Thrissur (Kerala), Sep 20 (IANS): Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours near here - billed as the tallest church in Asia at 260 ft - has decided to donate 125 sovereigns of gold to marry off 25 underprivileged women from different communities.
"Through this we feel our church has grown even taller. The entire money has been collected from our parish members," remarked Simon Joseph, who heads the charity activities of the church parish that has just 600 members.
The church was consecrated on Nov 24, 1940, and its tallest portion stands at a staggering 260 feet from the ground. Its total plinth area measures 25,000 sq ft.
The church is built in classic Gothic style and has a Bible Tower which contains a rare collection of copies of the Bible, besides many valuable paintings.
"When gold prices are skyrocketing - and gold is an essential ingredient of a girl's marriage - anxious parents belonging to all religions in Kerala go through agony," said Joseph.
"Under the leadership of our rector, Rev. Louis Edakalathur, we decided to mitigate the agony of 25 sets of parents belonging to all religions, especially from the lower strata of society," said Joseph.
Applications will be invited in November and girls will be selected before Dec 15 so as to enable them to conduct their marriages in their respective localities between January 15 and June next year.
There will be no centralised marriage at Thrissur. Priority will be given to the daughters of widows, and daughters whose fathers have a permanent disability may also be considered.