Thursday, September 8, 2011

Velankanni Church, How to reach Vailankanni Church, Vailankanni Shrine, Annai Vailankanni, Velankanni Mathavu, Our Lady of Good Health, Lourdes Of The East, Velankanni Church Tour, Velankanni Church Pilgrimage, Velankanni Church Nagapattanam, Vailankanni Shrine season, Shrine Basilica Of - Our Lady Of Health, Velankanni Matha


(The Lourder of the East)

Vailankanni is one of the most visited pilgrim centres in India. It is a town situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal. This renowned shrine Basilica of our Lady of health draws pilgrims from all over the world. Not only Christians but also the people of other faiths come to this Church to pray at the shrine of “Our lady of health”.Knowing the importance of this town the Pope in the Vatican city has declared Vailankanni as a “Holy city”. This Roman Catholic Church has an extended Basilica, which has two floors where one can find the statue of Jesus Christ. The Gothic style of architecture is a unique feature of the Church. The church itself is an imposing building with inspiring architecture. While the buildings have been painted white roof of the church is made by the tiles with striking red in contrast to the colour of the walls. The environment around the shrine is spick and span. Radiating rays of hope and piety.

There is also a shrine of "our lady of sorrow” where in the sorrowing Mother is depicted carrying infant Jesus in her hand. The museum is situated opposite to the Basilica has a very rich variety of exhibits. The precious offerings made by the devotees are on display here. Biblical incidents are depicted on both sidewalls Timings 6.30am to 8.00pm. Festivals are celebrated here with all pomp and gaiety every year on August 29th the feast of our lady commences with the hoisting. Of the flag the 10th day ends on the 8th September after the dismounting of the flag.

The pilgrims who come here also follow the Hindu tradition of tonsuring their heads as an offering and also perform ear-boring ceremony, This is a religious centre where Hindus, Muslims and Christian from all over the India congregate in large numbers and worship in harmony.

Vailankanni is fondly known as the ‘Lourdes of the East’ because like Lourdes in France, millions of pilgrims visit the Shrine throughout the year, praying to Our Lady for various needs and thanking her for the favors received through her intercession.

Tradition recounts that Mother Mary appeared with the Infant Jesus in this small hamlet at the end of the 16th or in the early 17th century. Ever since, Vailankanni is the most important destination and almost the synthesis of all Marian Sanctuaries for the pilgrims of the world. The crowds of pilgrims come here regardless of creeds and languages.

Our Lady of Vailankanni devotions down through the centuries have proved the Shrine to be of divine origin and has assumed international character. Mary, the focus of unity at Vailankanni, is a clear proof of international, multicultural, and religious harmony.

About Vailankanni
Human beings are happy when they enjoy good health. But God has created man with a body and soul. While the body is mortal, the soul, which has been created in the image and likeness of God, is immortal. The soul of man is enriched by God’s grace, which enables him to lead a holy life. His intimacy with his creator, by a life of grace, caused him to enjoy peace and inner joy.
There are, however, dangers to ruin the happiness and well being of humans in all these three spheres of life-his physical, spiritual and social.

Mary our Mother of good health shows her deep concern for all her children who suffer from every kind of ailment and obtains healing for them from her Divine Son. Mary sets right such shattered relationships when her children approach her for help with absolute trust in her powerful intercession.
Ever since our Blessed Mother set foot on the sacred soil of Vailankanni some 400 years ago, she has been pouring out her tender Motherly care and compassion on all her children who are tossed about on the sea of suffering and who come to her shrine at Vailankanni seeking her help. Innumerable are the favours obtained by her devotees, who approach her, irrespective of their caste or creed. That is why she is revered in Vailankanni as the Mother of Good Health.

Vailankanni Location
Vailankanni, a hamlet on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal, is located 350 kilometers south of Chennai (Madras) and 12kilometers south of Nagappatinam. Nagapattinam, a town on the coast of Bay of Bengal, was referred by early writers and the Portuguese as “the city of Coramandel’ (Imperial Gazetteer of India, XIX, 3). Vellayar river, a minor branch of the river Cauvery, runs on the south of the village and flows into the sea.

