14 Rosary Time - Albert C deSouza

posted May 18, 2017, 7:58 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 18, 2017, 8:00 AM ]
It is the month of May, and the evenings are dedicated to saying the Rosary, a form of devotion respecting The Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother and protector of all her children, members of the Church established by her Divine Son Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind. The practice has been going on since time immemorial. Earliest recollections are during my childhood, when the family prayed together at home before the evening meal. This was the preferred time, as after meals, one tended to fall asleep. Our elders were wise. I was a lad of twelve coming to Goa for the first time after escaping from Rangoon, the capital city of Burma, as it was known then. I found it strange to find the worshippers at home divided into two groups - one who said the responses in Konkani, and the other being the younger generation of children responding in English. As children, the Rosary tended to be a trifle boring, since explanations of what it was all about was not the order of the day.

The recitation of the Litany was even more difficult to comprehend, as it was said in Latin! It was literally 'Latin and Greek' to us. Ora pro nobis was mouthed mechanically. More interesting were 'litanies' in the neighbourhood where boiled gram and sweets were distributed. Who would want to miss out on the doce, bebinca, peenag, dodol etc.? As for the elderly males, they were all pouring out stiff libations of feni for themselves. Some hands were trembling, I noted, but not a drop of the precious liquid was ever spilt. Some might have even come to the Litany pre-charged, especially the musicians who played their violins rather aggressively. Those were the days whose images are seared into my memory. In Belgaum, where I was a student in school and college (in the late 40s), every evening in May was dedicated to our Lady with singing of the hymn 'Let us mingle together' and other popular hymns. The service was held in the church of St Anthony, if I remember. However, the service was quite long, taking an hour at least, with a sermon, singing of the Litany and Benediction. Sometimes, the heavens opened (literally showers of blessings) and it rained profusely, cooling the place like a hill station. Electric fans were unknown. These are memories that do not fade.