By the 16th century, hundreds of Portuguese families had settled in Santhome and influenced the architectural style of many of the city's buildings. D...


Season of giving: This Christmas be...

Chennai: It’s easy to miss the message for the sales pitch; Christmas has after all, becomeoneof the market’ssweet seasons. But rising determinedly ab...


How Francis became THE POPE OF HOPE...

The Vicar of Christ is preaching the Gospel, in word and deed He is everywhere. The Pope, that is. On the cover of magazines. As Person of the Year...


Our Lady of Assumption Church, Kama...

All are welcome at Our Lady of Assumption Church, Puthumainagar, Kamanayakkanpatti. We, as the devotees of Holy Mary & faithful followers of Jesu...


By the 16th century, hundreds of Portuguese families had settled in Santhome and influenced the architectural style of many of the city’s buildings. DR S SURESH writes about the vestiges of the culture

Son after Vasco da Gama’s unique sea voyage from Europe to Kerala in 1498, the Portuguese began to establish colonies in many places almost throughout India. In the early 16th century, they began to rule the Santhome-Mylapore region, long before the British founded the modern city of Madras in 1639. Indeed, Santhome was the first place, in the entire Coromandel Coast, to be colonised by a European power.

By the year 1582, hundreds of Portuguese families had settled in Santhome. Around the year 1660, the Portuguese built a fort around the settlement. It is said that this fortified town was almost twice the size of the English settlement within Fort St George.


The Portuguese exercised profound influence on the history and architecture of our city. According to some scholars, the very name Madras was derived from Madera, the surname of a well-known affluent Portuguese family that once lived in Santhome. The family had friendly contacts with the British officers in Fort St George. The Portuguese fort at Santhome was one of the earliest forts built by the Europeans in the whole of India.

The Portuguese built scores of palatial houses throughout Santhome. Many of these houses, especially those closer to the sea, were surrounded by large gardens. Some of these houses are still in existence. They also constructed several churches in Mylapore-Santhome. These are among the earliest churches built by the Europeans in the whole of South Asia. Among them, the oldest and the most important is the Luz Church located on Kennedy Street in Mylapore. The church is dedicated to ‘Our Lady of Light’, Luz meaning ‘light’ in Portuguese. It was built in the early 16th century by a Franciscan monk named Fryer Pedro de Atongia. This vaultroofed church is designed in the shape of a cross. The front façade displays decorative pilasters and carvings and is topped by conical finials and a cross. The structure is mainly built of brick and lime. The ceiling above the altar exhibits gorgeous paintings. The floor tiles are believed to have been imported from Italy.

Yet another Portuguese church is the Rosary Church or the Church of the Holy Rosary on Rosary Church Road. Built in 1635, the church is particularly known for its ornate front façade exhibiting Ionic and Composite columns surmounted by a pediment. The square-shaped altar is approached through a large semi-circular opening. The altar is lit from above through the clearstorey windows below the massive octagonal dome.

Many people living in Chennai are unaware that the Portuguese had a special attachment to the famous Santhome Church on Santhome High Road. This church was originally built in the 1st century AD. The Portuguese extensively renovated and expanded this church. A major renovation took place around the year 1606. This Portuguese edifice was replaced by the present Neo-Gothic style structure, erected by the British in the year 1896.

The writer is Tamil Nadu state convener, INTACH

Source: Times of India  |  January 11, 2014

Search Keywords: Portuguese Connect Chennai, Portuguese Chennai, Portuguese church Chennai, Portuguese in Santhome, Vasco da Gama Chennai, santhome Church Chennai, Luz Church Chennai, Our Lady of Light, Mylapore Santhome, Rosary Church Chennai

Season of giving: This Christmas be a Santa for someone

Chennai: It’s easy to miss the message for the sales pitch; Christmas has after all, becomeoneof the market’ssweet seasons. But rising determinedly above store calls to self-indulgence and pampering one’s family with inessentials, can be heard a quiet appeal to reach out also to one’s community. It’s a message sent out by churches and organisations in Chennai, intent on returning to the originative values of the festival like charity and kindness.


At St Theresa’s Church, Nungambakkam,for example, parish priest Fr Lawrence Raj hasbeen entreating parishioners to contribute to the annual Christmas hamper effort they’ve been running for five years. Each hamper – containing a live hen, rice, lentils and other comestibles–sells at 500 and will be offered to a impoverished family of any faith. “The Society of St Vincent de Paulidentifies around300families and we supply them the hampers on December 24 morning so they can prepare a Christmas meal the next day,” saysFr Lawrence.

The church also collects packets of food cooked by parishioners on Christmas morning – a portion of eachfamily’s own feast – and the church youth fan out, delivering the food to the homeless. “Each year wecollectbetween 1,000to 1,500 packets,” Fr Lawrence says, pointing outthatthiswill help people remember that Christmas is the feast of sharing, notjustconsuming.

St Mathias Church at AshokNagar hashitupon an innovative campaign, ‘Be a Star this Christmas’. The parish Christmas tree will be mounted with dozens of stars, each inscribed with particulars of items neededby the poor ofthe parish, from food to stationery or clothes.People areinvitedto pick a star and donate the itemslistedon it. “Stars arethe need of the season,” says Fr Anthony Das, parish priest of this Capuchin order, calling to mindthe Star of Bethlehem.

Social outreach has long been central to the Christmas programme, in both religious and secular circles with parties and gift-giving organised in socialinstitutions.However, efforts that rally a community or neighbourhood to partake in collective outreach have yet to pick up. While most of these initiatives are taken up by churches,some are alsofielded by community organisations like the newspaper ‘Mylapore Times’.

