Daijiworld Media Network – Udupi (JD/KR)
Udupi, Aug 14: A place of solace to many, a healer for the patients, a place of divinity Stella Maris Church Kalmady is beaming with pride as it is gearing up to celebrate 50 glorious year of its inception on one hand and Proclamation and dedication of Our lady of Velankanni Centre as a Diocesan Shrine on the other.
Stella Maris Church was built in the year 1972 and was inaugurated by then Bishop of Mangaluru Basil S D’Souza. The church is in its 50th glorious year of inception. Golden Jubilee celebrations will be held on Monday, August 15, 2022 at the church premises at 10 am with Holy Eucharistic celebrations, followed by a felicitation programme at 11.30 am.
Our Lady of Velankanni Centre situated in Stella Maris Church will also be proclaimed and dedicated as a diocesan shrine on the occasion. The centre which is popular in the coastal Karnataka region is witness to thousands of devotees visiting this place every year and getting healed.
Our Lady of Velankanni Centre – A place of solace to many
Stella Maris Church situated in the scenic beauty of Kalmady, just 3 kms away from National Highway 66 is a divine place for many. Lakhs of devotees throng Our Lady of Velankanni Centre of Kalmady every year to offer prayers and intentions. Our lady of Velankanni has been an graceful healer to many. Devotees themselves have been witness to good health and miracles that happened in this holy place through the grace of Our lady of Velankanni. The statue of Our Lady of Velankanni was brought in a procession from Udupi church on August 15, 1988.
The statue was donated by Fr Wilson Vitus D’Souza, and was brought from Velankanni, Tamil Nadu. The then Mangaluru Bishop Basil S D’Souza installed the statue in Kalmady on August 15, 1988. After the installation, to this day many miracles have happened here. The centre has been recognised worldwide and people from all walks of life visit this place and receive the grace. People offer sarees to our lady of Velankanni as a sign of gratitude. The centre will now be proclaimed and dedicated as a diocesan shrine.
A chapel to church on world map – 50 glorious years of Stella Maris Church
Stella Maris church was built in the year 1972. Prior to that, the people of Kalmady had to visit St Anne’s Church, Thottam or Mother of Sorrows Church, Udupi for their spiritual needs. With the efforts of Fr Charles D’Souza, the church was established in Kalmady very close to the Arabian Sea. The name of the church - ‘Stella Maris’ meaning ‘Star of the Sea’ is apt.
Fr Charles D’Souza, a native of Kalmady, along with the generous devotes from Kalmady, bought land for the church spending money from his own pocket. With the combined efforts of Fr Charles and the faith of Kalmady, a new church was built and it was blessed and inaugurated on February 5, 1972. But the church was under the Udupi parish. Priests of Udupi and Kallianpur parish used to come to conduct Eucharistic Mass on Sunday.
Fr Denis Castelino was the first residing priest of Kalmady who took charge in 1987. In 1991, Bishop of Mangaluru declared Stella Maris Church, Kalmady as a parish. Fr Robert Pinto who succeeded Fr Denis also strived hard to develop the church. After him, Fr Ivan D’Mello took over and during his tenure he purchased a land for the church adjoining the existing church property.
For some years the parish was in hands of Jesuit priests. With many developmental works, the Jesuit priests took the church to new heights. Fr Richard Mascarenhas, Fr Joseph D’Souza, Fr Maxim Misquith were the Jesuit priests who served in the church.
In 2012, again the church administration was transferred to secular priests. Fr Alban D’Souza took charge as a parish priest in June 2012. Fr Alban is known to have cured many patients through his prayers. He was instrumental in developing St Joseph Vaz Shrine in Mudipu, where he had served earlier. Inspired by the Noah’s Ark, Fr. Alban D’Souza started construction of a new building of Stella Maris Church in the shape of a boat with a bell tower in the shape of a lighthouse.
The unique architectural masterpiece was inaugurated in a grand ceremony on January 6, 2018, in the presence of Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop, diocese of Udupi, Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, then Bishop, Diocese of Mangaluru, Dr. Francis Serrao S, Bishop, Diocese of Shivamogga, and Dr Robert Miranda, Bishop, diocese of Kalburgi.
Fr Alban D’Souza was transferred to St Lawrence Minor Basilica as rector on July 5, 2021. Fr Baptist Menezes took charge as parish priest and Fr Roy Lobo as assistant parish priest.
On the occasion of golden jubilee celebrations, a felicitation programme is being organized on August 15, 2022 at 11.30 am followed by a fellowship meal to the devotees.
Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop, Diocese of Udupi will proclaim and dedicate the Our Lady of Velankanni Centre as diocesan shrine along with other Bishops and clergy. Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop Emeritus diocese of Mangaluru will be the chief celebrant for the Eucharistic celebrations. Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop, diocese of Mangaluru, Dr. Francis Serrao, Bishop, diocese of Shivamogga, Dr Henry D’Souza, Bishop, diocese of Ballari, Dr Robert Miranda, Bishop, diocese of Kalburgi, Dr Lawrence Mukkuzhy, Bishop, diocese of Beltangady, Dr Geevarghese Mar Makarios Kalayil, Bishop, diocese of Puttur, Msgr. Baptist Menezes, Vicar General, diocese of Udupi, Fr Stany B Lobo, Chancellor, diocese of Udupi, Fr Charles Menezes, dean, Udupi deanery and other priests from the diocese and neighbouring dioceses will witness the historical event at Kalmady. .
Prior to the annual feast of Our Lady of Health Shrine, Kalmady, a 9-day novena was kicked off on August 6, and during the novena days with special and various intentions prayers, adorations were held by the various priest of the diocese.
On August 14, a car procession of Our Lady of Velankanni was held from Adi Udupi bypass to the church premise. K Raghupathi Bhat, MLA Udupi inaugurated the procession at 2.30 pm on the same day.