They say faith is being sure of things that we hope for; just like the unwavering trust that the people of Divar have on Redemptor Saib, who they believe will safeguard and guide them through all obstacles. This Sunday, on the occasion of his feast, Divadkars will renew their faith in their Saib (Lord Redeemer).
The feast is traditionally celebrated on the third Sunday of November.
On this occasion, the otherwise quiet island buzzes with a festive atmosphere, even as a religious fervour prevails. Parishioners come together in deep devotion to the miraculous image of the Lord Redeemer that is preserved at the Capela do N S Redemptor (Chapel of Our Lord The Redeemer) in Saibawaddo, Divar.
As a kid growing up and listening to the stories of miracles surrounding the statue of Lord Redeemer from her parents, Rossma Serrao, a youth from Divar became fascinated by the amount of faith and love her community had for the feast where everyone came together each year and participated whole heartedly.
“This year I had the opportunity to play the violin for the novenas and will be doing so at the feast as well, and in my honest heart it’s an honour to be part of something that is so dear to me,” Rossma says.
There are several versions of how this statue with life-like features came to Divar. One goes like this: A villager named Caetano Ferrao resided at the house where today stands the Chapel. After working at a sculpting firm in Sicily, Italy for several years, he decided to return home for good with one of his personal masterpieces. Appreciating his dedicated service, his boss let him have it, besides giving him a pension.
But at the docks, when the time came to pay the customs duty as per the weight of the luggage, the statue weighed so much that there weren’t enough weights to match it. This left Caetano puzzled as the statue couldn’t have weighed more than 30 kg. He then fell to his knees and pleaded with the statue to not force him to leave without it.
The box was weighed again, this time it was so light that the pan stayed up in the air. The frightened officials requested a female traveller to give the lace hair flower she was wearing and placed it on the box. The weight now equalled that of the flower. Thus, Caetano left the docks exempted from paying any duty fee, a miracle he kept to himself once he returned home.
This is a highly anticipated feast on the island. People from all over participate in the celebrations with solemnity and devotion.
“When I gaze upon the statue of Lord Redeemer, it reminds me of the sacrifice he made for us. Kneeling before the statue and venerating it empowers me and strengthens my resolve. Lord Redeemer holds a central place in my family,” says Ciena Furtado, a parishioner.
This year, the novenas began on November 10 with a difference. Each day’s Eucharistic celebration was dedicated to reflect themes on family. Traditionally, the Vespers mass is followed by a fireworks’ spectacle but this year the Piedade Parish is organizing a Gospel Night, where there’ll be praise and worship with music, dance and performances by Faith band, G.I.P.A and more.
With the theme Saiba Redemptor Amchea Kalzacho Raza: ‘Mog Mogan Jiyeun, Ghorabeak Mogacho Sontos’, two masses will be held on the feast day at 8am and 10am (high mass).
With paper flowers pinned to dresses and suits, accompanied by a brass band, the longstanding practice of observing traditions and customs during this feast celebrations has strengthened the community’s faith. And it is this faith, that one will witness on the island this Sunday.