Although there was no La Divina Pastora celebrations this year, people still lined the streets near the church in hope that they would have been met with some form of charity or assistance.
But due to the covid19 pandemic, homage to La Divina Pastora (the Divine Shepherdess), the patron saint of Siparia, or Supari Mai – Mother of Siparia in Hindi – was cancelled for the second year. The La Divina Pastora RC church is located in La Pastora Street in Siparia, near the bustling SS Erin Road.
Siparia East/San Francique South councillor Ramona Victor has described the atmosphere as sad and disheartening to see the charitable element of the event shut down. Although the church opened, people hardly visited.
The Good Friday tradition would usually hundreds of people visiting to honour and offer devotion to the dark-skinned statue, while an area in the Church’s courtyard was opened to the public to continue acts of charity.
Victor told Newsday people who needed help, whether it be money, clothes, food or medical supplies came from Thursday night and camped out by the church.
But by Friday afternoon they began to leave because they realised no one was coming to their aid.
“People came from as far as Port of Spain, Arima and even Sangre Grande. It is something they look forward to and now especially in the time of a pandemic. I am sure they were relying on the charities of the many good Samaritans among us.
“Today (Friday) was a day like no other. I was touched by the amount of people, both adults and children that left their dwelling to visit the Siparia RC Church seeking financial help, food and even clothing.”
Victor said her office supplied as much as they could, but more was needed and urged people to reach out to the churches in their communities and partner with councillors to reach the most vulnerable people.
“I am calling on the privileged in our society to remember the less fortunate people on this blessed day as we reflect on the fact that God gave his only son to die for us. I urge all privileged people to show love and compassion for each other.”