Aboutfive years ago,editor Vincent D’Souza established a tradition which, by nature of its practice, became a vehicle for aid. He brought Santa Claus back to Mylapore. “We wanted to rekindle the simple joys of gifting; despite the age we’re in, people still believe in Santa Claus,” says D’Souza. This is how it plays out: on December 21 and 22, ‘Mylapore Times’ takes Santa Claus aroundthe neighbourhood, accompanied by three young members from St Bede’s Band who strike up a medley of festive tunes. The entourage drops off gifts (that had been deposited at the ‘Mylapore Times’ office the previous week) to children and adults. They venture into bylanes and up anddown buildingstodeliver the goods,someof which are marked out for residents of old age homes and other disenfranchised quarters of society, all anonymously sponsored. “We used to make our rounds from 5.30pm to 10pm in an open-top car, but then drunks would invariably want to join the party,” says D’Souza, adding that they’ve switched to safer modes of transport. As the editor emphasises, when youwantto pulloff something nice, youhavetoworkfor it.

Source: Times of india | Joeanna Rebello Fernandes TNN | Dec 22, 2013

How Francis became THE POPE OF HOPE

The Vicar of Christ is preaching the Gospel, in word and deed

He is everywhere. The Pope, that is. On the cover of magazines. As Person of the Year. As the subject of street corner discussions. As longform magazine stories. On meme boards. You get the idea.

The Pope’s mystique started on the night of his election, when he took a bus with the other cardinals, refusing to travel in the papal limousine. His plain white robes stood in stark contrast to the opulent trappings favoured by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. In his first media conference, he said that he wanted a “poor church, for the poor.”

When Time magazine pronounced Francis as the person of the year, Howard Chua-Eoan and Elizabeth Dias wrote, “But what makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all… In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church – the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world – above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors. John Paul II and Benedict XVI were professors of theology. Francis is a former janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and literature teacher.” Ron Fournier writing at The Atlantic looked to the Pope as a way for the American Republican Party to understand the virtues of “openness, populism, humility, and courage.” His pro-poor message was not a change in direction for the church, away from cultural issues like gay marriage, abortion or contraception, but a return to the core values of Christianity, argue several observers. And at a time when atheism has gained ground rapidly in the world, he has made Catholic Christianity cool again, writes Jeremiah Jacques at

He’s now the most discussed person on the Internet. Reddit loves him. Francis memes have exploded since his papacy began. And his name is the most popular in Argentina for baby boys.



The pope condemns trickle-down economics and warns against the “idolatry of money”

The pope washes the feet of prisoners, including women and Muslims

Francis stuns the world when he tells a reporter “Who am I to judge them?” when asked about gays. Gay rights magazine The Advocate named Francis Person of the Year

APOSTLE OF CHANGE: Leading by example, words and actions

Source: Times of India | December 22, 2013   Photo Courtesy: Corbis

Our Lady of Assumption Church, Kamanayakkanpatti, Tuticorin

All are welcome at Our Lady of Assumption Church, Puthumainagar, Kamanayakkanpatti.

We, as the devotees of Holy Mary & faithful followers of Jesus Christ, create, nurture, and maintain a community of love through worship, reconciliation, healing, formation, education and service.

Through Chronological liturgical and Eucharist, we seek the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit, embracing the love of our Creator in each thought, word and action.

As humble servants of God, we remain faithful to the teachings of the Holy, Roman Catholic Church; waiting in joyful hope for our Lord’s coming.

Our Lady of Assumption Church


Kamanayakkanpatti played an important part in the former Madurai Mission and might be considered as the Mother Church for the southern region. It was also the center of evangelization in the Tirunelveli inland territory at the end of the 17th and 18th centuries. It had covered up Srivilliputhur (north-west), Vadakkankulam (south), Tenkasi (South-west) and the inland areas in the East.

In 1664 Fr. Freyre visited this area and found that there were Christians already here. In 1684, a small church was built by Rev. Fr. John De Britto, when he visited and made this place as the center for the missionary activities. Fr. Xavier Porgheese was the first parish priest who resided here and administered the Sacraments.It was the first time that K.N.P. was mentioned in the records of the history.Around the year 1690, it is said that a girl fell into an open well and died, while the parents and the villagers pleaded to Our Lady, she was miraculously brought back to life. Fr. Beschi came over during 1712-1715 and stayed here to learn the local language. It was at this time that he inculturated the Christian faith into the Indian culture. It was at his time that the Church was named as the Our Lady of Assumption.

In 1728 the Church was several times visited by thieves and plundered the village. It is said that a thief, stealing the image of Our Lady and was about to carry it away, when all on a sudden, he became blind. Around 1748 the old Church of K.N.P. was completely burnt down by some evil forces against the Christian faith, yet the statue of Our Lady remained unstained and was saved. Though it was a time of severe famine, the Christians rebuilt it against the thought of their enemies and with divine providence. Fr. Lawrence de Almeyda in charge of Mannargudi or Mannarcoil, falling sick on his way to the Coast, died at K.N.P, on the first of February 1748 after receiving the last sacraments. He was known as Rajendra swami, and his tomb can be seen even today at K.N.P.

