Report by Michael Rodrigues
Team Mangalorean Udupi
Udupi: The Annual Feast Celebration of Our Lady of Vailankanni will be held on August 15, 2012 at Stella Maris Church, Kalmady Malpe, said Fr Alban DíSouza, Parish Priest of the Church.
Speaking at the Press Meet held at the Press Club on Saturday August 11, he said that this year the Annual Feast will have some special features owing to the demands of the faithful devotees. Since the church is stepping into its silver Jubilee year, the Church Administration Council has decided to organize yearlong Spiritual and Social Awareness programmes, he said
Rev Dr Aloysius Paul DíSouza Bishop of Mangalore will be the main celebrant of the evening festive mass. On Sunday, August 12, there will be a procession of the offerings (Hore Kanike) from Adi Udupi at 2pm. On the feast day, starting afternoon through the evening food will be served (Anna Santharpane) to all the devotees who attend the mass.
Novena prayers that have already started will continue until August 14 from 4 pm to 6 pm. Louis Lobo, Vice President, Precilla Alva Secretary, and Victor DíMello Treasurer of Parish Council were present during the Press Meet.
History of the Church
Though initially, Stella Maris was a Chapel built due to the pioneering efforts of the Lt. Commander Late Rev. Fr. Charels DíSouza in the year 1972, it was upgraded to a full pledged Church on 01-01-1991. It was during the tenure of Rev. Fr. Dennis Castelino the first regular Parish priest (07-06-1987 to 03-061994) that the devotion to the lady of Health popularly known as the Lady of Vailankanni began. The statue of our lady is a miracle statue because it was installed by Rev. Fr. Dennis Castelino in fulfillment of the blessings he had received while serving as a parish priest at Nakre in Karkala Taluk. Further on the day of the installation, the incessant rains that started in the morning gave way to bright sunshine as the procession began and the miracle statue was installed, and was blessed by then Bishop of Mangalore Rt. Rev. Dr. Basil DíSouza on 15-08-1988. All those years the rains took a break till the Annual feast was over. Wow! What a miracle!
Though the statue was installed initially in the portico of the church, a separate and beautiful shrine outside the church was built during the tenure of Rev. Fr. Maxim Misquith SJ , and the same was inaugurated by the Bishop of Mangalroe Rt. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul DíSouza on 15-08-2001. And on the same day our lady of Health was kind enough to grant one more favor, the new concrete Cemetery Ė a dream project of more than 20 years became a reality.
With the inauguration of new Shrine, the devotion to our Lady has grown immensely. Devotees and pilgrims not only from Udupi District, but also from Mangalore and distant places have been visiting the Shrine irrespective of caste and religion. Countless miracles are attributed to our lady of Vailankanni. Every Saturday evening Novena and special prayers are being held. Petitions and prayers for various favours such as marriage, job placement, cure form diseases; alcohol addiction, etc; were answered through the intercession of Mother Mary.