FEASTS IN SHRINE

THE ANNUAL GRAND FESTIVAL

The festival of shrine falls on the second Sunday after Easter. Thousands of devotees of Mother Mary come from distant as well as neighboring places to offer prayers to the blessed mother on this occasion. This festival is one of the significant church festivals of Kerala.


SPECIAL CEREMONY

The flag hosting on the first day marks the beginning of the festival on all the following nine days before the Prathishta Thirunal – a procession reciting the holy rosary begins at 5:45 a.m. leading from the parish church to the shrine followed by the holy mass and Novena. On all the ten days, Holy Mass is also celebrated, followed by the novena, ladeengu and procession leading to the shrine. Each day a different set of people organize the services of that day. “Nithyasahayaamrtham” is blessed during the festival days and distributed to the faithful. On the Saturday, that is the eve of the Pratishta Thirunal, food is blessed and the ‘crown ‘(which is placed on Holy Mary’s statue) is consecrated and offerings are made by individuals and families. One of the chief features of the festival is the Grand procession carrying the ‘crown’ that begins from the parish church to the shrine. The holy crown of ‘Our lady Of Perpetual help’ along with the miraculous picture of Our lady Of Perpetual help’ is carried in the procession through the main streets of Mattom. Thousands of devotees gather and walk along with the procession towards the shrine. This is followed by a grand display of fire works. Next day after liturgy services a variety of entertainment programs are organized. It marks the end of Prathishta Thirunal.


SECOND SATURDAY OBSERVATION

Mother Mary’s devotees from several places gather at this shrine for the special prayers like novena to Mother Mary, ladeengu etc. The devotees testify that special blessings and graces are received by taking part in these ceremonies with faith. In the Vanamatha shrine we celebrate all Second Saturdays specially, with processions, devotional music and High masses. For this we thank Fr. Sebastian Vellanikkaran who began the tradition of devoting Second Saturdays to Mother Mary.