further says, “The feast in Cuncolim inspires us to reopen the rigid boundaries.”

Due to pandemic the Church authorities have imposed several restrictions and SOPs to be followed during the feast celebration. Due to the prevailing pandemic situation, the Church’s local authorities had earlier decided not to keep the church open in the evening for Hindu devotees. The priest had appealed to the parishioners to convey the message to their Hindu brethren not to visit church on the feast day. The Hindu devotees along with Catholics requested the church authorities to make some arrangements for Hindu devotees to seek blessings of Mother Mary.

“Genuine Kuncollekars strongly believe that Our Lady of Health and Shantadurga Kuncollekarin fondly known as Kuncollkan are true sisters. Many Catholics seen dancing and spilling the “gulal of unity” with their Hindu brethren during the annual Sontreo festival at Cuncolim and the Hindu community at large makes a point to visit Our Lady of Health fondly called as Saude Saibinn annually on February 2, the feast day of our Church. The Catholics, specially the “Kshatriyas” make a point if around to participate in the annual Jatra utsav of Shatadurga Kunkollekarin held at Fatorpa annually. Things are different after the Pandemic but we strongly believe that both divine sisters along with the Rakhondar of the village housed at Unkinni Band, Cuncolim will work out a plan soon,” says Joel Moraes.

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