Feast of Our Lady of Velankanni Celebrated in Yangon, Myanmar
Myanmar: The Catholics worldwide celebrate September 8 as the birthday of Mother Mary, which is commemorated as the feast of Our Lady of Good Health, also known as Our Lady of Velankanni.
In Yangon, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar formerly known as Burma, the Tamil speaking Catholic community of St Anthony’s Parish of the Archdiocese of Yangon celebrated the birthday as the Feast of Our Lady of Velankanni with great joy and enthusiasm. This year the parish celebrated the 119th Feast of Our Lady of Velankanni with a Solemn Festive Mass on 8th September which was preceded by 9 days novena with Eucharistic Procession from the church premises to the main road and back to the Church every day.
Thousands of Catholics had gathered for the novena prayers, sermon, benediction and procession – many of them wearing distinctive saffron dress to express their humility and their devotion to the Blessed Mother. Catholics from other parishes in Yangon also took part in the novena prayers and devotions leading to the feast.
Myanmar’s first Cardinal His Eminence Cardinal Charles Maung Bo celebrated the Solemn High Mass with 3 Bishops and 30 other concelebrants.
The church was tastefully decorated and a strong choir rose to the occasion to make the day’s liturgy more prayerful and exuberant. Cardinal Bo crowned his homily with the significant role played by Mary as a powerful interceder, as the Lady of our good health, as the Mother of Mercy and exhorted the congregation to emulate our Lady and be merciful towards the needy.
Those who took part in the whole celebration, were delighted to see the vibrant congregation and the excellent celebration. Tamil Catholics, whose ancestors came to Myanmar from southern India as early as the sixth century, made up 90 percent of those at the celebration. The annual Feast of Our Lady of Velankanni on September 8 has been celebrated here since 1897.
The Parish Priest Fr Savari Muthu on behalf of the parish thanked all the faithful and well-wishers for their continuous support. The Priest from India, Fr Santhanam SJ from the Madurai Jesuit province, who was invited by St Antony Parish as the guest preacher for the 9 days novena was honoured on this occasion.
After the Eucharistic celebration, it was very touching to see thousands of devotees from different faiths on a KNEELING PROCESSION, who moved while kneeling and praying with lit candles to the door of the church which was some 100 feet away. The celebrations concluded with sumptuous lunch which was prepared for about six thousand people.