» 12/02/2013, 00.00
Cardinal Gracias celebrates the start of Advent among Dharavi’s poor
Together with Caritas India, the Archbishop of Mumbai has launched a Christmas campaign to raise awareness of the "needy" living in the city. The initiative was launched with a visit to the largest slum in India and Asia, home to hundreds of thousands of inhabitants. The cardinal recalled Pope Francis, who "praised the courage of the poor , urging society to welcome them with love and compassion."
Mumbai ( AsiaNews) - A pastoral visit among
the poor in the slums of Dharavi , to celebrate the beginning of Advent and
respond to the needs of those most in need . This is how Card. Oswald
Gracias , archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Catholic Bishops'
Conference of India (CBCI), launched the Advent Campaign against hunger and
collaboration with Caritas India , the initiative aims to create greater
awareness in society towards the poor who live in large urban centers ,
following the theme " Struggle
for Survival - Bringing Hope to the Urban Poor".
cardinal visited the slums of Mumbai on November 22 . Dharavi is
considered the largest slum in Asia. Created
in 1880, under British colonialism, today it has a massive multi- religious and
multi - ethnic population (between 300 thousand and one million inhabitants ). From
a certain point of view, it enshrines many negative aspects of India: open
sewers, piles of garbage everywhere, dirt and crumbling shacks .
Francis - said the cardinal launching the initiative - has dedicated his pontificate
to economic justice, equality and peace. During his visits to poor communities,
he praised the courage of the poor, urging society to receive them with love and compassion. "
is located within the parish of St. Anthony, and within a radius of about 300
meters there are six chapels. Two
Christian communities in particular are part of the local church: Tamils (
about 5 thousand people) and ethnic koli (about a thousand people) . On 22 November Card. Gracias
visited the parish and six chapels, stopping to pray and to bless all the
faithful he met on his journey . People
said they felt "greatly touched by his
presence and the unassuming way he walked down the narrow lanes and visited
even the poorest of the poor".
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