There was an interval of 82 years from 1756 to 1838. During this time there were no priests, sacraments, Eucharist.etc, yet people stood firm in their faith by their popular devotion to Our Lady, with the help of the local catechists. Then Fr. Alexander Martin, known as Visuvasanandarswami accompanied by Fr. Mousset M.E.P., was the first Jesuit to visit K.N.P. Both celebrated the feast of the Assumption in 1838. Fr. Alexander was firm in removing the discrimination on the basis of caste and getting settled in the beginning of the twentieth century. After him Fr. J. Maria Dass extended the Church and built the present one with much elegance and style. It has a beautiful sanctuary, altar and stands on twelve pillars signifying the twelve apostles.

As the beginning of the jubilee year (325) and an honor to Our Lady, the ROSARY GARDEN was built with leading of Rev.Fr. Arulambrose (2005-2010) and it is convenient for people to pray the rosary at all times. It is slowly gaining its lost importance. This parish is known all over for its significant and unique devotions to Our Lady called “Kumbidu Sevai”, which tells the emptiness of human before God. This has got very many cultural impacts among the people and still holds the faith of the people. This is the first place where the practice of Car procession was introduced by Fr. Beschi.

Now many people flock to this place of grace and also experience the hand of God in their prayers and give thanks to God the Almighty through Our Lady. Last year, this mission has celebrated 325th jubilee year, many are visiting and honoring Our Mother. People from all over the country come over here through out the year and worship Our Lady.


Liturgical Timings:

Daily Services:
6.00 am – Morning Prayer and Holy Mass
7.00 pm – Rosary and evening Prayers

Weekly services:
All Saturdays:
12.30 am – Holy Mass for pilgrims.
7.00 pm – Rosary and Novena prayers
7.30 pm – Holy Mass, Benediction
All Sundays:
8.00 am Holy Mass, Benediction

Monthly Services:
First Friday:
7.00 pm – Rosary, Holy hour, Holy Mass, Adoration
IInd, IVth Sunday:
5.30 am – Holy Mass,
10.30 am – Holy Mass for Children (IInd Sunday only)
IVth Saturday:
7.00 pm – Rosary, Novena prayers at Rosary Garden
7.30 pm – Holy Mass at Rosary Garden
8.30 pm – Car Procession from Rosary Garden to Shrine
9.00 pm – Benediction
10.00 pm – “ Muzhu Nizhavu Vizha” at Rosary Garden
12.00 pm – Holy Mass at Rosary Garden

Our Lady of Assumption Church,

Duraiyur (Via),
Tuticorin (Thoothukudi) – District,
Tamilnadu, India.
Pin code – 628720.
Tel: +91 4632 244229, +91 4632 244230

For more information please visit:

Villianur Madha Shrine, Pondicherry


In the whole of Tamilnadu, the ancient place of Our Lady of Lourdes in Villianur. The presence of this Shrine is the pride of the Pondicherry state. The people of Pondicherry have got great affection to this place. This is the centre of religious unity, tolerance, Co- operation and integration. With the social and religious leaders of Villianur, we’re having a “Council for Human rights, Values andrespect” which works for the solidarity among the people of various caste, creed, religious and social states. And the arch-diocese of Pondicherry is proud to have this a shrine in its territory.And we are blessed with this Shrine. Our Ladyeally lives here and protects the people who come here.

We have got at Villianur the three important religious centers, Sutthanpet mosque for Muslims, temple of Shiva for Hindus and Our Lady of Lourdes for Christians. During the feast of each centre all the religious people co- operate without considering their religious differences

So I feel centres like this should be developed in the right manner with due infrastructure for the welfare of the people of this country.

So I invite your suggestions, co-operation and helps to construct this Shrine in the fruitful manner.

Villianur Madha Shrine - 1

Church History:

In 1867, the MEP missionaries of Pondicherry wished to build a Chapel at Villianur which is 13 Kilometers away from Pondicherry on the road to Villupuram. Hence the diocese has bought a piece of land at Villianur and Rev.Fr.Gou on, they procurator of the Pondicherry mission after a long negotiation with the Hindu temple authorities of Thirukameswarer Gogilambigai Temple.started to build a Chapel at Kanuvapet on the outskirts of Villianur, with the amount of the thanksgiving offering of Dr.Lephine’s family for the miraculous cure of his daughter in exchange.

It has taken atleast 10 years to complete the Chapel. And Rev.Fr.Tharbes a cousine brother of Bernadette, the visionary of Lourdes, was appointed as the Parish Priest of Villianur mission. Since he had a direct report of the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes And this seems to be the first in the world to be named after Our Lady of Lourdes outsid Lourdes, France. Added to that one pious Lady has paid for a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and made it come from Lourdes under the direct supervision of Bernadette. It was on the 4th April 1877 the statue arrived at Pondicherry and was taken to the Cathedral after the three dangerous falls of the box containing the Holy Mother’s Statue.

To everybodys amaze, the statue was intact and beautiful. And during the Statue’s stay at the Cathedral, a pious man called Thambusamy Mudaliyar, a native of Kumbakonam who was on his way to Chennai for the surgical intervention for the extra growth of flesh on his left eye, who I has prayed to Our Lady of Lourdes and was cured by a vision of Our Lady of Lourdes during a dream at the same night about 3 am This attracted a lot of crowd to the Cathedral and so the missionaries sent the statue soon to Villianur, on the 7th of April itself.

After some hurdles, Our Lady of Lourdes statue chose her own way to come to Villianur on the 7th April. From that time onwards people in thousands began to flock Villianur to have the vision of this statue and get cured of all their infirmities.

It was in 1885 the arch bishop Laouenan went to Rome and reported the numerous miracles that took place in this Shrine to the Holy Father and got permission on February 21st, 1886 to declare this as an official Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Villianur and to crown the statue in his name.

