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The Community Rosaries of Bombay

There was a time when this was routine schedule for many. Even non-Catholics would also join both rosaries at home as well as outside in the community and were pretty familiar with the Hail Mary’s more than the Catholics

The Community Rosaries of Bombay

We are in an age of speed. People in cities like Mumbai are finding hard to socialise. Perhaps the only time they meet each other could be in Church. But there was a time when Rosaries used to be the main socialising events in neighbourhoods.

From a symbol of faith and prayer, rosary beads grew up to become Catholic identity. It also shaped up to be a fashion symbol for many non-Catholics who either had affection towards faith or absolutely no knowledge about the custom.

But in those beads were hidden the meaning of shaping up communities. As Catholics began to assemble at makeshift altars with a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, even the neighbours joined irrespective of their religion or region. Thus began the Rosary Communities.

Most areas in the then Bombay has these communities. While elders would garland the statue with fresh flowers, others would light the candle. While the rosaries were uttered, some would concentrate while others would be busy in their daily news capsule discussions. But the community got stronger as more people joined.

Today Catholics are finding it tough to recite the rosaries at home because of the work pressure and absence from home. But there was a time when this was routine schedule for many. Even non-Catholic guests at Catholic homes would also join both rosaries at home as well as outside in the community. They were pretty familiar with the Hail Mary’s more than the Catholics.

Catholics from the original Bombay province – also called as East Indians – were joined by Catholics from Konkan, Goa and southern tip of Karnataka who mingled into the Bombay culture of Community Rosaries. Different types of beads originated with the wooden one being the most popular. Then came a time when glowing beads became a fashion. Even crystal rosaries were on display at Mahim as well as Mount Mary Basilica. 

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