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Catholic church joins in Tamil harvest fest

It is one of the many ways migrant community adds to churches' culture

Published on Jan 20, 2014 7:46 AM

At the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes yesterday evening, men in crisp white dhotis and women in a rainbow of saris were stirring pots of milk, rice and lentils.

As they did so, Father Jacob Yagappa, the church's assistant priest, offered a brief prayer and sprinkled the crowd with holy water.

The church, which caters to migrant workers and expatriates from South India, was celebrating the Tamil harvest festival of Pongal. It started doing so in 2007, said long-time church member Stanislaus Arockia Xavier, who is from Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu and helped coordinate the event.

Mr Xavier, 35, a software engineer and permanent resident, said: "Normally, we would celebrate at home. But we would be alone, or perhaps only two to three people.

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