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Kolkata rickshaw pullers hold Year of Faith rally

September 16, 2013 - In a rare Year of Faith event, a parish in eastern India’s Kolkata city organized a unique public rally and liturgical programme for some 70 cycle rickshaw pullers, all Catholics, to help them celebrate their faith. The Sept. 8 evening programme in the city’s Auxilium Parish on the feast of Nativity of Our Lady offered an eye-catching procession with colorfully painted rickshaws. The rickshaw-pullers were dressed in red jerseys bearing Year of Faith logo and wearing white caps with “I Love My Faith” slogans printed on them. The spruced up tricycles and their pullers were lined up in front of the church for blessing by the parish priest K K Sebastian. After a refreshing a cup of tea and snacks they went up to the church for the special year of faith penitential service, which started with Rosary prayers. “I never knew there would be so many Catholic cycle rickshaw pullers in the parish, and I never had the opportunity of hearing confessions of so many of them at one time,” remarked 91-year old Italian missionary Fr Stroscio Rosario, assistant parish priest at Auxilium for 30 years. Some 100-rickshaw pullers had registered for the programme. The Sunday evening penitential service was followed the regular Sunday Mass along with other church goers. At a cultural program that followed the rickshaw pullers entertained the parishioners with skits and songs. The parishioners in turn gave each one of them surprise gifts, and the evening concluded with dinner for all. The rickshaw pullers were issued identity cards for the newly introduced "rice-lentil scheme," which consisted of better off family’s donating food grains for the needy. (Source: UCAN)


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