Readers may be startled to learn that Vailankanni was once a port and there is evidence to prove this. Historical notes reveal that people in this area traded with Rome and Greece, the ancient commercial centers of the western world. In the course of time, Nagapattinam expanded and this tiny commercial center (Vailankanni) gradually lost its importance. The canal that had been dug once for navigation between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam still lies to the west of Vailankanni.

The phenomenal growth of the shrine

Renovation of the Altar:

In January 1961, a beautiful central altar, delicately executed in spotless white marble, was erected replacing the former one made of cement concrete. The marble altar adds splendour to the Shrine. The rare porcelain plates and paintings adjoining the old altar of the chapel have been carefully retained in their original state.

The Emergence of the Extension Basilica:
The original Shrine Basilica was unable to accommodate the ever growing number of pilgrims. Hence the necessity arose to expand the Shrine. An extension behind the original Shrine Basilica (160ft by 55ft) was constructed on August 18th, 1974. Later, an upper floor was added to the Extension Basilica. The Extension Basilica is almost a replica of the world famous Marian Shrine at Lourdes in France.

Progressive Growth Of the Shrine
From 1963 onwards the Shrine witnessed a rapid progress in its growth, largely due to the Zealous and dynamic priests appointed as Parish Priests or Rectors of the Shrine. In 1963 Very Rev. Fr. Maria Susai took charge of the Parish of Vailankanni. He was the first Tamil priest to do so. This indefatigable priest toiled ceaselessly to develop the Shrine of Our Lady in many fields.

Accordingly, he began constructing hundreds of rooms for the convenience of pilgrims. He put up a new building for the ‘Museum of Offering’. Extension of the Shrine Basilica was constructed. He setting up of a straight path from the Extension Basilica to Our Lady’s Tank. The stations of the Cross along the way to the Tank were also erected by him. He had been bringing out the movie ‘Annai Vailankanni’. Indian Overseas Bank was opened during his period. His selfless service to the Shrine terminated on April 13th 1980 when God called him to his eternal reward. He was laid to rest on the right wing outside the Shrine Basilica.

Rev. Fr. Maria Susai was succeeded by Very Rev. Msgr. Thomas Vaz. He brought about significant improvements in the administration of the Shrine. He erected the clock tower at Our Lady’ Tank and properly constructed the tank. Incidentally, many healing also take place by applying the oil, blessed at the Shrine, on sick. This oil is popularly known as ‘Our Lady’s Oil’. He also plastered the concrete covering over the roof of the Shrine. He paid special attention to the conduct of prayers at the Shrine. As his services were required in Thanjavur, he was transferred and Very Rev. Fr. S.L. Gabriel succeeded him as parish priest of the Shrine.

Here, it must be mentioned that His Grace Most. Rev. Dr. Packiam Arokiaswamy took charge of the Diocese of Thanjavur as its second bishop on 26th November,1986 and hence became, the guardian of the Shrine since that day. Very Rev. Fr. S.L. Gabriel has had a large share in the development of the Shrine. He has introduced new convents at the Shrine. He has brought in the convents of the Sisters of Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Sisters of St. Louis Gonzague for spiritual needs of the pilgrims. His introduction of the convent of the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Theresa’s convent) is worthy of note.

Vailankanni Tank
Some of the outstanding constructions undertaken by him were:
1. The Chapel at Our Lady’s Tank.
2. Our Lady of Health Hospital.
3. The extension of the Museum.
4. An open air auditorium.
5. Holy Family Community Hall.
6. The New Tonsure Hall.
7. The Laying of granite stones in the area around the Basilica.
8. Construction of St. John’s Cottage, St. Luke’s Cottage, the extension of Little Flower Cottage, St. Assisi Cottage, the first floor of St. Joseph’s Lodge, St. Thomas’ Quarters’ Annexure, St. Xavier’s Tourist Halls and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Halls for the accommodation of pilgrims.

Other Noteworthy Developments:
Our Lady’s Higher Secondary School, an important institution for the education. He also established a new colony known as “Antoniarpuram” have been put up for the benefit of the staff.
In November 1990 Very Rev. Fr. Gabriel was appointed as Bishop of Tiruchirapalli. He was succeeded by Very Rev. Fr. M.M. Sammanasu. Immediately, on taking charge he showed a genuine concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of the pilgrims. During his term, topmost priority was given to Liturgical celebrations. He introduced the Eucharistic procession around the Shrine on the First Friday of every month. He also built Magizhchi Madha Lodge and Infant Jesus Lodge. Two Community Halls both at Keelaiyur and Thirumangudi were constructed by him. ‘Booking Office for Rooms’ was put up in 1992 in front of the Town Bus Station. Perhaps the magnum opus (great work) of him is the erection of a Retreat House at the Shrine. It was located on the way to Our Lady’s Tank about half a kilometer from the Extension Basilica.

