Velankanni Mother Mary My Pilgrimage Center
We visit Vailankanni every year from the nearest airport at Tiruchy (154 kms). No words can express the happiness and peace that we feel in the presence of our beloved Mother.
Velankanni (Vailankanni), a hamlet on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal, is located 350 kilometers south of Chennai (Madras) in South India and 12 kilometers south of Nagappatinam. The coastal town Nagapattinam was referred by early writers and the Portuguese as "the city of Coramandel' (Imperial Gazetteer of India, XIX, 3). Vailankanni is fondly known as the 'Lourdes of the East' because millions of pilgrims visit the Shrine throughout the year. Many came with eager and earnest prayers for favors, and immediate help; many more came with hearts filled with gratitude to show thanks to the miraculous Mother, our lady of Lourdes for favors granted.
Historical notes reveal that people in this area traded with Rome and Greece, the ancient commercial centers of the western world. Vailankanni was once a port and there is evidence to prove this. Vellayar River, a minor branch of the river Cauvery, runs on the south of the village and flows into the sea.
Sometime during the sixteenth century, Our Lady with her infant son appeared to a Hindu boy carrying milk to a customer’s home. Festival of Our Lady of Health - Mother Velankanni is celebrated every year from August 29 to September 8.
We say Rosary
The Growth of the Shrine- Timeline
· A small church of 24 ft. x 12 ft. was built by the Portuguese sailors
· Preserving the ancient little sanctuary and the Altar, it was expanded to 70 ft. x 22 ft. by Fr. Rozario, a Franciscan priest
· In 1917 Fr. Sebastio Xavier de Noronha expanded the Church by another 20 ft. from the nave of the Church. In addition, two gothic domes of 82 ft. each on either side of the entrance facing the sea were also constructed.
· In 1933 two new wings were constructed, to the right and to the left of the 'Main Altar', meeting the nave at right angles.
· In January 1961, the former altar made of cement concrete was replaced by a beautiful central altar made of spotless white marble
· The Basilica was extended with the two story church in 1974-75. Today this magnificent edifice with its 93 ft. high dome and two 82 ft. high gothic spirals dominates the skyline of Vailankanni.
The majestic Shrine Vailankanni
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At Vailankanni we can buy garlands, coconuts and candles from vendors and offer to Mother Mary. Also we can buy rosaries, photos and rings of Mother Velankanni, imitation jewellery, toys and food stuff from the shops run by the church authority. After lighting the candles we can proceed to the main altar to kneel down and pray.
A path, called the "Holy Path", strewn with sand, lead the pilgrim from the main shrine to the place where the Mother first appeared before a shepherd boy. On the left side of the path we see beautiful sculptures representing the life of Jesus on the cross, "Stations of the Cross". On the right side we see "Stations of Rosary". The devotees of all ages and ailments walk on their knees along this path.
We can visit a lovely small chapel at the “Place of Apparition”, called the Lady's Tank and a museum that was built to house the offerings. A trip to Vailankanni is never complete without trodding on the shores of the Vailanakanni beach.
Vailankanni Church at night
Morning Star Church for Our Lady of Vailankanni
- Morning Star Church for Our Lady of Vailankanni
Basilica status was conferred to Vailankanni Church in the year 1962. The golden jubilee of the Shrine Basilica of Vailankanni is being celebrated from 3rd November, 2011 to 3rd November, 2012. It is decided to raise a monument for our Lady of Health
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