On his return from Rome, on 8th May 1886 during a grand celebration, witnessed by around 40,000 people during the pontifical high mass the arch bishop crowned the miraculous statue in the name of the pope Leo XIII and declared this church as the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Villianur and attached permanent plenary indulgences to this shrine.

Sacred Pond

There was a natural pond in front of the chapel. it was once used as the water reservoir for the irrigation of the lands around and water came from the big Oosudu lake which is 10 Kms away from here. And this pond was constructed by Rev.Fr.Lesbond, the Parish Priest, with donations from Zigon Organised by Mr.Lesage. And Mr.Larocgue from the people in Zigon got a statue fro Lourdes and in 1924 and asolemn ceremony took place to install the statue in the middle of the sacred pond after the due consecration of the statue and the pond. Many take this water to their houses to cure their diseases and to have fortune in their lives. And this is the only Catholic church in the whole of Asia having a sacred pond in front of the church. This is one of the added reasons why people flock around this shrine in crowds.

The grotto

19 years after Our Lady’s apparition at Lourdes, the first church and grotto for Our Lady of Lourdes was constructed in 1877. The centenary celebrations was celebrated on September 10th 1977. The procession was the highlight of the celebration. All the credit goes to Rev.Fr.Duissen.He is the one who planned for one big grotto out side the church. The grotto which was inside the church modified according to the instruction of Second Vatican conference. To the remembrance of the centenary celebrations, one big grotto was erected in the garden, which is consecrated by Most. Rev.Seivanather on 10.10.1978.

Important Dates in the Growth of the Shrine

4.4.1877 – The statue of Our Lady is send to Villianur by Bernadette. It shares the importance that it was the first statue that as send to India from Lourdes.
7.4.1877 – The Statue was taken in procession to Villianur from Pondicherry.
8.4.1877 – Mgr.Laouenan blessed the statue and placed it in the grotto.The first church & grotto for Our Lady of Lourdes in ,India was established.
1885 – Mgr.Laouenan went to Rome to say about importance Villianur to the Pope.
21.2.1886 – Pope Leo All granted permission to bless the statue in His name.In Asia only few statues are crowned by Pope. The statue at Villianur is one among them.
8.5.1886 – The statue was crowned, and permanent plenary indulgence attached, declared as Our Lady of Lourd Shrine.
1896 – In Villianur, Novena prayer & car procession were introduced.
1908 – The Golden Jubilee of apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes was celebrated and a prayer hall constructed in the garden.
1924 – The statue which is in the middle of pond brought from France. Villianur is the only Shrine having pond in front of the church in South India
16.4.1979 – The death anniversary of St.Bemadette was celebrated and a stall was opened after her name.
30.1.1980 – The mysteries of Rosary was painted in front of the grotto III street gate.
11.2.1980 – Villianur Vidrvelli a monthly magazine was published.
30.4.1982 – The grotto inside the chapel remodeled in accordance with the one at Lourdes.
25.12.1983 – Villianur Madha film was produced.


This Church has a significant place in the history of the Catholic Church as the First Church in the World, other than that is in Lourdes – France, to be dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.

The devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes in Asia in general and in India in particular has its roots in Villianur.

1866-1877: Rev.Fr. TARBES, M.E.P., the cousin brother of St. Bernadette, constructed the Church.


The Grotto, located inside the Church, shares the same privilege with the Church as the First in the world other than that is at Lourdes, France.


The natural ‘Sacred Pond’ which is in front of the Church, depicts the native culture and is unique to Our Shrine.

1924 – A beautiful statue of Our Lady of Lourdes brought from France was erected at the centre of the Sacred Pond.


This miraculous Statue was the workmanship of the same sculptor who sculpted the Statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Lourdes Grotto, France.

This Statue was made under the direct supervision of St. Bernadette.

Though the Box containing the miraculous statue (6 Feet tall) had met with three dangerous falls on its way, to everyone’s amaze, it was found intact and beautiful emanating splendid fragrance of rose.

1886: This Statue was crowned by His Holiness Pope Leo XIII and the Church was declared a SHRINE.


As a sign of gratitude to Our Lady of Villianur, for saving the city from a cyclone, the first pilgrimage on foot (12 Km.) took place on October 10, 1977 from Pondicherry and this beautiful tradition is still continued on the II Saturday in the month of October.


2009: The Stations of the Cross were constructed around the ‘Sacred Pond’.


As the existing Church could not accommodate the growing number of pilgrims, a new Church is planned with the approval of our Archbishop Most. Rev.Dr.Antony Anandarayar. The construction of the new Church is scheduled to begin at the earliest. Therefore, we solicit your generous contribution.


Kindly send your Donations or Contributions by way of M.O., Cheque, or D.D. drawn in favor of PARISH PRIEST, LOURDES SHRINE, VILLIANUR.

You may directly deposit or wire your contribution to the following bank account:
Syndicate Bank (Villianur Branch) S.B. A/C No: 96032200014209 (Swift Code: SYNBINBBA031).

N.B.: The names of those who donate Rs.50,000/- and more will be engraved in the Church.


This Shrine is around 135 years old. During this period, this Shrine has developed slowly in various dimensions. Now a days , it attracts more crowds. The sacred pond attracts more people of various religions. Very specially people go around the pond on their knees and pray for their intensions. They do it for 9 consecutive first Saturdays or ordinary Saturdays. And they feel the power of God working in them and the protection of Our Lady in their lives.

