Sea of Devotees Throng Annual Feast of Infant Jesus Mary Hill-Bikkarnakatte

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Sea of Devotees Throng Annual Feast of Infant Jesus Mary Hill-Bikkarnakatte

O Miraculous Infant Jesus, look upon us, as we, turn to you, imploring your assistance in our needs and anxieties. Let your compassionate heart be moved to pity by our supplications and grant us the favour which we ardently implore you. Free us from all afflictions and despair, all trials and misfortunes and give us your support and consolation so that we may praise you and the Father and the Holy Spirit now and forever, Amen.

Mangaluru: The vicinity of Bikarnakatte-Mangaluru, in the East of Mangaluru City, is in a festive mood from the first week of January every year till 14th Jan, being the Annual Feast of Infant Jesus at the Infant Jesus Shrine-Carmel Hill, Bikkranakate. Thousands of people from nearby and faraway places visit the shrine during the Novena days and on Festival day January 14th. In preparation for the feast on January 14, nine days of Novena Prayers are conducted from January 5th to 14th. And this year too, the tradition has continued with a sea of devotees converging at the Shrine to participate in the Mega Feast.

Year after year, the crowd of devotees gets bigger and bigger- and just today, on the Feast day since morning nearly 50,000 people had visited the Shrine, and for the Festal Mass, which was held on 14 January 2018 at 6 pm, nearly 15,000 people had joined in the Eucharistic celebrations. With the assurance of Infant Jesus to Devotees saying that ” ‘The More You Honor Me, The More Will I Bless You’, year after year devotees increase in number just to get the blessings and favour from infant Jesus- and this year was no exception. This year the Feast was celebrated with the theme ” Experience Inner freedom, Make Life wholesome”.

People in large crowds came to pay their homage to the Infant Jesus at each of the morning masses and thronged the church during today’s evening celebration. The music and the excellent performance of choir was intended to enkindle the mind of the faithful and raised their hearts to the throne of the Infant Jesus. The Solemn Festal Mass was concelebrated by Main celebrants namely Most Dr Gerald J Mathias-Bishop of Lucknow, along with Fr Charles Serrao (Provincial OCD), joined by Fr Wilfred Rodrigues -OCD Superior-and Fr Prakash D’Cunha–Director at the Shrine-along with a bevy of other clergies.

In his Homily, Fr Sunil Praveen Pinto from Kinnigoli said, ” Faithful are losing interest in their religion. Kids at home are busy watching cartoons on TV, instead of joining in the prayers along with their parents or adults. Fruitfulness in our lives is one of the characteristics of obedience to God. It is also a key to a happy and fulfilled Christian life. Fruitfulness goes beyond mere activity. God is a Creator and He loves his creation. God made man to be creative. He wants each of us to be fruitful and has given us the mandate and means to do so. The unconditional love of God is shown to us in Jesus Christ. And to show that love, Jesus sacrificed himself. From today, let us try to put more love, confession and tolerance in our families. Let our families be shrines of peace and love.”

He further said, “Family is God’s plan. In family life, trust among the family members is very important for the welfare of the family. What do we see in our families today? The commandments tell us to respect our parents. But today, there is no respect for the aged. It has become easy to give monetary help to our aged but taking care of them has become very tough. Many families today have been shattered, and children in the family do not get proper guidance. People have become more materialistic. Avarice has taken over devotion. Our homes, our apartments are beautiful and colourful, but the life among the people who reside in them has become dull. Our families must be families of confession. We shouldn’t bend laws/rules according to our conveniences.”

“2018, is the Year of family, Fruitfulness and the Fear of the Lord. “But Lord, your endless love stretches from one eternity to the other, unbroken and unrelenting towards those who fear you and those who bow face down in awe before you. Your faithfulness to keep every gracious promise you have made passes from parents, to children, to grandchildren and beyond.” – Psalm 103:17 (The Passion Translation). We need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. You have all come here to see Infant Jesus on Carmel hill- but Jesus is already in your heart always. We have all gathered here to show our love to infant Jesus, and we need to continue that love towards Him forever” added Fr Sunil.

Sweets were distributed to all the devotees that attended the Festal mass. At the end of the mass, Fr Prakash D’Cunha-Director of Infant Jesus shrine thanked all the donors and benefactors, and especially thanked MLC Ivan D’Souza for his efforts in getting funds from the govt to interlock the Shrine area, which is now free from dust- and he also thanked CM Siddaramaiah for the funds towards the construction of guest house, which will be inaugurated tomorrow.

Finally, a message from the Shrine director Fr Prakash D’Cunha to the people who believe in Infant Jesus is ” Dear devotees and Friends of Infant Jesus, God the ultimate reality from whom the world and all of us have been created has still, concern for us all. He does not compel but guides us to be what he wanted us to be and he does it in many and varied ways. Jesus Christ for us Christians is the definitive embodiment of that God’s reality understood as the emanation or real presence of God in human form, who shows us the way to God and the means of selfless love as the ladder to that end. He upheld even to the point of the extreme form of suffering and death, the selfless kindness or love as a supreme meaning of this life, instead of being a slave to comforts, pleasures and power. That is why there is a universal appeal to Jesus Christ, God in our humble human form”.

“We celebrate the Infancy of Jesus Christ combines in a symphony of a prince child his immense divine love and creative healing in the form of kindness and human childlike openness and acceptance to all human beings. Jesus is what we all want to be one day – a new humanity of love and kindness where there is selfless love that results in respect for the dignity of every person, equality of opportunities to all and a basic unity of the entire human race, without space for hatred, jealousy and discrimination and narrow domestic walls of affiliation. We welcome one and all to join us in this wonderful experience of celebrating love and unity of mankind and God Closeness amidst us even as a child as we celebrate His feast on 14th January”.

On 15 January, there will be a Mass at 6.30 am in Konkani, Solemn Thanksgiving Mass at 10.30 am celebrated by Rev Fr Dr Aloysius Paul D’souza-Bishop of Mangaluru, along with the other clergy.

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