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Lakhs of People witnessed Annual Jatra Mahotsav of Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Health, Harihara

Published On : 09 Sep 2023   |  Reported By : Rev Fr. Franklin Dsouza Pics by: Stanly Bantwal

Davanagere, Harihara, September 8, 2023: Annual Feast of Harihara Matha, Minor Basilica which is known as "Feast of the Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary" celebrated at Minor Basilica of Our lady of Health, Harihara in a grand manner. Lakhs of people from all corners of Karnataka as well as outside Karnataka witnessed Annual Jatra Mahotsav of Harihar Matha Basilica.

History has it from time immemorial that according to the tradition 

a Non Christian devotee, while taking a bath, accidentally fell into the swelling river Tungabhadra on whose banks Harihar is now situated. Being on the verge of drawing and in great fear of death, he saw the floating statue of Our Lady of Health and caught hold of it, and that eventually saved his life. Thereafter on reaching home, his wife and children, on touching the statue of Our Lady of Health, were miraculously and providentially healed of their diseases – tuberculosis and paralysis respectively.

Then onwards he dedicated himself completely to the service of Our Lady and his house to the glory of the Mother. Soon after his death, he was laid to rest in a place where his house existed. Later on, that same house was converted into a Church, which is situated on the banks of the River Tungabhadra. This Shrine has been frequented by the people of Karnataka, irrespective of caste, language and religion. No doubt, it can surely be called the “Vailankanni of Karnataka”. Then in 1833, Fr Bigot is reported to have built a prayer hall in Harihar.

During the Annual Feast, the original statue of the Mother Mary is installed in a place adjacent to the Church. People form a queue spreading around 2 to 3 kilometers waiting patiently for their turn to have a darshan of the mother, holding coconut, candles, flowers and offerings with an intention to keep them at the foot of the Mother .

Harihar is a town situated in Davangere district of Karnataka. Erstwhile Mysuru Kings, followed by the British. Harihar though belonging to Mysuru state was part of Chitradurga Division. Later on in 1875 AD, the British Government brought together a few adjacent villages under Harihar and formed it a taluk centre with the establishment of a taluk office.

A new Church dedicated to Our Lady of Health was built on 31st August 1992 by Rev. Fr Jesu Rakshaka Nadhan and inaugurated by Most Rev. Dr Ignatius Pinto, then Bishop of Diocese of Shimoga.

On 27th May 2012 during the time of Rev. Fr Stany D'Souza with efforts of then Bishop Most Rev. Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, the Shrine was officially declared as a Diocesan Shrine of the Diocese of Shimoga.

During the time of Rev. Fr Anthony Peter and with the efforts of Present Bishop Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ, the Vatican has raised the Shrine of Our Lady of Health, Harihar to the status of a Minor Basilica on 18th September 2019.

This is the third shrine in Karnataka to have received the status of Minor Basilica after St. Mary's Minor Basilica in the Archdiocese of Bangalore and St. Lawrence Minor Basilica in the Diocese of Udupi. The official celebration of this milestone was held on 15th January 2020, with Holy Eucharist celebrated by CCBI President His Eminence Cardinal Philip Neri, Archbishop of Archdiocese of Goa and Daman together with Bishops of Karnataka.

The theme for the feast of our lady of health this year 2013 was; "The life if Mother Mary - A source of inspiration for Women". The festal celebration commenced with the flag hoisting on 30th August 2023 at 5:30pm by Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ, Bishop of Diocese of Shimoga & Shri. S. S. Mallikarjun, Hon'ble Minister of Mine & Geology and Horticulture, Government of Karnataka.

The novenas were held from 30th August to 7th September 2023 at 5:30pm along with the Recitation of the Rosary in procession, Novena prayers, floral homage and celebration of Holy Eucharist with preaching on a given theme by the main celebrant & the healing adoration with benediction.

On September 7th, the concelebrated High mass was in Kannada at 5:30pm by Most Rev. Dr Robert Miranda, Bishop of Diocese of Gulbarga together with Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ, Bishop of Diocese of Shimoga & clergy. The Eucharistic celebration was followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and prayer service for the sick by Fr Franklin D'Souza, Fr Roman Pinto & Bro. T K George . The prayer service was continued on 8th September as well from 2:30pm to 3:45pm.

The feast of Nativity of Our Lady of health was celebrated on 8th September 2023. The feast day began with the celebration of Holy Mass from 5:15am in Kannada, 6:15am in Telugu, 7:15am in Malayalam (Syro Malabar Rite) by Most Rev. Dr Joseph Arumachadath, Bishop of Diocese of Bhadravati, 8:45am in Tamil, 10am in English, 11am festal Mass in Kannada by Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ, Bishop of Diocese of Shimoga. At 1:15pm Mass in Konkani, 2:30pm healing adoration by Yesusparsha Team. 4pm Mass in Kannada, 5pm Solemn procession and 8pm Mass in Kannada.

In the evening the chariot decorated with Chrysanthemum was blessed by Rev. Fr George K A, Rector and Parish Priest at 5:00pm and was taken in procession in the prominent streets of Harihar town. As the procession moved people belonging to the other religions stood on either side to have a Darshan of the Mother and receive blessings. The roads were cleaned and decorated with rangoli.

Thousands of devotees received the special graces and blessings showered on them and their families through the Devotion of Mother Mary.

Lakhs of devotees of Mother Mary flocked together with all their petitions and thanksgiving for the favours they received.
Rev. Fr Duming Dias was the convener of the feast. Rev. Fr Roman Pinto and Rev. Fr Pius D'Souza were the Emcees, Rev. Fr Venil D'Silva and Rev. Fr Lawrence D'Souza were incharge of the liturgy. Rev. Fr Regi SDB led the choir.

Rev. Fr George K. A, Rector of Our Lady of Health Basilica, thanked all those who helped in making thus feast a success.

On September 9th & 10th celebration of Holy Eucharist will be celebrated in Kannada at 8:00am, 11:00am, 3pm & 6pm for the intentions of the people living in the vicinity.

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