Villianur Madha Shrine - 3

So it is our intention that some sacramental prayer services and Benediction can be arranged eventually around this Sacred Pond. So we have planned a model for the reconstruction of this pond by which people can sit around and the priest can preach and bless the people from the center of the pond. This needs a heavy investment which is worth spending in view of the abundant divine graces and favors which will be procured by the thousands of Indian people.
In this present Indian social situation of religious intolerance, extremism, dissentions and rivalries, this kind of Shrines and its spiritual activities can be a source of unity, religious tolerance and integration in the Indian society.

The second grand project in the future will be a construction of a big Basilica here. In future this Shrine will be gathering enormous crowds of people and the Shrine has to equip itself to accommodate the people. So we need a beautiful Basilica.

Also we are planning to have a home for the old aged and abandoned people. To get alms from the devotees and the pilgrims many abandoned old people come from many places of Tamil Nadu and stay around the shrine in the streets. It is our duty also to take care of them. So the Shrine also wants to construct a home for the aged and abandoned.


The event that attracted the attention of the world in the 19th century was the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes, France. These apparitions have taken place in 1858 in between 11th February to 16th July. Mother Mary appeared to a young girl Bernadette 18 times from the grotto called Massabielle and revealed her name as The Immaculate Conception and invited people of all nations to come to Lourdes on pilgrimage.

Villianur Madha Shrine - 2

And Our Lady worked the miracle of the spring which still continues to flow for more than a century and the water of which cures thousands of people suffering from various diseases.

This historical place and the apparitions are the sources of inspiration to our shrine of Our Lady of Villianur. At the resemblance of the sacred spring at Lourdes, our shrine also has got a sacred pond in which we have water all throughout the year. Once in a year when we clean the water and let the fresh water in, we usually make arrangements to bring water from the spring of Lourdes and mingle it here. Lots of people take this water home to use it for the cure of the disease and dispel the evil sprits from the house, fields, work spots, offices and workshops etc.


St. Mary’s Cottage (Orphanage) run by the Shrine caters to the education of Orphans, Semi- Orphans, destitute and Poor Students. It is a pathetic situation that there are many children, who have lost one or both of their parents, have no source and encouragement for education. We have to admit the fact that these children, who are neglected at their childhood, become ferocious, and indulge in offensive activities when they grow up.

We aim at modification of their behaviour, all round development of their personality and hope in life. We admit eligible students irrespective of cast, creed and religion. Right now we have 40 students in our Orphanage this year. We take care of all their needs, supply uniforms, writing materials like notebooks, pen, pencil, eraser etc. We are proud to state that many students who studied in this orphanage have secured good jobs and well settled in life. Three students have become priests so far and few work as Teachers in various schools.



Week Days:
6:00 a.m – Mass

6:00 a.m, 11:30 a.m, 6:00 p.m

I Saturday:
5:30 a.m, 6:45 a.m, 11:30 a.m – Mass
6:00 p.m – Mass & Car Procession

6:00 a.m, 7:30 a.m – Mass
5:30 p.m – Mass & Car Procession

FLAG HOISTING – The Saturday after Easter Sunday.
FEAST – The 15th day after Easter Sunday i.e. III Sunday of Easter Season.

II Saturday in the month of October
2.00 p.m – Pilgrim Walk starts from the Cathedral, Pondicherry.
5.30 p.m – Mass at Villianur.


Ph : 0413-2666363, Cell : +919443091523
E-mail : ,

For more information please visit:

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Search Keywords: Villianur Madha Shrine Pondicherry, Villianur Madha Shrine Pondy, Shrine Of Our Lady Of Lourdes Villianur, Villianur Madha Church, Villianur Church, Our Lady of Villianur, Villianur Madha, Madha Church Pondicherry, Madha Church Villianur, Roman Catholic Churches in Pondicherry, Catholic Churches in Pondicherry, RC Churches in Pondicherry, Roman Catholic Church in India, Churches in Pondicherry, Villianur Catholic Church, Pondy Church, Catholic Churches in Pondy.

Diocese of Dindigul

The diocesan territory stretches over a land area of 6,266 square kilometers and covers the civil district of Dindigul. Dindigul and Palani are the largest towns in the diocese.

The total population in the diocesan area was 1,923,014 as of the end of 2005. Tamils form the majority ethnic group here.

Political structure:
Towns are governed by municipalities, while villages and small towns are administered by local bodies called Panchayats.

The per capita income in the diocesan territory is 18,983 rupees (US$408 as of August 2006). Agriculture, especially paddy cultivation, is done extensively. Dindigul is also famous for its locks and tanneries.

Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities in the diocesan area. The diocese enjoys local cable TV networks.

Tamil and English are the languages used.

The diocesan area is well connected in terms of roads and railways. The nearest airport is in Madurai, the second largest city in the state of Tamil Nadu.

The literacy rate here is 69.35 percent.

About Diocese:

The Holy Father, John Paul II, erected the new Diocese of Dindigul on November 10, 2003 bifurcating the diocese of Tiruchirapalli and Most. Rev. Antony Pappusamy was installed at the first Bishop of the diocese on December 28, 2003.

Dindigul the 17th diocese in Tamilnadu consists of 37 parishes. In addition to 31 parishes from Tiruchirapalli, 6 parishes were carved out of Madurai Archdiocese and added to the new Dindigul diocese. And there are 56 diocesan priests working in 3 Vicariates which are, Dindigul consisting of 8 parishes, Kosavapatty consiting of 8 parishes and Panjampatty consisting of 11 parishes. After the erection of the diocese 3 more parishes have been created anew. The geographical area of the newly formed Dindigul Diocese is almost co-extensive with the civil administrative area of the Dindigul District in the South Indian State of Tamilnadu. The enumerated catholic population is 1,03,049.