Encouraged and supported by the Bishop, he started the Institute for Marian Studies in 1996. After completing a fruitful ministry in the Shrine, Very Rev. Fr. Sammanasu was transferred in 1997, and he was succeeded by Very Rev. Fr. Arul Irudayam who took charge of the Shrine Basilica as its parish priest and Rector on 5th June 1997.

After the retirement of His Grace Packiam Arokiaswamy in September 1997, Most Rev. Dr. M. Devadass Ambrose took charge of the Diocese of Thanjavur as its currently reigning bishop on September 24, 1997. He has now become the guardian of the Shrine.

Fr. Arul Irudayam has played an important role in the development of the Shrine. The Adoration and Reconciliation Chapel at the Shrine was built as a memorial of the historic event. It was blessed by His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. M. Devadass Ambrose, the bishop of Thanjavur and opened by the special envoy of the pope, Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragan on February 9, 2003. The apparition of Our Blessed Mother to the lame buttermilk vendor had no such commemorative chapel. Hence, a beautiful chapel parallel to the Adoration chapel has been built at Nadu thittu, the place where Our Blessed Mother is believed to have appeared to the lame boy. He has extended St. Joseph’s Lodge by putting up an additional building. Also a pilgrims’ quarters with all conveniences has been constructed to accommodate pilgrim sisters. One of the remarkable achievements of Fr. Arul Irudayam is the construction of Christ the king’s Mahal. A special Higher Secondary School for the disabled children and a High School for the benefit of children who are deaf, have been established. A home has been built for the Sisters of Jesus who care for the disabled and deaf children.

On 23rd June 2003 Rev. Fr. Arul Irudhayam was transferred and he was succeeded by Very Rev. Fr. P. Xavier as Rector of the Shrine and Rev.Fr. F. Antonisamy as the parish priest.

Significant developments in the spiritual realm have taken place at the past two years. They are, the establishment of a Counselling Centre, On March 17, 2004, the Bishop of Thanjavur Most Rev. Dr. M. Devadass Ambrose blessed and opened the Counseling Centre at the Shrine. It is situated behind the Reconciliation Chapel and close to the Adoration Chapel. Over the years the Shrine has been progressively providing for the Spiritual and Temporal needs of the pilgrims. However, the need for a Prayer Centre was conspicuous by its absence. This exigency was taken care of when Very Rev. Fr. P. Xavier, the Rector of the Shrine and Rev. Fr. F. Antonisamy, the Parish Priest with the encouragement of the Bishop of Thanjavur started a small Centre for prayer, On July 27, 2003. This prayer centre is known as the ‘Spring of Prayer’ (‘Jeba Ootu’ in Tamil). The Exhibition on the History of Salvation which is situated on the southern side of the main Shrine presents the history of God’s dialogue with human beings. The Exhibition on the History of Salvation is both fascinating and instructive.

Shrine History
Vailankanni Parish: Vailankanni was a part of the parish of Nagapattinam, but as pilgrims began to pour into Vailankanni, it was raised to the status of an independent parish in 1771, and Fr. Antonio de Rozario the last parish priest of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Nagapattinam, was appointed the first Parish priest of Vailankanni. Nagapattinam had always been under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of the Diocese of Mylapore. During that period the Diocese of Mylapore was administered under the Portuguese ‘Padroado’ (patronage). Under the Padroado system, the king of Portugal in Europe met all the expenses incurred by the Diocese of Mylapore, which remained under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiffs.

Until 1847 the priests of St. Franciscan Missionaries who had looked after the province of Goa and Mylapore also looked after Nagapattinam and Vailankanni. The Franciscan origin and ownership of the Shrine was also perpetuated, by giving the place of honor to two Franciscan saints, St. Anthony of Lisbon and St. Francis of Assisi, on either side of the miraculous image of ‘Our Lady’, on the High Altar until 1961. Besides the last parish priest, Miguel Francisco Fernandez, who was of the Franciscan order, controlled the parish of Vailankanni till 1889. In 1890 the parish was handed over to diocesan priests.

