Karkala: Annual Feast of St Lawrence Begins with Devotion and Fervour
Report by Dr. Eugene D'Souza, Moodubelle
Pics by Arun Uppinangady & Dr Eugene
Karkala, Jan 26: The feast of St. Lawrence at Attur started with devotees and pilgrims thronging to the shrine of the Saint at Attur-Karkala on Tuesday, 26th January 2010 right from early morning. The first festive Mass was scheduled at 9.30 am. Before the Mass, devotees were seen burning the candles in front of the statue of St. Lawrence, visiting the miraculous pond and waiting in queue to pay respect to St. Lawrence in the old church behind the new one.
The first festive Mass began at 9.30 am. Fr. Oswald Monteiro from Pakshikere was the chief celebrant of the Mass. In his homily, Fr. Oswald explained the meaning of the theme of this year’s annual feast: “Appointed and anointed for the people”, by giving examples from the Bible and the life of St. John Marie Vianney, the patron saint of the priests. He also said that the priests who are appointed and anointed for the people can carry on their mission only in association with the people.
The church and the mezzanine floor were packed to capacity during the Mass. At the end of the Mass, the prayer for the sick was recited and a special blessing for the sick was given. Thereafter, at different places within the church and outside, the priests blessed the sick and healthy by laying their hands over their heads.
The entire campus of the Attur Church was filled with devotees and pilgrims. People in groups or with families were seen going around the places for offering candles, touching miraculous oil and applying it to their forehead and doing purchases of religious articles.
The church and civic authorities have made excellent arrangements for the smooth conduct of the feast for the three days. The police post within the campus of the church and the first aid centre were ready to help people in need. There was repeated announcement in Konkani and Kannada regarding the precaution to be taken by the pilgrims. I heard an announcement regarding a boy who was lost and asking the boy to meet his parents at a particular spot and asking him not to worry.
As 26th January happened to be a holiday on account of the Republic Day, there were more devotees and pilgrims making their way to the shrine in different vehicles. The police were quite busy in guiding the traffic and making arrangement for parking the vehicles at appropriate parking spots.
Outside the church gate i could see verities of stalls by the sides of the roads linking to the
main road and downwards as well. Among the stalls, the watermelon stalls were making brisk business. It has been a tradition that those who would go for Attur feast not only eat but also carry watermelons home.
I do not remember when i had gone for the Attur feast last. May be when i was just a child. But this time i could witness and experience the devotion of the people to St. Lawrence who came from different parts of the districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi irrespective of their religion and mingle with each other as one human family bound with the devotion to St. Lawrence.