|Tribal people dance in Ulhat, on the outskirts of Ranchi city, as part of a Catholic ceremony on Dec. 8 to declare the church a minor Basilica. (Photo by Saji Thomas)|
Some 10,000 Catholics joined Cardinal Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi on Dec. 8 to open a century-old church as a basilica, showing the devotion of Catholics in this mostly tribal area of India.
"It is a dream come true for the people of this region," said Father Maximums Toppo of the church in Ulhat, on the outskirts of Ranchi city, the capital of Jharkhand state.
The Vatican designated the Marian church as the Basilica of Divine Motherhood of Our Lady in 2004, "but only now have we received the privilege in real terms," he said but did not explain what caused the delay.
Both cardinal and Father Toppo underlined that the mother plays a vital role in tribal families and as such a mother figure is important for their Catholic faith. "They nourished their faith around the rosary, especially at a time when there were not enough priests to lead Eucharistic celebrations," Father Toppo sai
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