Thereafter, the diocesan priests of the Diocese of Mylapore were in charge of Vailankanni. In 1952, when the new Diocese of Thanjavur came into being, and Vailankanni became a part of the new diocese, the priests of Thanjavur Diocese became the custodians of the Shrine. The administration of the new Diocese was temporarily placed under the apostolic administration of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Louis Mathias, S.D.B., who was then the Archbishop of the new Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore.

On March 19, 1953, His Excellency the Rev. Dr. R. Arokiasamy Sundaram, DD., L. C. L., M. A., a priest of Mylapore Archdiocese was appointed as the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Thanjavur. He assumed charge of his Diocese on March 24, 1953.

Vailankanni being situated in the Thanjavur District came under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Thanjavur. The Rev. Dr. R. Arokiasamy Sundaram showed keen interest in the development of Vailankanni Shrine and granted special spiritual privileges. ‘Our Lady of Health Vailankanni’ became the second patroness of our newly erected Diocese.

Elevation of the Shrine to the status of a Basilica
The greatest houour that can be conferred to a Church is to elevate it to the status of a Basilica. The word ‘Basilica’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Basilike’ and it originally signified a Royal Hall. In course of time this word has come to mean a large and beautiful hall. In ancient times kings from all over the world in general, and from Rome in particular, constructed large hall for administrative purposes. The first hall bearing the name of Basilica existed in Athens.

Jesus Christ being the King of Kings, and His Churches being His audience halls, the larger Christian Churches in Rome came to be called Basilicas.

Today, a Basilica is a consecrated Church usually built with the front facing the East, and generally constructed in one of the classical styles of architecture. It is oblong in shape with a broad nave ending in an apse. It is now stipulated that a church, in order to be called a Basilica, should contain some work of art, or it should contain some work of art, or it should house the body of a saint or a celebrated image much venerated in the land, or be a pre-eminent place of pilgrimage.

His Excellency, Dr. R.A. Sundaram D.D., L.C.L., M.A., the first Bishop of the diocese of Thanjavur, earnestly petitioned Pope John XXIII to raise the Shrine of Vailankanni to the Status of a Basilica and also requested His Holiness to enrich it with all the privileges attached to a Basilica for the spiritual benefit of the pilgrims. In 1962, when Bishop Sundaram went to Rome to attend the second session of the Second Vatican Council, he reiterated his request to the Holy Father personally to raise the Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankanni to the lofty status of a Minor Basilica. After examining the request carefully, His Holiness Pope John XXIII, of saintly memory, issued orders raising the Shrine to the exalted status of a Minor Basilica. Thus the Shrine of Vailankanni became the Shrine Basilica of Vailankanni in November 1962 and was linked to the St. Mary’s Major Basilica in Rome.

Shrine Miracles
Apparitions Of Our Lady
Without a shadow of a doubt it is the choice of Our Blessed Mother to make her apparitions in Vailankanni, that has transformed this place into a Marian Shrine of international repute, is popularly known as the ‘Lourdes of the East’.

It is an indisputable fact that God has always been eager to intervene in human history, especially during turbulent times, in a motherly way and so He comes to us through Mary. Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus, she is the Mother of all us, and it is the distinctive mark of a mother to be solicitous for the wellbeing of her children. Even in her glory in heaven, she is still profoundly concerned about the welfare of her children, and that is why she leaves her eternal throne to come down to man to alert him to the dangers to which he is rushing headlong.

1. Our Lady’s Vision to a Shepherd Boy:
Approximately 400 years ago, there was a small pond and on its bank was a huge banyan tree. A shepherd boy from Vailankanni used to carry milk everyday to a rich man in Nagapattinam which is ten kilometers away. On an unusually hot summer day, the boy, after quenching his thirst with the water from the pond, rested for a while in the shade of the banyan tree which stood beside the pond. Soon the boy fell into a deep slumber.

