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Vatican ambassador will lead Mount Mary prayers

Sept. 5, 2013

The Mount Mary Basilica in Bandra is ready to celebrate the feast of Our Lady. The Vatican's ambassador to India, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, will arrive to celebrate the holy mass at 11.30am on the opening day on Sunday. The closing mass at the same time on September 15 will be administered by Archbishop of Bombay, Oswald Cardinal Gracias.

Fr Aniceto Pereira of Mt Mary Basilica says, "We are currently in the midst of the novena, which will wind up September 7. From September 8 to 15, the church will be open to worshippers from 5am through 10pm with religious services every morning."

Neighbours in the vicinity of the church are looking forward to the fair. Flory D'souza of Cosmo Colony was born and raised here. "I go every day during the celebration. This year is doubly special because Mother Mary's birthday falls on Sunday. Normally, the celebrations begin on the Sunday before September 8 but, this year, they will start that day," she says.

Dulcine D'souza of Jaffar Baba colony says worshippers arrive from all parts of the city and browse the 400-odd stalls as they shop for candles, wax dolls and typical festival sweets. Lucy Fernandes, a resident of Balmoral Hall, has never missed a visit to the basilica. "I used to visit Mount Mary with my mother when I was 17. My devotion to Our Lady is so strong that I wished for a house next to her shrine. Imagine my fortune, I married and moved here, right next to the basilica. The fair does not interest me much, I am more keen on the church activities and prayers," she says.

Fernandes is touched by the sight of old and ailing people from all communities who line up for the special mass. "The other day, I saw an elderly lady crawling on her knees to the shrine, so devotion is the overriding sentiment."

 Source: Times of India

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