Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church (OLS) in Sturgeon Falls is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary with a program running over 75 weeks. Father Amaladhas Tensingh, who hails from Tamil Nadu in south India, brought the celebrations out into the street on Sunday, Sept. 19, with performances by the singers of the Dreamcatchers Theatre group, and with the planting of fall flowers in the garden before the shrine. This was the culmination of the first ten weeks of celebration, for which the theme was Caring for the Common Home, Mother Earth.
Father Tensingh explains, “Over the 75 weeks we have a program; for each period of 10 weeks, we have Seven Joys, so for the first ten weeks we have reflection on how to care for Mother Earth, and yesterday was the final day [of that first reflection]. There are six more joys to celebrate.” The subsequent six reflection are: Care for the unwed mothers; Listen to the voices of brothers and sisters of First Nations; Care for the poor and homeless; Care for the dysfunctional; Care for the refugees; Care for the Children. “Next one is the caring for the unwed mother. This is the second Joy of the community.”
Asked why he describes these endeavours as “Joys,” Father Tensingh explains in terms of the history of his church and Catholic theology. “The church is called Our Lady of Sorrows. For Mother Mary, there were Seven Sorrows in her life. She herself did not suffer any wounds, but [felt the sorrow] of her Son who was suffering. As a mother, losing her Son is a great suffering. She was also supporting His mission. So He was working for the people and He was telling the truth, and before her eyes He was condemned, before her eyes He was tortured, before her eye He was crucified, so there are seven sorrows.” He adds a bit of the history of the church, which was sometimes referred to as the Irish Church by people in the community back in the day. Many people of Irish background were involved in this church, and “There were families making their way to Canada because of famine or war. Like that, many people are scattered all over the world. So they kept on reflecting on their sorrows, turning to Mother Mary. They have a sorrowful history. By praying to Mother Mary they were consoled in their faith. As He was crucified and suffering, so let us also bear the suffering.”