Attur, Karkala: The holy shrine of St. Lawrence church located in Atturu, has been given the status of “Minor Basilica”. The programme for official proclamation and dedication of this title is being celebrated today. Large numbers of devotees are visiting Atturu to witness this historic event.
In 257 AD on August 10, St. Lawrence was martyred by Roman Empire Valerian. He was severely persecuted and he lost his life for Jesus’ sake.
After consulting with the priest’s committee Most Rev.Fr.Dr.Jerald Isac Lobo, the bishop of Udupi diocese decided to select this same day for the festive proclamation and dedication
This is the second shrine to get this status in the State after St. Mary’s Basilica in Bengaluru
About 15,000 devotees were witness to the historical event of the St. Lawrence Shrine being proclaimed as a minor basilica here on Monday. This is the second minor basilica in the State, the first being St. Mary’s Basilica at Shivajinagar in Bengaluru, which was proclaimed over four decades ago.
A large number of devotees started arriving to the shrine early in the morning from different parts of Udupi and Mangaluru dioceses, besides other places. By 9.30 a.m., the venue for the religious function and stage programme was packed to the capacity.
The solemn proclamation and dedication of the shrine as minor basilica was done during the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharistic celebration began at 10 a.m. with the procession of priests followed by bishops and cardinals.
In his introductory remarks, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, the chief celebrant of the Holy Eucharist, said that the elevation of the shrine of St. Lawrence to a minor basilica was an honour not only for Udupi Diocese but also to the State and the country. St. Lawrence, who was regarded as the “saint of miracles,” would shower his blessings on his devotees, he said.
Then, Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, Major Archbishop-Catholicos of the Syro Malankara Catholic Church, Thiruvananthapuram, read the Proclamation Decree in Latin language. Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of Udupi Diocese, read the same Decree in Konkani. After the Proclamation, the choir sang the “Gloria” hymn.
Prior to the solemn Eucharistic Mass, George D’Souza, Rector of the Shrine, conducted the Novena service in preparation for the titular feast of St. Lawrence to be celebrated on August 10.
In his homily, Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bengaluru, said that the elevation of St. Lawrence Shrine to the status of minor basilica and its dedication was both a historic and spiritual event.
Tracing the evolution of basilicas in Rome to the time of Emperor Constantine, he said there were 1,740 minor basilicas across the world of which 22 were in India, including the newly proclaimed St. Lawrence Minor Basilica.
Explaining the life and martyrdom of St. Lawrence, he said that the martyr lived according to the main theme of the Gospel of the day, that is, a grain of wheat will yield in abundance if it falls in the soil and dies. He also explained the characteristics and privileges of a minor basilica.
Nearly 200 priests and 15 bishops along with three cardinals concelebrated the Holy Eucharist. Mar George Cardinal Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church, Ernakulam, and Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop of Mangaluru, were among those present.
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