Suddenly he was startled by the vision of a Lady of celestial beauty holding a lovely child in her arms. The boy could not take his eyes off the Lady of unmatched beauty, so spell bound was he by this heavenly vision. The Lady greeted him with a motherly smile and condescended to ask him for some milk for her child. He joyfully gave her some milk for her child and seeing a bewitching smile spread over the face of the heavenly baby, the boy experienced deep satisfaction.
When he reached the home of the rich man he begged to be excused for his unusual delay and for the shortage of milk. But, when the lid of the milk pot was lifted, lo and behold!, the pot was brimming over with milk. The boy narrated to the rich man about the apparition he had of a Lady of uncommon beauty with a cherubic child and how he had given a portion of the milk he was carrying, to the child at the Lady’s request. He said that he had the unique pleasure of seeing that supernatural Lady feed the baby with the milk he had given. The master was fascinated by the extraordinary phenomenon witnessed by the boy and he hastened to the spot where the Lady had appeared with her child. With great reverence, the gentleman prostrated himself on the holy ground where the Lady had appeared to the boy.
The story of the apparition of the Lady and Child and the miraculous brimming over of the milk, spread like wild fire throughout the neighbourhood. The Christians in Nagapattinam were convinced that the vision was that of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus. Their hearts overflowed with joy at the thought of Our Blessed Mother deigning to choose such an unobtrusive place as Vailankanni to make her apparition. From that day onwards the tank has come to be known as ‘Matha Kulam’ (Our Lady’s Tank). Innumerable miracles are taking place even today by applying it on diseased persons. A chapel now stands at the place where Mary appeared to the shepherd boy.

2. Apparition of Our Lady to the Buttermilk Vendor:
A few years after her apparition to the Shepherd boy, Vailankanni was privileged to be blessed with another apparition of the Blessed Mother, and this time, to a poor lame boy of the village. At the close of the 16th century, there was a poor widow in the village of Vailankanni with a son who was congenitally lame. In order to eke out their existence the lame boy would sell buttermilk at a place known as ‘Nadu Thittu’. It was a slightly elevated spot where there was a huge banyan tree with outstretched branches. The widow would carry the lame boy and leave at Nadu Thittu with a pot of buttermilk. The boy sold the butter milk to weary way-farers who would take shelter from the sweltering heat under the tree. On an extremely hot day the boy was waiting for his customers, but as no one turned up, he was a little disappointed.

But his disappointment turned into joy when, in the twinkling of an eye, he saw a Lady of stunning beauty standing before him, holding a baby of dazzling beauty in her arms. The Mother and Child were attired in impeccable white garments. The Lady looked at the boy with a charming smile and asked him for a cup of buttermilk for the child. Without a moment’s hesitation the lad gave her a cup of buttermilk as he considered it a great honour and privilege to render a little hospitality to his seemingly ethereal visitors. With a sense of deep satisfaction the boy saw the Lady feeding her child with the buttermilk he had offered her. The Lady then cast a benevolent look at the lame boy and turned towards her Divine Child in her arms as if entreating him to heal the crippled lad. The Mother’s silent request was instantaneously answered. Without the boy realizing it, a miracle had been wrought on him, but he kept on gazing at his distinguished visitors as though entranced. The Lady gratefully acknowledged the youth’s generosity and requested another favour of him. The lad was to go to Nagapattinam and apprise a certain rich Catholic gentleman of the Lady’s appearance to him and to inform him of her desire to have a chapel built at Vailankanni in her honour. While he was eager to carry out the mission entrusted to him, his physical impairment rendered him incapable of carrying out the mission. The boy told the Lady so. But the Lady bade him get up and walk as he was no longer a cripple. Immediately, the lad leaped to his feet. His joy knew no bounds when he realized he could walk. He ran as fast as his leg could carry him, all the 10 kilometers to Nagapattinam. On the way he would pause a while to make sure that the miracle that had taken place in him was not a figment of his mind but a reality.
On reaching Nagapattinam the boy, narrated to the gentleman of the apparition. He informed the gentleman that she had sent him as her emissary to ask him to build a chapel in her honour in Vailankanni. The gentleman had little doubt in believing the lad as he himself had a similar vision of Our Lady in his sleep the previous night, bidding him build a chapel in her honour. With the willing cooperation of the people of that locality whose enthusiasm had been kindled by the miraculous healing of the widow’s crippled son, the Catholic gentleman of Nagapattinam soon put up a small thatched chapel at Vailankanni. An altar was erected in the chapel and a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Vailankanni holding the Infant Jesus in her arms, was placed on the altar. That marked the humble beginning of the Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankanni. So many cures were taking place to those who prayed at the miraculous Mother with her Divine Infant came to be known as Our Lady of Good Health, Vailankanni (Vailankanni Arokia Matha). A chapel has been recently built at Nadu Thittu where Our Lady appeared to the lame butter milk vendor.

