There is calm after the sermon as life ran its normal course with residents of Chicalim and surrounding areas realising that there is no substitute to peace.
“That was a knee- jerk reaction to opportunism, but, in the end, we know the trust between brethren of different faiths in Goa cannot be broken,” muttered Andre as he walked home with friends after Sunday Mass at the Chicalim church.
Chicalim and parts of Vasco were in the news since Thursday after a sermon by Chicalim parish priest Fr Bolmax Pereira drew the ire of followers of Shivaji. And the permutations of the event that followed were consigned to the past by Sunday afternoon.
“I heard the sermon and must have forgotten about it by the time I reached home. It was the discussion during dinner that got me to have a re-think of what was said. Even then, I could not understand the fuss,” recollected a parishioner of Chicalim, who requested anonymity.
“We decided to come out to the church in the evening as we got worried and did not know what the reaction of the police would be to the demands of the people. Ours was a counter act to what was happening at the police station,” said a member who was present on Friday evening.
“No one can compare us to Manipur or any other state. We know what it is to live together with members of any religion. We do not need anyone to tell us how to do it. Perhaps, a few from my community got carried away and that should be it,” stated a successful doctor from the port city, who tends to people from all communities.
“I agree that politicians may try to make the best of the situation, but even then, in the end it is the voice of the people, and that voice is showing itself well,” added the surgeon.
“When I first heard the church bell ringing in the evening, I found it funny because never had I heard the bell ringing in this manner and at this time. It was only after I saw people rushing to the church that I realised something was wrong and decided to keep away,” reluctantly stated a non-Catholic resident living in the vicinity of the church.
Faithful from Chicalim retreated home after the last Sunday Mass with just a few sharing notes on what transpired during the last few days. Soon after Mass, some brought their new vehicles to be blessed while members of the Chicalim Communidade attended the executive committee meeting in their office adjacent to the church building.
Discussed on Sunday was the press release issued by the Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media (DCSCM), which read:
“A section of the print media has recently carried a misleading report titled ‘Church predicts Manipur-like situation in Goa’. We would like to state that the Church in Goa has never made such a statement. Statements made by an individual contributor to the pastoral bulletin of this Archdiocese have been made to appear as (official) statements of the Church. The pertinent newspaper has been asked to issue a corrigendum.”
By Monday morning, it was back to work again, with a few hiccups.