Konkani Activists Seek Ban on 'English in Liturgy' in Mangalore Diocese
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore
Pics by Prajwal Ukkuda
Mangalore, Dec 14: "The use of English in liturgy in churches across the Diocese of Mangalore has divided our people into those who attend 'English Mass' and others who go to 'Konkani mass' This division starts at the early age where some children are sent to 'English Catechism' and others of the same age to 'Konkani Dotorn'. The so called English lovers remain away from all the church activities and do not identify with others. This division earlier limited to one or two parishes of the city, is now spreading to other places. It poses a great threat to the unity of our people. It is also not good to the future of Konkani in the coastal district" opined several Konkani leaders and well wishers at a meet on 'Konkani in Liturgy' which was organised by Konkani Prachar Sanchalan on Sunday 14th December 2008 at Don Bosco Hall, Mangalore.
Fr. Pratap Naik, S.J Director of Thomas Stephens Konkani Institute, Goa , spoke on the directives of the church regarding the use of the language in liturgy. He said that as per the documents of Vatican II, it is the Bishop who can decide the use of a particular language in liturgy in his diocese and not others. He further stressed the need of preserving the mother tongue in our day today use, may be at home or at liturgy as it is the identity of a community. If a community loses its identity it will face social and psychological problems in the long run. He gave the examples of few Indian communities who are facing a lot of social and family problems as they have lost their identity by following English blindly. He further urged that the prime time of the Holy Mass in churches across the Mangalore diocese should be reserved for Konkani. He said instead of English, Latin can be used for the migrants as it is the official language of the Roman Catholic Church.
After the debate which nearly went for more than an hour, Eric Ozario, Mandd Sobhann Gurkar and the former president of Konkani Sahitya Academy proposed the following resolutions:
1. Considering that the use of English in liturgy and catechism freely is detrimental to the unity of our community, the Bishop should decide the official language of the Mangalore Diocese and introduction of English Holy Masses and catechisms newly in the churches should be withheld till the decision about the official language is being taken.
2. We appeal to the Bishop to consider Konkani as the official language of the diocese and all the English liturgies in the churches should be shifted to non-prime time and should be gradually stopped.
3. The Konkani Catholics should speak Konkani in their homes and wherever there are facilities the children should be encouraged to learn Konkani in schools and people should use Konkani in social gatherings.
These were passed unanimously.
Karnataka Sahitya Academy former president Fr Alexander D Souza inaugurated the programme by ringing the bell. He said this bell is to wake up our people to use Konkani in liturgy.
Konkani Prachar Sanchalan president Roy Castelino welcomed the gathering and the Secretary Dr Edward Nazareth explained the need of the discussion on the issue of language in liturgy. The Konkani activist Stany Alvares and Vitori Karkal compered the programme.