3. The Portuguese Ship caught in a Storm:
The 16th century in particular was known for the attempts made by European merchants to establish trading centres in India. The Portuguese were devout Catholics with a special devotion to Our Blessed Mother Mary, the ‘Star of the Sea’. In the 17th century a Portuguese merchant vessel was sailing to Colombo. While it was cruising towards the west to reach the Bay of Bengal, it was caught in a violent storm. The gale grew furious and the waves rose high and lashed violently at the ship and the fate of the vessel, with everyone on board was all but sealed. The helpless sailors instinctively fell on their knees and with all the fervour, their sinking souls could muster, besought Mary’s help. They vowed to build a church in her honour wherever she helped them land safely. Their earnest petition was instantly heard, for all on a sudden, there was a miraculous lull in the winds; the waves subsided and the sea became calm. Soon the battered ship was pushed to safety to the shores of Vailankanni. On landing, the first thing the sailors did was to fall on their knees and thank God and the Blessed Virgin Mary for having saved their lives. They set about immediately to remodel the thatched chapel.
Remarkably, all these extraordinary events took place on September 8, the feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 How To Get There

Air: Nearest Airport is Tiruchirappali (4 Hrs By Bus)
Next nearest Airport is Chennai (9 Hrs By Train)
Rail: Nearest railway station is Nagapattinam (11 kms) Others are
Trichy, Chennai and Thanjavur (89kms)
Road: Buses are available from Chidambaram, Chennai, Madurai,
Pondicherry (4 Hrs), Trichy (141kms) and Thanjavur.
Buses frequently run from Nagapattinam (every 15 minutes).
Bus Timings
SETC – State Express Transport Corporation
( Formerly Thiruvalluvar Transport Corporation )
864 Bangalore 17:30 (s)
864 Bangalore 18:30 (s)
771 Thiruvananthapuram 18:00 (s)
770 Ernakulam 18:30 (s)
724 Coimbatore 20:00
560 Marthandam 19:30 (s)
324 Madras 8:00, 8:15 (s), 9:30,10:30, 20:00, 20:30 (s), 21:30, 22:00
(s) – Super Deluxe
Where there is no indication, the service operated is Semi Deluxe.
Buses to and from Nagapattinam and other nearby localities are operated round the clock between 21:00 and 5:00 the buses are available on an hourly basis only.
Train Timings
Vailankanni Railway Reservation Booking Office
Working Hours : 9.00 to 12.00 & 14:00 to 17:00
Trains operating from Nagapatinam
671 Nagore – Thanjavur Passenger Nagapattinam (D) 6:40 Thanjavur (A) 9:30
677 Nagore – Trichy Passenger Nagapattinam (D) 13:55 Trichy (A) 19:20
675 Nagore – Thanjavur Passenger Nagapattinam (D) 18:05 Thanjavur (A) 21:00
Trains operating to Nagapattinam
672 Trichy – Nagore Passenger Trichy (D) 4:20 Nagapattinam (A) 9:30
678 Thanjavur – Nagore Passenger Thanjavur (D) 10:00 Nagapattinam (A) 15:20
676 Thanjavur – Nagore Passenger Thanjavur (D) 18:15 Nagapattinam (A) 20:37
Southern Railway : Enquiry & status at Nagapattinam Tel. No. : 04365 – 42131
Best Time To Get There During Velankanni festival conducted every year:
August 29 to December 8

Shrine Mass Timings
Daily Services
Every Morning :
05.40 a.m. Morning Prayer in the Main Shrine
06.00 a.m. Mass in Tamil in the Main Shrine
07.00 a.m. Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica
08.00 a.m. Mass in Telugu in the upper Basilica
09.00 a.m. Mass in Malayalam in the Lower Basilica
10.00 a.m. Mass in English in the Lower Basilica
11.00 a.m Mass in Hindi in the Upper Basilica
12.00 noon Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica

Every Evening :
06.00 p.m. Rosary, Litany and Novena Prayer in Tamil followed by Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica
(Kindly note the additional and change of timings of Masses and Services on Sundays and Saturdays)
Weekly Services

All Saturdays :
07.00 a.m. Mass in Tamil at Our Lady’s Tank
05.45 p.m. Car Procession of Our Lady of Health around the Shrine, Benediction and Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica

Sunday Morning :
07.30 a.m. Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica

Sunday Evening :
05.00 p.m. Mass in Tamil for the Parishioners of Vailankanni in the Lower Basilica
06.00 p.m. Rosary, Litany, Novena Prayer, Benediction and Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica.
Monthly Services

First Friday :
06.00 p.m. Mass in Tamil, Eucharistic Procession around the Shrine, Sermon and Benediction from the front view of the Upper Basilica.

First Saturday :
05.30 p.m. Car Procession of Our Lady of Health through the beach road Blessing of the Sick with the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction and Mass in Tamil in the Lower Basilica
09.00 p.m. A Three-Hour Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament in the Main Shrine

Second Saturday :
09.00 a.m. A Fasting Prayer Service from 09.00 a.m. to 04.00 p.m. in the Vailankanni Madha Retreat House

Third Saturday :
07.00 a.m. Intercessory Prayer after the end of the Mass in Our Lady’s Tank

Fourth Saturday :
06.30 a.m. Mass in Tamil in the Naduthittu Church
08.00 p.m. Children’s Good News Gathering in front of the Fathers’ House

Annual Feast of Our Lady of Health :
The Annual Feast of Our Lady of Health is celebrated from 29th August to 8th September.
Address :  Very Rev. Fr. A. Michael
Rector,Shrine Basilica
Vailankanni 611 111
Nagapattinam District
Tamilnadu, INDIA

Contact Numbers :  +91-4365 : 263 530 (Father’s personal)
+91-4365 : 263 625 (Father’s Fax)
+91-4365 : 263 423 (Shrine Number)
+91-4365 : 263 584 (Shrine Number)
+91-4365 : 264 890 (Shrine Number)
Email :

Novena Prayer To Our Lady
Oh Most Holy Virgin! You were chosen by the Most Adorable Trinity from all eternity to be the most pure Mother of Jesus. Permit me, your humble and devoted servant, to remind you of the joy received in the instant of the Most Sacred Incarnation of our Divine Lord and during the nine months you carried Him in your chaste womb. I wish most sincerely that I could renew, or even increase that joy, by the fervour of my Prayers.

Oh! Tender Mother of the afflicted! Grant me under my present necessities that special protection You have promised to those who devoutly commemorate this ineffable joy. Relying on the infinite mercies of your Divine Son, trusting in the promise which He has made that those who ask should receive, and penetrated with confidence in your powerful prayers, I most humbly entreat you intercede for me. I beg you to obtain for me the favours which I petition for in this novena, if it be the Holy Will of God to grant them; to ask for me whatever graces I most stand in need of.(Here specify your requests)
I desire by this novena, which I now offer in your honour, to prove the lively confidence I have in your intercession. Accept it, I beseech you, in honour of that supernatural love and joy, with which your Immaculate Heart was replenished during the abode of your divine Son in your womb; in veneration of which, I offer you the sentiments of my heart.(Repeat the Hail Mary nine times)and then say the following prayer:-Oh! Mother of God! accept these salutations in union with the respect and veneration with which the Angel Gabriel first hailed you, “Full of Grace” I wish most sincerely that they may become so many gems in the crown of your incidental glory, which will increase in brightness to the end of the world.

I beseech you, Oh! comfortress of the afflicted, by the joy you received, when the word was made flesh, to obtain for me the favours and graces, which I have now implored through your powerful intercession. For this end I offer you all the good works which have even been performed in your honour. I most humbly entreat you for the love of the amiable Heart of Jesus, with which yours was ever so inflammed, to hear my humble prayers and to obtain my requests.
- Amen.

This Novena prayer will be helpful to those helpless people when everything fails, and who wants speedy and visible answers to their agony.


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