Pics: Kevin Rodrigues
Daijiworld Media Network – Karkala (WD)
Karkala, Jan 17: Novena and the annual feast of St Lawrence Minor Basilica to be held in simple manner from January 18 to January 28. Prior to this Novena inauguration was held on Sunday, January 17. It was symbolically inaugurated by hoisting the flag prior to the holy Eucharistic celebrations presided over by Fr George D’Souza, director of Basilica, Fr Roy Melwyn Lobo, assistant parish priest.
Chief whip of Karnataka government Sunil Kumar lit the lamp and inaugurated the celebrations.
Addressing the gathering, Sunil Kumar, who is also MLA of Karkala constituency said, "We shall be celebrating the feast of St Lawrence this year the same we used to celebrate previously. This place is well-known to everyone and has been recognised as basilica and has attracted many devotees worldwide. The number of devotees has been increasing every year due to the holiness of this place. It has become a place for tourist attraction. This year due to Covid pandemic the celebrations have become subtle but there has not been any scarcity in spiritual celebrations. The spiritual celebrations must go in a smooth way with simple celebration. Attur feast is very popular in twin districts Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. Though corona has put a pause on our celebrations, let it not put a brake to our spiritual celebrations. Let this festivity be successful and hope many more devotees visit this place.”
Zilla panchayat member Reshma Uday Shetty, taluk panchayat member Harish Chandra, St Lawrence Minor Basilica director Fr George D’Souza, assistant parish priest Fr Melwyn Roy Lobo were present on the occasion.
Santosh D'Silva, vice-president of parish pastoral council compered the program and welcomed the gathering. Benedict Noronha, secretary of Parish Pastoral Council proposed the vote of thanks.
Due to Covid restrictions this year the annual feast of Minor Basilica will be celebrated in simple manner. To avoid overcrowding and to follow Covid-19 norms, from January 18 onward, during the novena days, there will be five Masses per day at different timings which will begin from 8 am in the morning and with the last Mass of the day to be offered at 5 pm. Other Mass timings are 10 am 12 pm and 3 pm.
The Basilica committee has requested the devotees to follow the guidelines issued by the government while visiting the Basilica from January 18 to 28 and be blessed with the grace of St Lawrence.
Guidelines to the devotees
Wearing masks has been made compulsory in the church premises. There will be special prayers for the sick after every Mass. However, priests praying by keeping hands on the head of devotees is prohibited. Except for the religious stall, there will not be any other stalls allowed on the premises.
The Basilica premises will be closed after last Mass at 6:30 pm to 7:00 am the next day. This year, there will not be special arrangements for the confessions. Relic of St Lawrence will not be kept outside for honouring.
Festival Masses and celebrants
Dr Francis Serrao, bishop, diocese of Shivamogga, will preside over the Holy Eucharistic celebration on Sunday, January 24 at 10 am. Mass will be celebrated in Konkani, which is also a confraternity Sunday for Attur parishioners.
Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, bishop emeritus, diocese of Mangaluru, will preside over the festive Mass on Monday, January 25 at 10 am. Mass will be celebrated in Konkani.
Dr Lawrence Mukkuzhy, bishop, diocese of Beltangady will preside over the Holy Eucharistic celebration on Tuesday, January 26 at 10 am. Mass will be celebrated in Kannada.
Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, bishop, diocese of Udupi, will preside over the Holy Eucharistic celebration on Wednesday, January 27 at 10 am. Mass will be celebrated in Konkani.
Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, bishop, diocese of Mangaluru, will preside over the Holy Eucharistic celebration on Thursday, January 28 at 10 am. Mass will be celebrated in Konkani.