Thousands celebrate Mary fest in Bangalore

Bangalore, Sep 8 : Thousands of people from across all walks of life Sunday descended on a church in the city centre to celebrate the birthday of Mary, mother of Jesus Christ.

Hundreds of devout Christians from across the state and neigbhouring Tamil Nadu congregated at the 132-year-old St.Mary's Basilica in the bustling area for mass and feasting amid tight security.

Braving rain and wind, men, women and children, clad in the penitential saffron dresses, marched over a km towards the renowned shrine to petition the holy mother, honoured as the Lady of Good Health.

"Over the centuries, people have been invoking Mary under various titles like the morning star in the Loretto litany, symbolising the Immaculate One, Universal Mother, the Perpetual Help and an angel who heralded Christ, the savior of the world," Basilica rector and parish priest John Rose said on the occasion.

The nine days of novena culminated on the 10th day with a chariot procession, which was flagged off by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the presence of Bangalore Archbishop Bernard Moras.

"Mary is a special gift to us as a powerful intercessor (mediator). We have chosen to celebrate this year as the year of faith and to build community of love, marking the diamond jubilee of the Archdiocese of Bangalore," Moras said at the procession.

Addressing the gathering, Basilica administrator Santiago said Mary was the gate to Jesus.

"People have experienced healing and peace during the novena at the shrine of our blessed mother who is unique for her humility and intercessory powers," he said.

The 10-day feast is celebrated as a period of peace and unity, of joy, love and happiness after nine days of novena when prayers were offered daily to Mary.

In celebrating the nativity of Mary, Christians anticipate the incarnation and birth of her divine son.

--IANS (Posted on 09-09-2013)

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