Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankani inaugurated at Stella Maris Church, Kalmadi

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Report by Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle
Pictures by Anil Alva
Bellevision Media Network

Udupi, 15 August 2010:  On Sunday, 15 August 2010 at 4 pm, the long standing dream of the parishioners of the Stella Maris Parish, Kalmadi, that of having a separate shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Vailankani was fulfilled with the inauguration and blessing of the aesthetically and beautifully built structure. The shrine was inaugurated by Rev. Fr. Francis Serrao S.J., the Jesuit Provincial of the Karnataka Province and was blessed by Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore. Similarly, the newly built concrete vault cemetery was also inaugurated by the Episcopal Vicar of Udupi District, Rev. Dr. Baptist Menezes and blessed by Dr. Aloysius D’Souza.    During this twin occasion the Vicar-vaar of Udupi Varado-Rev. Fr. Mathew Vaz, Rector of St. Aloysius College, Fr. Joseph Rodrigues and a number of priests from the Udupi Varado were also present.

Following the inauguration of both the shrine and concrete vault cemetery, the feast Mass was concelebrated by Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius D’Souza along with other priests. A large number of devotees of Our Lady of Vailankani from different parishes of the Udupi and DK districts had assembled for this grand inaugural ceremony.

On the occasion of the inauguration of the Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankani it would be appropriate to trace the growth of Kalmadi as the pilgrim centre dedicated to Our Lady of Vailankani.  Realising the difficulties of attending the church services by the people inhabiting Aadi Udupi, Madhwanagar, Kodavooru, Kidiyuru, Kudarkatta which were distributed between the Mother of Sorrows Parish, Udupi and St. Annes’ Parish, Thottam, late Fr. Charles D’Souza decided to build a small chapel on the land donated by Mrs. Cecilia D’Lima whose foundation stone was laid by late Most Rev. Dr. Basil D’Souza on 5 February 1972. There was no resident priest for some time and the priests from Udupi and Kallianpura used to offer masses on Sundays and meet the spiritual requirements of the people.

There is a brief background to the gradual development of this mere chapel into a prominent centre of pilgrimage dedicated to Our Lady of Vailankani. Fr. Denis Castelino, originally from Moodubelle, who had arrived as the resident priest of Stella Maris Church in 1987, was earlier the parish priest of Nakre in Karkala Taluk. While in Nakre, Fr. Denis had gone on  a pilgrimage to Vailankani in Tamilnadu along with a group of devotees. On their way back one of the pilgrims went missing at Bangalore. Fr. Denis prayed to Our Lady of Vailankani and promised that if the missing person is traced, he would once again go to Vailankani and offer prayers there. Within three days, on a Sunday, the missing person reappeared at the Nakre church. In order to fulfil his promise, Fr. Denis Castelino brought the four and a half feet tall statue of Our Lady of Vailankani donated by his friend Fr. Wilson D’Souza and installed it in the premises of the Stella Maris Church, Kalmadi.

According to an account, the statue which was brought by Fr. Wilson D’Souza was in Our Lady of Rosary Church, Mangalore from where it was brought to Mother of Sorrows Church, Udupi. It was on 15 August 1988 that the statue of Our Lady of Vailankani was brought in a grand procession from Udupi to the Stella Maris Church, Kalmadi and was installed by late Most Rev. Dr. Basil D’Souza, the then Bishop of Mangalore. Those who had participated in that procession recount their experience of a miracle. It was raining heavily throughout the day till the procession was to start, however, the rain completely stopped  once the procession began and reached Kalmadi 


After the installation of the statue of Our Lady of Vailankani in the premises of the Stella Maris Church, novenas began to be held every Saturday which led to the spiritual revival among the people around. Gradually people from different parishes began to attend these novenas and soon Stella Maris Church assumed the nature of a pilgrim centre in honour of Our Lady of Vailankani and became famous throughout the undivided Dakshina Kannada District. Following these developments it was on 1 January 1991, the Bishop of Mangalore raised Stella Maris Church to the level of an independent parish.

Following the transfer of Fr. Denis Castelino from Kalmadi, the successive parish priests-late Fr. Robert Pinto, Fr. Ivan D’Mello and Fr. Richard Mascarenhas developed the church in various ways. However, with the arrival of the present parish priest, Fr. Maxim Misquitta S.J., the dream of the parishioners of Kalmadi to have a separate shrine in honour of Our Lady of Vailankani was fulfilled. Though there were efforts from the earlier priests to have a cemetery for the parish, it was during the tenure of Fr. Maxim that these efforts also bore fruit. In these achievements, the office bearers of the Parish Council, Mr. Louis Lobo, Vice president, Mr. Franklin Menezes, the Secretary and other members and many parishioners have played an important role. Stella Maris Parish, Kalmadi has five wards and 100 families. Though the parish is small the achievements so far are praiseworthy.

The chief sponsor of the Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankani at Kalmadi is Mrs. Cecilia D’Lima and her children who are originally from Moodubelle but had migrated to Kalmadi in 1960s. The sponsorship is in memory of late Sr. Edward (BS), daughter of Mrs. Cecilia D’Lima who was born in 1943 and passed away on 20 July 2007. As mentioned earlier, the original land for the church was also donated by the D’ Lima family.

Fr. Denis Castelino

Following the solemn feast Mass at 6pm, a brief felicitation function was held within the church. Fr. Maxim Misquitta honoured Most. Rev. Dr. Aloysius D’Souza, followed by Rev. Fr. Francis Serrao by the Vice President of the Parish council-Mr. Louis Lobo. Similarly, the Episcopal Vicar-Rev. Dr. Baptist Menezes, Vicar-vaar of Udupi Varado-Rev. Fr. Mathew Vaz , Rector of St. Aloysius College-Rev. Fr. Joseph Rodrigues, Fr. Denis Castelino, the former parish priest who was chiefly responsible for developing Kalmadi as the pilgrim centre and Fr. Maxim Misquitta, the present parish priest who built both the shire and the cement vault cemetery were honoured. The lay people who were felicitated on this occasion for their service are: Mr. Louis Lobo-Vice President of the Parish Council,   Mr. Franklin Menezes-Secretary, sponsors of the shrine- Mrs. Cecilia D’Lima on whose behalf her son, Mr. Gilbert D’Lima received the honour and Mr. Slayan. The  contractors were also honoured during this occasion;  Mr. Deepak-contractor of the shrine  and the contractor of the concrete vault cemetery, Mr. Herald Wilson Martis from Moodubelle on whose behalf his father Mr. Albert Martis received the honour.


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Comments on this Article
simon.castelino, belle /kalmady /jeddaha Mon, August-16-2010, 4:42
kalmady parisnors dreems comes true nice pics wonderfull queak report, I realey miss this programe thanks to Mr Dr evgeen d souza and bellevison teem
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