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A group of girls perform a Hindu dance at the altar during mass

The Indian Rite of the Mass

You are at St. Ann's Church, Toronto, Canada. It is July 2, 2006 during Sunday Mass. The co-celebrating priests are at left above, Fr. Thomas d'Sa from India and to his right, the parish priest of St. Ann's. Fr. d'Sa is the Director of the National Biblical Catechetical Liturgical Centre, NBCLC, a department of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in India, which officially endorses and promotes this Indian Rite of the Mass.

The Mass was announced in the parish bulletin as the "Indian Order for the Eucharistic Celebration." It was also announced on the Archdiocese of Toronto's website.

The Mass is conducted following the rituals of a puja, a Hindu worship service. A group of girls dance and sing during parts of the Mass, their words and actions having symbolic meaning in Hinduism. They belong to a group called Nrityavani [the voice of the dance] directed by Fr. d'Sa.

In the first part of the Mass, equivalent to the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the girls dance and sing in honor of the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, above. However, the chant features the mantra "OM," the supreme vibration in Hinduism. OM also represents the Hindu trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

At other parts of the Mass, fire, incense and flowers are offered on plates as shown below, first row, during the Consecration. This gesture in the Hindu religion is made to honor an external deity or the divine inner consciousness of a person. The name of the ceremonial is arati, which signifies that the goddess Arathi is appeased by the offering of fire, incense and flowers.

At the Our Father, preceding the Communion, below second row, a Hare Krishna chant is sung. After Fr. d'Sa says the Our Father (four times), the response is indeed "Hare Krishna." Now, Hare Krishna means "O energy of the lord (hare), O lord (Krishna), engage me in your service."

During the Mass both priests sport a white dot between their eyebrows. The most common meaning of this dot is to proclaim oneself Hindu.

The Indian Rite of the Mass presented by Fr. d'Sa is the fruit of decades of effort by the Indian Bishops Conference to "inculturate" the Catholic Faith to the pagan religion of India... In reality it is a syncretist ceremony that incorporates pagan deities in the Holy Sacrifice. Another serious desecration coming from Vatican II.

More on the topic? Read Cornelia Ferreira here.

The Hindu dancing girls offer gifts during the mass

Hindu dancing girls during the mass

Pictures from Cornelia Ferreira

Posted July 8, 2007

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