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Mary: Mother of All PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 03 April 2007 06:00

The US Bishops have just issued a glowing new documentary Picturing Mary that explores the ways in which the Virgin Mary is portrayed throughout time and in cultures all over the world. Picturing Mary is scheduled to run on public television in April and May so check your local schedules. There's a very nice trailer.

I came across the film while following up on an interesting Holy Week story:

How in
Siparia, Trinidad (founded originally as a Capuchin mission) a local statue of Our Lady reverenced by Catholics has also long been a pilgrimage site for over 100 years by Hindus who regard the black image as an image of Kali. Since Good Friday was a holiday even for poor Hindu sugar cane workers in Trinidad, they would camp outside the church on Holy Thursday with lighted candles and fill the place on Good Friday.

Numerous attempts have been made to discourage the practice but when in the 1920's, the priest locked the doors on Holy Thursday night, the crowd threatened to burn the church down. So to this day, Good Friday at Siparia remains a Catholic - Hindu affair. A local Hindu doctor wrote a editorial in today's Carribean Net news in which he is critical of the Catholic refusal to, among other things, not give communion to their Hindu guests who often attend Mass. He regards this as an expression of resurgent anti-Hinduism.

As he describes it "Stalls on the roadway are stacked with Indian sweetmeats and delicacies. Framed pictures of Hindu deities are sold alongside those of Christian saints, and potters peddle their kalsas [jars], jugs and goblets. Members of the Hare Krishna sect peddle incense, images and japa
beads [rosaries] in their trademark traditional dress on the church compound and street. "

Not exactly the image most of us have of Good Friday.

While researching this story, I came across two familiar themes: the local bishop lamenting that Catholics are falling away from the faith because their faith was not personal - and the Hindu doctor noting that only 65% of local Indians are Hindu and that "It is believed that the majority of Christian Indians now belong to the new Evangelical Church and are converts from Hinduism."

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