After the death of Bishop Canoz at the age of 83 in 1888, Msgr. John Barthe, S.J. who was consecrated the Bishop of Tiruchirapalli. In 1914, when Bishop Barthe resigned, Msgr. Augustine Faisandier, S.J. who had been his Coadjutor from 1909 succeeded him. In 1923, a portion of the Fishery Coast with 70,000 Catholics was detached from Tiruchirapalli diocese to form the new diocese of Tuticorin and was entrusted to the care of the Diocesan clergy with Msgr. Tiburtius Roche, S.J. as its first Bishop. After the death of Msgr. Augustine Faisandier, S.J. in 1935, Msgr. John Peter Leonard, S.J. was appointed Bishop of Tiruchirapalli in 1936.


In !938, on the centenary year of the New Madurai Mission, the diocese was again divided. The diocese of Tiruchirapalli retained the five civil taluks of Palani, Dindigul, Kulithalai, Tiruchi and Kolathur with a Catholic population of 98,000 with Msgr. James Mendonca as the First Diocesan Bishop of Tiruchi. The rest of the old diocese with 1,60,0000 Catholics was erected as the new diocese of Madurai with Msgr. J.P.Leonard, S.J. as its first Bishop. Fifteen years later in 1953 Madurai diocese was raised to the status of an Archdiocese with Tiruchi, Tuticorin and Kottar as its suffragan Dioceses.

At the time of bifurcation of Madurai Archdiocese from Tiruchirapalli, the Dindigul town and the church in Mettupatti, though still in the Madurai district, remained part of the Tiruchirapalli diocese. Bishop James Mendonca found his diocese large enough to launch the idea of dividing it. Again this idea got strengthened under his successors Bishops Thomas Fernando who was the Apostolic Admistrator of Tiruchirapalli and the division was finally decided by the Holy See during the time of Bishop Antony Devotta on Nov.10, 2003.

Bishop Antony Pappusamy:

Bishop Antony Pappusamy was born on Oct. 1, 1949 in Marambady in Dindigul diocese. He was ordained a priest on July 7, 1976, and ordained Titular Bishop of Zaba on Feb. 4, 1999. He was appointed the first Bishop of Dindigul on Nov. 10, 2003. He was the auxiliary bishop of Madurai Archdiocese before becoming the bishop of Dindigul. He is the chairman of Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council’s commission for Clergy and Religious.

For information or donation contact
Bishop’s House, P.B. No: 62 St.Joseph’s Cathedral Campus, Dindigul – 62400. Tamilnadu, India.
PHONE: 0451-2441405, 2436712 FAX : 0451-2424405


Search Keyword: Diocese of Dindigul, Dindigul Diocese, Diocesan Directory, Bishop Antony Pappusamy, Dindigul, TamilNadu, Catholic Churches in Chennai, Churches in Chennai, Shrines in Chennai, Catholic Churches, Tamil Holy Bible, Holy Bible in tamil, Tamil Bible Online, Christian Songs, Christian Songs in Tamil

St Lourde’s Church, Trichy.

The Our Lady of Lourdes Church is located in the city of Tiruchirapalli in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The Roman Catholic Basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Lourdes.


The CAUVERY with its ceaseless and bounteous flow and the ROCKFORT with its timeless history seem to converge imperceptibly in the divine precincts of the hallowed CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF LOURDES at the heart of ST.JOSEPH’S COLLEGE.

St.Joseph’s College church completed in A.D. 1895 JESUIT FATHERS presents a fascinating study of contrasting styles for a connoisseur of architecture as it is a replica of our Lady of Lourdes church – France.

Fr.Celle,S.J. Suggested the Gothic Style of architecture with its penchant for the pointed arch – the church top rises 62 feet above the nave.

Fr.Louis Garnier,S.J. Adopted the Norman style of architecture, with massive walls, round pillars and topped arches.

1890 – Construction work started
1895 – Foundation work completed
1903 – Completed and Blessed
1996 – Renovation work started
1998 – Renovation work completed & Blessed
1999 – Way of the Cross Erected & Blessed


St Lourdes Church Trichy 1

Statue of our lady at the entrance
“My Soul Magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”


- 5 Statues of Great Saints in the middle of the Tower.
- The Gothic Tower filled with artistic petal like flowers and dolls in the shape of pet animals.
- The Chimney Bell at a height of 90 feet.
- Colourful stained glass windows depicting the life of Jesus, Jesuit Saints and Evangelists.
- Grotto of our Heart of Jesus on the right side and grotto of our Lady on the left side at the entrance.
- 14 stations of the Way of the Cross on the inner church road.

St Lourdes Church Trichy 2

The Church on a Feast day illuminated with Lights

St Lourdes Church Trichy 3

The Holy ALTAR

St Lourdes Church Trichy 4

The inner view of the church



MORNING – 5.30 am & 6.30 am
EVENING – 6.30 pm

MORNING – 5.15 am, 6.15 am & 7.30 am
EVENING – 6.30 pm

Thursdays – 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm – Charismatic prayer service
Fridays – 6.00 pm – Special novena for the Sacred Heart
Saturdays – 6.00 pm – Rosary, litany, special mass of our Lady of Lourdes

10.00 am to 1.00 pm – Evangelistic prayers for the power of the Holy Spirit.
6.00 pm – Exposition of the various books of the Bible

Novena, Special Mass, Car Procession in and around Mainguard Gate

Patron of the College

The Founder of the Society of Jesus

Patron of the Missions

Way of the Cross – Daily (abbreviated)
Special Way of the Cross on Fridays
Retreat for specific groups

Special Holy Week Services

Devotion to Our Lady : Rosary, Litany and Special Mass
Daily Car Procession within the Campus
Saturdays : Car Procession around the College road and Special Mass on 31st May

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will be celebrated in a special way.


