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Historic day: St Lawrence Shrine declared Minor Basilica

Aug. 2, 2016

Karkala, Aug 1: It was a historic moment for Karkala and indeed for the entire coastal region and the state, as the highly revered St Lawrence Shrine at Attur here was declared a Minor Basilica on Monday August 1.

Attur thereby has become only the second in the state and the 22nd in the entire country to have a Minor Basilica.

Mumbai archbishop, CCBI and FIBC president Cardinal Oswald Gracias led the Eucharistic Mass. Thiruvananthapuram Syro-Malankara Catholic Church Major Archbishop and Catholic Bishop Conference (CBCI) president Cardinal Baselious Climis announced the declaration of the Minor Basilica in Latin while Udupi Bishop Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo announced it in Konkani.

More than 25 archbishops and bishops from various parts of the country, including Bengaluru Archbishop Dr Bernard Moras, Mangaluru bishop Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza took part in the Mass. Fr George D'Souza, rector of the new Minor Basilica, was among the many priests present.

Dr Bernard Moras in his homily said that this was a historical event and expressed gratitude to God for making St Lawrence Shrine a Minor Basilica. "This event will be written in the golden annals of the history of the diocese of Udupi," he said.

Explaining the significance of a Minor Basilica, he said, "Basilica means a beautiful and royal house. In Christianity, the term basilica was used by early Christians who celebrated the holy Mass in the royal house of the kings. There are 1,742 Minor Basilicas in the world, out of which 21 are in India. This is the 22nd Minor Basilica in the country and the 2nd in the state after St Mary's Basilica in Bengaluru.

"Basilica is a place of divine worship. St Lawrence died in AD 257, he sacrificed himself showing his love towards God. He spent his life in the service of the poor and the needy. God is merciful. This is a place of worship, where people from different places come with intentions and witness miracles in their lives," he added.

The choir was led by Fr Sunil D'Silva and the members of the Karkala deanery which helped the sea of devotees take part in the Holy Eucharsitic celebrations.

St Lawrence Shrine at Attur, Karkala has been elevated to the status of a minor basilica by Pope Francis through the sacred congregation for the divine worship and discipline of sacraments, Vatican, Rome, it is gathered. Within three months, The Shrine is being proclaimed and dedicated a Minor Basilica.

Dr Anil Couto, Archbishop of Delhi, Dr. Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa, Dr. Pius D’Souza, Bishop of Ajmer, Dr Ignatius D’Souza, Bishop of Bareily, Dr Salvadore Lobo, Bishop of Bareeipur, Dr Gerald Almeida Jabalpur, Dr Alex Vadakumthala, Bishop of Kannur, Dr Gerald Mathias, Bishop of Lucknow, Rev Varghese Chakkalakal, Bishop of Calicut, Rev Peter Machado, Bishop of Belgaum, Rev Lawrence Mukkuzhy, Bishop of Belthangady, Rev Thomsappa A Swamy, Bishop of Chikmagalur, Rev Robert M Miranda, Bishop of Gulbarga, Rev Derek Fernandes, Bishop of Karwar, Rev Anthony Kariyil CMI, Bishop of Mandya, Rev Thomas A Vazhapilly, Bishop of Mysore, Geevarghese Mar Divannasios, Bishop of Puttur, Rev Francis Serrao, SJ, Bishop of Shivamogga, Fr Valerain Mendonca, Chancellor, Diocese of Udupi, Fr Roshan Menezes, Episcopal Vicar, Diocese of Udupi, Fr Valerian Menezes Judicial Vicar, Diocese of Udupi, Fr Stany B. Lobo, Dean of Kallianpur Deanery, Fr Stany Tauro, Dean of Shirva Deanary, Fr. Fred Mascarenhas, Dean of Udupi Deanary, Fr Anil D’Souza, Dean of Kundapur Deanary, Fr Joswey Fernandes, Dean of Karkala Deanery, Fr Roque D’Souza, Fr Charles Noronha, Fr Lawrence C. D’Souza, Conveyer, Msgr Denis Prabhu, Vicar General, Diocese of Mangaluru, Msgr George D’Souza, Diocese of Chikmagalur, Msgr Felix Noronha, Diocese of Shivamogga, Msgr Jayanathan , Arch Diocese of Bengaluru, Msgr Edwin C Pinto, Mount Rosary, Fr Joseph Martis, Rector, Jeppu Seminary were also present among others during the event.

