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Home Practice

For Indian Catholics, as for other Indians, religious life is not something that is confined to churches and their grounds. In India, religious life is visible in public — in the streets, at many shops and in advertisements for business and political purposes. To a remarkable degree, it is also abundantly evident in homes. Religious images are found in many rooms in the house, often integrated with images of deceased loved ones. Homes may feature religious pictures, small or larger brass oil lamps with a cross on top (a variation on the brass oil lamps ubiquitous in Hindu homes) and dedicated shrines with a whole array of images on a tabletop or wall.

Shrines in homes can be small or elaborate, and are usually located in a central hallway, dining room, or sitting room. Families gather to pray there in the evening, often with a scripture reading, before or after dinner. Family prayer at home generally combines bible reading, rosary, other devotional prayers, and shared quiet. Images on this site may give the impression that devotional prayer is the sole form of prayer in the home, but interviewees regularly said that in the last 50 years bible reading has become an important part of people's lives.

In parts of central Kerala, it is also common to see images of the Sacred Heart over the doorway to Catholic homes.  

Read More

Schmalz, Mathew (2016) "Dalit Catholic Home Shrines in a North Indian Village," Journal of Global Catholicism: Vol. 1: Iss. 1, Article 4. p.85-103. Available at: http://crossworks.holycross.edu/jgc/vol1/iss1/4

Tradition: