On Sunday, February 10, 2019, during our regular monthly meeting, the Sydney Martha Associates welcomed three students from India who are studying at Cape Breton University. One of the students, Stephy, is also the house guest of Anne and Terry Campbell, both Martha Associates. What a lovely way to show Gospel Hospitality!! Stephy shared a little with our group of going to Church in India.
Stephy attends Holy Family Church in Nazareth, India. Her Church has 6 Masses on Sunday. There is standing room only at each Mass, in fact, many people stand outside the Church, if there is no room to sit on the floor of the Church!!! There are at least 1500 children enrolled in the Catechism program! The children range in age from four, up until 18!! Every Catechism teacher must take a 5 day preparatory course to teach religion! Stephy was herself, a Catechism teacher in India! She expressed her surprise at how few young people there are at our Sunday Masses!!
Our Associate group was also blessed to welcome Stephy’s friends, Rajshree and Jay. Both are Hindu. Raj spoke a little about the traditions of her Hindu Faith. First, Raj told us a little about India. It has a population of 1.3 billion people and is the largest democracy in the world! India is very diverse. While there are at least 22 different languages spoken in India, the official language is (surprisingly!), English, although most people speak Hindi! There are several faith groups in India: Hindu, Christianity, Jainism, Sikkism, Islam, Buddhism. The number one faith tradition is Hindu, followed by Christianity.
Raj explained the Hindu greeting of “Namaste”, recognizing the Spirit within yourself and in another. She also told us that at the core of the Hindu beliefs is LOVE! Jay also helped in some of the explanation of the Hindu faith. It was wonderful to learn something about a faith tradition that was different from our own beliefs, yet anchored in LOVE!! It was all about love. Listening and learning about another faith tradition is a wonderful way to show respect and love for others who may have different beliefs and traditions. It is one way to live Gospel Hospitality!!