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Our Lady of Salvation Church - Dadar - Mumbai - INDIA

Inter Religious Dialogue Cell

Head:                    Terence Lopez
Asst. Head:            Thelma Cardoz
Priest-in-charge:   Fr. Mario Mendes


An Experimental Parish IRD CELL


Sanmarg is only about a year old, but it is making a difference to the pastoral life of the Parish of Our Lady of Salvation, Dadar. The Parishioners are happy it is providing a platform for interacting with people of other faiths; our neighbours belong to different religious backgrounds are getting a chance to interact with the priests and parishioners. And so it is one success story we would like to share in the pages of this magazine.


Sanmarg has had very humble beginnings. It all began with Fr. Mario Mendes preaching about the need for Christians to interact with people of other faiths at a Sunday morning mass, and Mr. Terence Lopez giving God’s word a fitting reply by approaching Fr. Mario immediately after mass and asking the simple question: “Father, why don’t we do something concrete about inter-religious dialogue? The rest, as they say, is history.


Sanmarg is special because it has a core team made up of people from different faiths. The meetings therefore have a hue of their own. Things that we would take for granted in a team of catholics only have to be recast in order to accommodate a broader spectrum of ideologies. Core Team meetings therefore begin with a prayer, but a prayer that people of other faiths can participate in. initially it posed a problem, but the regularity of meetings has helped iron out these hurdles. The Core Team itself being multi-religious has helped a great deal in the functioning of Sanmarg. There is no question of designing programmes “for people of other faiths”, but the core discussions and planning take place in an atmosphere in which the sensibilities of different faith groups are already fed in, in order that the board comes up with decisions that are mutually acceptable.


Sanmarg is special because it has organized a regular set of activities to which people of all faiths are invited. From national feasts to celebrations festivals in different religious traditions, to even shows of solidarity in moments of crisis, Sanmarg has been able to take the lead in gathering interested individuals and leaving a lasting impression on participants. An interesting point was the rangoli and diya painting competition that was held last Diwali. The Church has a lovely courtyard that open on to broad pavement; the rangolis were displayed for the public to watch, and they were surely very charmed – there were many people using their mobile phones to capture the paintings and send them back to their friends!

Sanmarg is special because a lot of the networking is done by lay parishioners. The parish is in area of Mumbai surrounded by shrines of various other religions. The parishioners are interacting all the while with people of other faiths; these contacts are being used in order to invite people to participate in joint activities. This dimension of “parish life” is obviously a new one, and so the steps being taken may be small and faltering. But a beginning has been made, and it is sinking into everyone’s consciousness that we cannot be living in a religious ghetto; only in dialoguing can we truly live out our mission a s faithful disciples of Christ. A mosque or a temple within the boundaries of the parish is an invitation for the catholics staying in the vicinity to build up relationships with lay people of other faiths who frequent these shrines perhaps as frequently as we go to church. The priests here are also wondering whether they shouldn’t be inviting the priests attached to these temples and mosques shouldn’t be invited “for tea” to our presbyteries. After all, as they say, to be religious is to be inter-religious.




On the 20th of October 2009, Our Lady of Salvation welcomed our brethren of other faiths to celebrate the festival of lights – Diwali. The Sanmarg Team along with the parishioners put up a small programme to celebrate Diwali. Our chief guest for the evening was Padmashree awardee Sulochna Didi, who has had an illustrious career in the film industry. The programme started with an introduction of the chief guest followed by presenting the guests with a bouquet of flowers. A prayer dance by the CCO was conducted which was followed by the lighting of the Samai. The host gave a brief introduction so as to what Sanmarg as a team does and its purpose. This was followed by the reading of the scripture from different holy books narrated by each chief guest. This was followed by a prayer dance by the convent girls. After which a very meaningful and hilarious skit was presented by the youth of our Parish. This was followed by a few bajans. Michelle entertained us with a few hindi oldies. Mr Parag voluntarily sung a few lines, and ended with a vote of thanks. The event ended with distribution of sweets.


Our Lady of Salvation Church
S.K. Bole Road,
Dadar (W), Mumbai 400 028
Tel.No.: 24224471 / 24370180