Udupi: Large number of devotees attend the Annual Feast of Our Lady of Vailankani

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By Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle
Bellevision Media Network

Udupi, 15 August 2011: On rain-free Monday, August 15, 2011, a large number of devotees of Our Lady of Vailankani made their way from early morning to the Shrine in the premises of the Church of Stella Maris, Kalmady to manifest their gratitude for various favour that they had received from Her and also to seek new favours by burning candles and offering flowers and other offerings at the Shrine. Many attributed the rainless day to the miracle of Our Lady of Vailankani as for the first time since many days that the entire day was dry which enabled a large number of devotees to visit the shrine from far and near.


The solemn Feast Mass was concelebrated by the Bishop of Mangalore, Rt. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza as the chief celebrant along with Rev. Fr. Fred Mascarenhas, Dean of Udupi Deanery and other priests from the Udupi Deanery at 4.15 pm. Prior to the Feast Mass, the Bishop was received at the main entrance of the church by Fr. Joseph D’Souza S.J., Parish Priest of Kalmady and by Louis Lobo, Vice President of the Parish Pastoral Council.


A large number of devotees had assembled in and outside the church for the Feast Mass.  Seating arrangement was made on all the three sides of the church in the compound as the  capacity within the church is quite limited and close circuit TVs were installed for those who were seated  in the compound  to follow the  Feast Mass.


There was an air of devotion and solemnity during the Feast Mass. The ambience within and outside the church befitted the Annual Feast of Our Lady of Vailankini. The altar was decorated elegantly with beautiful flowers. The theme of the Feast "Blessed art Thou Amongst Women" in Konkani was prominently displayed on the top of the altar.


The celebration of the Solemn Feast Mass commenced with the chief celebrant, Rt. Rev. Dr.  Aloysius Paul D’Souza entering the the church with other co-celebrants in a procession through the main door as the choir sang the entrance hymn. The liturgical readings were appropriate for the occasion and were read fluently by the readers to the rapt attention of the congregation. The Gospel was read by Rev. Fr. Fred Mascarenhas. 


In his homily, Rt. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza said that the people of Kalmady had three occasions to celebrate on 15 August-Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, Annual Feast of Our Lady of Vailankani and the Independence Day. Speaking about the role of Mother Mary, the Bishop said that Her Way of the Cross had started right from the time of the Annunciation that she would become the Mother of the Saviour. He narrated the sacrifices that Mother Mary had to make throughout Her life and became a partner in the salvation work of Her son, Jesus Christ. He emphasised on the virtues of Mother Mary and said that she was rewarded by God for her humility and simplicity through Her Assumption.



Bishop Aloysius also made reference to India’s Independence from the British rule and said that the dream of the founding fathers of the nation has been shattered by various problems that the country is facing. These include, among many things-communalism and corruption. He said that in recent times communal atmosphere in the country has been vitiated by vested interests. In spite of the contributions of the Christians in various fields especially in education, they are facing problems for no fault of theirs.


Following the end of the Feast Mass, a small book titled “Kalmady Poonsheth-Ek Zallak and Udupi Diesez-Ek Vichar”, written by Fr. Denis Castelino, who was instrumental in starting the Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankani in Kalmady when he was the first parish priest  between 1987 and 1994 was released by Mrs.  Clothilda Rebello, sister of late Fr. Charles   D’Souza, founder of the Stella Maris Church at Kalmady, who had earlier served in the Indian Navy.


Earlier there were two masses in the morning- in Malayalam at 8 am and in English at 11 am. There was nine days novena from 6 to 14 August which was well attended by the parishioners and devotees. On 13 August there was offerings procession (Hore-kanike) in view of the ‘Annasantarpane’ on the Feast day.


Devotees were seen praying in front of the Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankani, burning candles and offering floral tribute. Prior to the commencement of the Feast Mass, candles of honour were distributed to all sponsors and ‘Murdoms’ from the parish as well as from other parishes.


At the end of the Feast Mass, Fr. Joseph D’Souza S.J., Parish Priest of Kalmady expressed gratitude to Rt. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza for offering the Feast Mass, Rev. Fr. Fred Mascarenhas, Dean of Udupi Deanery and other priests for participating in the Mass and all those who helped in organising and implementing the programmes of the Annual Feast. He also thanked the media including Bellevision.com for giving wide publicity to the Annual Feast of Our Lady of Vailankani.


Vegetarian food was served to  all the devotees who had attended the Feast Mass. There were six counters to serve the food. Devotees were seen standing in the queue systematically for the meal. According to Louis Lobo, Vice President of the Parish Pastoral Council, in the morning around 200 people were served breakfast, for lunch there were 700 devotees and  preparation was made for around 3,000 people to have  dinner.


On the whole, the entire programme of the Annual Feast of Our Lady of Vailankani was well organised. There was an air of spiritual enrichment all around. The choir with its excellent singing of hymns enhanced the spiritual atmosphere of the congregation.  Above all the rain-free day reinforced the faith of the devotees in the benevolence of Our Lady of Vailankani.



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Comments on this Article
Being Kalmadian, very proud to note that STELLA MARIS CHURCH, KALMADY is become pilgrimage centre as a significant worship centre of Our Lady of Vailankani in the entire Mangalore diocese. Very nice to see some of my close relatives, neighbors and friends taking active parts in singing, reading, felicitating, refreshment etc. Congratulations to Fr. Joseph D’Souza and his entire team.
Wilson D Souza, Kalmady/Muscat Tue, August-16-2011, 1:00
Thank U Bellevision for this wonderful coverage of Kalmady Church feast celebration; Congratulations to everyone who worked hard to make this event so nice; May Mother Mary Bless us all.
Benedict Noronha, Udupi Mon, August-15-2011, 11:09
God lives in Villages. Rabindranatha Tagore sang god is not in the temples.... But with those who ARE TOILING.The Stella Maris church is in the fileds surrounded and they honoured our Lady of Vellankanni to the best of their belief in a wonderful manner and indeed God is living with them. Those who attended the Celebrations are blessed and those were in spirit with the celebrants and the faithfull were twice blessed. May this faith and spirit of glorification increase and multiply so that the evangelization will live longer for the greater Glory of all mankind.Grand Feast to mind and spirit and to eyes too through these media. Dr Eugene thank you for a good commentary and scenes presented.Keep it up.
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