An Ebbsfleet parish in the Bristol diocese has recently begun a monthly bilingual Mass in Konkani and English. Konkani is the language of Goa, and is spoken by about seven million people worldwide. Swindon has one of the largest Goan populations in the UK, at over 20,000 people, many of whom are first generation migrants. The Parish of Swindon New Town serves central Swindon, with S. Luke’s church at the heart of the Broad Green district, where many Goan families live.
The monthly Mass at S. Luke’s includes Konkani hymns, readings and prayers, with English translations provided. The clergy are trying to learn and incorporate more Konkani into the ordinary of the Mass each month. The development of this Konkani Mass has been supported by the Goa Anglican Centre, a charity led by Richard Lees.
On the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, on 1 January, a congregation of more than fifty people gathered for the bilingual Mass, which included some beautiful, gentle Konkani hymns.
Fr Toby Boutle SSC, the parish priest, writes: “We think this is the only regular Mass in Konkani in the Church of England. Members of the Goan community have been worshipping at S. Luke’s for decades now, and we’ve long incorporated some Konkani language material into our worship. The idea of a regular Mass partly in Konkani came at the request of members of the congregation.
“The last two years have been particularly hard for members of the Goan community here in Swindon. Many Goan people locally work on the Covid frontline, in the NHS or community settings, but live in multi-generational homes alongside older family members. It has also been traumatic at times when the virus has been rampant in India and people have been worried about family members back in Goa.
“The regular Konkani Mass has enriched our worship and been very much appreciated by members of all our communities at S. Luke’s. I am enjoying the linguistic challenge. We’re looking forward to being able to develop our hospitality at these Masses, hopefully including some delicious Goan food.”