I'm not one to write about religious issues. But this particular one has been bothering me a great deal. For the past several years the parish where my parents have a home, have been asking the government for a plot of land to build a church. There is no Catholic church in this area and for over 12 years the priests have been renting a hall where they conduct Sunday services. A hall.
A church, for anyone who has been inside one, is a glorious place. And honestly, you don't have to be of that religion to appreciate it. It is serene and quiet, with stain glass windows and a beautiful alter. It's magical. And there is a certain kind of aura to the place, an aura that you will never get from a hall, no matter how much silken fabric you throw around.
It's been approximately 12 years and the government has kept denying the priests. So the parishioners have continued to worship in a hall. They have made the best of a bad situation, renting sound systems and having a make-shift alter (a wooden table) where the Holy Book rests. They've built a community out of virtually nothing, they have been denied spaces to rent saying that the neighbouring buildings have complained about noise, and they have trudged on, not complaining about it and hoping that one day their prayers for a real church would be answered.
Meanwhile down the road: A small statue of a Hindu God was placed on a small concrete mound, at the beginning of a large plot of land. Having being placed there by someone, it soon became a spot for locals to stop and say a small prayer. Soon that small mound was surrounded by some marble flooring, a few bells... And before I knew it it was a full fledged temple. Now, I cannot honestly claim to know what transpired between the government and that community. I do not know if they too had a tough battle to get this temple made, I don't know.And i don't claim to know.
But from where I am standing, I think it is unfair.
Nevertheless, this parish continues to make the most of what they have. They've been moved now to a school hall because the rent of the last place increased. This hall is bigger, they are happy to say, because it can accommodate the growing parish. But, they say solemnly, please continue to pray for a church.