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Current Issue
March, 2019
Volume 45, Number 1
  
24 April 2013
Greg Kandra




Catechism and Bible study are priorities for Indian-American Christian communities. (photo: Maria Bastone)

Indian Christians can be a rare sight in the United States — and several years ago, we looked at the ways many struggle to fit in:

Ask an Indian Christian how Americans react to this particular combination of nationality and religion and almost everyone has a story. Most stories are benign, some even comical with Americans’ inquiries ranging from curious to clueless.

“Many people want to know when I converted,” said Father Saji George, a 35-year-old Syro-Malankara Catholic priest in Hempstead, New York, explaining that most Indian Christians, particularly those from the southern state of Kerala, were born into the faith.

Susamma Seeley, a 29-year-old Syro-Malankara Catholic from Elmont, New York, is always a little shocked and amused when “people ask what tribe I’m from.”

Because most of India’s one billion people are Hindu, the country is internationally regarded as such. As a result, an Indian man named Samuel Abraham or an Indian woman dressed in a colorful sari carrying a Bible may elicit surprise among Americans.

Like other immigrants, Indian Christians have to work at establishing new homes for their faith and culture — much as Italian-Americans created Little Italy, observed patronal feasts and danced the tarantella at weddings.

Read more about the New World Children of St. Thomas in the May-June 2003 issue of our magazine.



Tags: Cultural Identity United States Indian Christians Syro-Malankara Catholic Church Immigration