Christmas – Carol Services, Special Mass on X’mas Day


Mary our mother
Bless you and your family abundantly &
Grant you the showers of her loving kindness


Contact Us:
Our Lady of Lourdes Church,
St. Joseph’s College Campus,
Tiruchirapalli (Trichy), Tamil Nadu. INDIA.

For more information Please visit:,_Tiruchirapalli


Photo Courtesy / Source:
Photos by Nicola e Pina India 2010


Keywords: Our Lady of Lourdes, Church of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, St Lourde’s Church Trichy, St Lourde’s Church Tiruchirapalli, Our Lady of Lourdes basilica, Our Lady of Lourdes Church Tiruchirapalli, St. Joseph’s College Church, Trichy Church, Roman Catholic Churches in Trichy, RC Churches in Trichy, Roman Catholic Church in India, Churches in Tiruchirappalli district.

Ransom Church, Kanyakumari

Our lady of Ransom Church

The Kanyakumari Parish almost coincides with the civil village of Kanyakumari. Archeological evidences suggest that St. Thomas, a disciple of Jesus Christ visited this soil. In 1542 St. Francis Xavier came here. In 1862, Kanyakumari became a separate parish. In 1914 the church was constructed. The length of the Church is 153 feet, breath 53 feet and height is 153 feet. All these depict the breads of the Holy Rosary. The parish has nearly 13,000 people organized into 86 Basic Christian Communities.

History of Kanyakumari Parish

Kanyakumari village is situated in the District of Kanyakumari which is the southern most part of the Indian subcontinent. The Kanyakumari Parish almost coincides with the civil village of Kanyakumari. It is closely associated with the mainstream Catholic faith in India.

There were archeological evidences suggesting that St. Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ visited this soil. The tomb stones unearthed at Kumari Muttom, near Kanyakumari contain evidences to show that Catholics were living there for many centuries. The tomb stones dated 1496 contain the edict of the local ruler granting tax exemptions to the residents of Kumari Muttom and authorizing levy of a cess from the fishermen in Kumari Muttom. The aggregate income thus generated had to be used to keep the lights of the church burning.

The second inscription dated 1526 AD reads “on the twentieth day of the moth of Panguni king Siraval Muttambiranar was pleased to order Muttakangan and Illayakangan and others among the subjects living at the place of Muttom. We having been pleased to put a stop to riots, quarrels, injustice, tyranny, blackmail and confiscations of fish, they shall here after live here as in an asylum for the oppressed”.

In 1542 when St. Francis Xavier came to Cape Comerin (Kanyakumari) he was delighted to find ‘Our Lady of Delights Grotto’, at Kanyakumari. Then it became a center for mission activities of the Jesuits from Thoothoor to Ramanathapuram. It is believed that Our Lady of Delights Grotto, in which St. Francis Xavier worshiped, later became the church of Our Lady of Ransom. Our Lady of Ransom is the Patron of the congregation in Spain which redeemed the Christians from the Muslim invasion in the year 1218. The people of Kanyakumari were delighted to combine the name Ransom with Delight and call their patron as Alangara Upakara Matha. The wooden alter elegantly depicts the artistic Roman Art. This church remains part and parcel of the new church. The foundation stone for the new church was laid on 31st May 1900 by Rev. Fr. John Consolvez. Mr. Pakiam Pillai of the Vadakkankulam was the architect of the new church. It is the model of ancient Gothic Art and culture. The length of the new Church is 153 feet, breath 53 feet and height is 153 feet. All these depict the breads of the Holy Rosary.

In 1862 Kanyakumari was established as a separate parish and many eminent priests have served as parish priests of the church. In 1914 Msgr. Vincent Fdo celebrated the First Mass in the newly built Church. In 1956 Rev. Fr. Josaphath Maria completed the front elevation and the pinnacles. In 2006 the parish celebrated the golden jubilee of the erection of the golden cross and 106th year of laying foundation of the church.

At present Kanyakumari parish has 2,850 Catholic families, which are organised into 88 Basic Christian Communities. The total Number of the Catholics amounts to 12,839. There are 21 pious associations. The parish established an elementary school in the year 1882 and now 540 children are studying in the vernacular language. The parish has a Higher Secondary School established in the year 1921, where 1350 students are studying.

The spiritual life of the parishioners is well attended too under the able leadership of the parish priest. The co-pastors and a few guest priests constantly render spiritual services to the people. The Sunday Catechism is well organized, nearly 800 children attend the Sunday Catechism.

Tsunami which struck the coastal villages of Tamil Nadu on 26th December 2004 had great impact on Kanyakumari village too. Thanks to the Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Religious Organizations, other establishments and philanthropists for their great yeomen services in relief and rehabilitation of the tsunami affected people. A remarkable achievement is nearly 750 houses for the poor fishermen of Kanyakumari were established in addition to the support extended to reestablish their sources of livelihood.

The local catholic church at Kanyakumari is growing day by day in the love of Christ and ever pray for the blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ through the interceding of Alangara Upakara Matha.

History of the Flag Mast:

In 1917 a foreign merchant ship got struck to the sand shore of Leepuram, Kanyakumari. The strenuous efforts of the crew and other experts to restore it did not help them. Hence they decided to abandon the ship and went in for an auction.


