Mangaluru: The Carmelites held a press meet on account of the upcoming feast of ‘Infant Jesus’ at the Press Club, Urwa here, on January 2.
Speaking to the mediapersons, Fr Joe Tauro OCD superior said, “The annual feast of Infant Jesus will be celebrated on January 14 with a solemn mass at 6:00pm which will be presided by Archbishop of Bhopal, Dr Leo Comelio along with Fr Charles Serrao (Provincial OCD) and other priests.”
Fr Joe further said, “The votive offering procession will be held on January 4 at 4:30pm from Cordel Church grounds to the Infant Jesus Shrine followed by a flag hoisting. As a preparation for the feast, nine days of novena will commence from January 5 and lunch will be served to all the devotees after the 10:30am novena mass. There will be masses throughout the day too.”
The silent Carmel Hill in the heart of the busy Mangaluru City, houses one of the most beautiful shrines in the world called ‘The Infant Jesus’ which provides peace and solace to all its devotees. The chapel managed by the Carmelite fathers was built in the year 1947.
Though the devotion to Infant Jesus had started 150 years back, it took a definite shape in Mangaluru after the Belgian Carmelites, especially those staffing, the erstwhile Quilon Seminary, decided on founding a house of monastic observance in the port city. For this purpose, two Belgian priests Marcel and Hyacinth were sent to Mangaluru in 1947. They explored the city in search of a suitable site and hence came across Carmel Hill where the construction work of the Chapel commenced.
At first, the devotional service to the Infant Jesus in the Chapel consisted of a mere prayer which was recited on Thursdays after the Mass in the morning. Later, for the convenience of the people, the Mass with its subsequent devotion in an elaborate form was shifted to Thursdays in the evening. By the year 1980, Carmel Hill was so much frequented on Thursday evening by people even from afar, that it became a known centre for this devotion. With the growing people, there was a need to have a bigger place. Hence, the beautiful shrine was constructed and was inaugurated by former Bishop of Mangaluru Dr Basil D’Souza on May 11, 1996.
Director of the shrine, Fr Elias D’ Souza and committee member, Stanley Bantwal were also present.