Public Function

Eminence Baselios Cardinal Cleemis has presided over the stage function which started after the Eucharist, Chief Guests are Oswald cardinal Gracias. Telephore Cardinal Toppo and Mar George Cardinal Alencherry. Guests of Honour are, DR Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bengaluru, Dr Aloysius P D'Souza, Bishop of Mangaluru, minister Pramod Madhwaraj, MLA Sunil Kumar, Ex MLA Gopal Bhandary, Dr Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of Udupi Fr Greogre Dsouza, Rector of St Lawreance Minor Basilica, Fr Lawrence D'Souza, Convener of event Monsignor Baptist Menezes, vicar General are on the dais.

Stage function started with the prayer song sung by the choir team of Karkal deanery.

Pramod Madhwaraj in his address said, "It is a joyful day for the district of Udupi and for the state of Karnataka. St Lawrence Minor Basilica is not only for Catholics but for all. When miracles take place, people will come in huge numbers. When they get peace, blessings, and prayers are answered, they visit the holy place. I had also prayed here and my intention was answered. After knowing the miracles at this place pope Francis declared a place as Minor Basilica after a 40 years in Karnataka. As Jesus Christ said what we do to the least is the real service of God. From this moment of proclamation of new Minor Basilica, may the citizens of entire India lead peaceful life. It is a proud moment for me as the minister of this district."

Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of Diocese of Udupi welcomed the gathering.

As per the call given by Pope Francis in his letter all guest were given with various saplings as a token of welcome. And those will be placed in various places in the Minor Basilica premises.

Baselios Cardinal Cleemis unveiled the marble Plank of the Basilica. In his address Cardinal Cleemis expressed his joy to share his love and affectionate throughout India from the dioceses of Udupi. He congratulated Bishop Gerald Lobo for making the dream into reality. He remembered mother diocese of Mangalore which provided all the necessary help in setting up the Udupi diocese." This Minor Basilica will bring thousands and thousands of devotees to this miracle place in the coming days." he said.

Unfurling the papal flag Mar George Cardinal Alencherry said "St Lawrence is martyr for the poor. That is why we witness the huge number of devotees. May this place become national sanctuary in the coming days.”

Dr Bernard Moras read out the message by the Pope Francis. Dr Aloysius D'Souza read out the message by Apostolic Nuncio the ambassador of Vatican in India.

Dr Aloysius D’Souza handed over the Chalice to the rector of the Minor Basilica which was presented by the Nuncio.

Karkala MLA Sunil Kumar in his address said "We are witnessing the historical moment. The place is recognised worldwide henceforth which is a really a proud movement for me as MLA. The annual feat which is taking place here in January is one of the biggest events in this region which attracts the people from all faiths. I will give by best support and make honest efforts to provide best road approach to this holy place. "

Gopal Bhandary, Ex MLA of Karkala said “This centuries old church will bring special peace in the society. We will see more development here. Miracles will always take place here. No casualties were reported during land sliding at this place. The mammoth crowd gathered now explains the importance of the Minor Basilica."

Oswald Cardinal Gracias said that Dr Gerald is very important person as he achieved the status of minor basilica for St Lawrence Shrine. He reminded that several places had applied for the Basilica status only diocese of Udupi diocese received it. He also said "During the year of Mercy, the Pope had given the call that the church belonged to the poor."

Dr Gerald Lobo presented the mementoes to all the guests who present on the occasion.

Fr Denis D’Sa and Vincent Alva compared the programme, Monsignor Baptist Menezes proposed vote of thanks.

The event concluded with hymns to St Lawrence.

Meal was served for all the devotees. 9 days novena also started from Monday.


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