One Mr. Kayathan Villavarayan a merchant from Tuticorin paid the highest bid and assumed the ownership of the abandoned ship. He had donated the iron mast to Our Lady of Ransom Church, Kanyakumari. The kattumarams of Kanyakumari were brought to Leepuram to take the mast to Kanyakumari. It is said that as soon as the mast was loaded on the kattumarams, the mast together with the kattaumarams sunk into the sea water. After a few minutes, the kattumarams and the mast began to float. The bye standers were astonished to see the grace of Our Lady of Ransom. Then they took the mast to Kanyakumari by road.

When the mast was taken to the church yard, another major difficulty was faced regarding the erection of the mast. They consulted the experts and engineers and came to the decision of inserting it into a hole cut out of a large stone. The stone cutters were approached and they searched for such a huge stone that could serve this particular purpose. In spite of rigorous search, they could not find out any suitable stone. It is believed that Our Lady of Ransom appeared to a stone cutter in dream and indicated the location of a suitable stone. The stone cutter accompanied by the people of Kanyakumari reached the location indicated and they were surprised to see a big stone, befitting the purpose.

They took the stone, made a bore hole and inserted the mast into it. To make the fitting more concrete and long lasting, they poured molted led and erected the mast.

Feast of Our Lady and the Golden Car Procession

Every year the feast of our Lady of Ransom is celebrated for 10 days in the month of December. The feast of Our Lady of Ransom begins with the flag hoisting on the following Friday immediately after the feast of St. Francis Xavier, Kottar which falls on 3rd of December. The first day of the feast begins with the flag hoisting. During the festivals, every day morning festival mass is celebrated and in the evening there will be benediction with special prayers and preaching. The eight day evening Corpus Christi Procession is held with due decorum. The ninth day evening special vespers and celebrations are held. The culmination of the feast is the golden car procession. There are two golden cars which are taken on the 9th and 10th days of the feasts. Our Lady of delight is taken in procession in the 1st car, which was made in the year 1798. St. Joseph, the spouse of Mary is taken in procession in the 2nd car, which was made in the year 1833. Like any other coastal village of Kottar diocese, the festival is celebrated with full spirit and all pomp and glory.

Mass & Prayer

Sunday: Holy Mass 5.30 am, 7.00 am and 4.00 pm

Week days: Holy Mass 6.15 am

First Friday: 
Rosary 6.30 pm
One hour Adoration from 7.00 to 8.00 pm

First Saturday:
Rosary 6 pm
Holy Mass 6.30 pm
Healing Prayers 7.30 pm
Benediction 8 pm

All other Saturdays:
Rosary 6 pm
Holy Mass 6.30 pm
Healing Prayers 7.30 pm

Our lady of Ransom church
Kanyakumari 629702
Tel: 04652-246323, 246295

For more information please visit:


Keyword: Ransom church Kanyakumari, Our lady of Ransom church, Kanyakumari Church, Catholic Churches, Roman Catholic Churches, RC Churches, Churches in Madurai, Churches in Tamilnadu, Churches in India

Thanjavur Diocese

A Brief History of the Diocese of Thanjavur

The Diocese of Thanjavur was created on November 22, 1952 through the papal bull “Ex Primaevae Ecclesiae” when it was bifurcated from the ancient See of Mylapore. It had to wait for four more months for the nomination of its new bishop. Most Rev. Dr.R.A.Sundaram, an illustrious son of the soil, was nominated the first Bishop of Thanjavur on February 4, 1953 and was consecrated at Chennai on 19th March 1953. It is interesting to note that in 1843 itself, the then Apostolic Prefect of Pondicherry, Msgr.Bonnand proposed that Thanjavur be erected an Apostolic Vicariate.

Thanjavur Diocese

Historical Notes

Mylapore had become a diocese in 1606 and was the third oldest diocese of India till it was amalgamated with Madras in 1952. Its jurisdiction extended from the present Diocese of Thoothukudi in Tamilnadu to what is now known as West Bengal. Many missionaries including Franciscans, Augustinians, Dominicans and Jesuits like Robert de Nobili (the Father of Tamil Prose), Balthasar da Costa (the founder of Thanjavur Mission), John de Britto (the first Jesuit saint in India), Antam de Proenca (whose Tamil Portuguese, Dictionary was the first of its kind to be printed) and Costanzo Giosseffo Beschi (fondly called by the Tamils Veeramamunivar, who was the author of the Tamil Catholic epic Thembavani, the first European scholar to scientifically study Tamil grammar and compose new Tamil grammar both in Tamil as well as in Latin and the first to compile a Tamil Tamil Dictionary called Saduragarathi) had toiled laboriously in the area presently covered by Thanjavur Diocese.

In 1570 Caesar Frederick, who visited Thanjavur, describes it as a great city and very populous of Portuguese and Christians of the country and many gentiles. The local Christians must have been settlers from the southern districts of Tamilnadu where Christianity was already established in 1536. Fr.Francisco do Oriente, O.F.M., who made an attempt in 1585 to found a church at Thanjavur was not permitted to do so by the Nayak of Thanjavur. The Nayak was not averse to Christians living in his kingdom but would not allow any missionary to work there or construct churches.

In the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries, though Thanjavur was mentioned as a parish or mission centre in the Annual letters of the Jesuits, the local princes, who were opposed to the Christian faith and often persecuted the Christians, did not allow the missionaries to stay and do their ministry there. Therefore the Catholics, living within the Thanjavur kingdom, had to go to priests residing in Nandavanampatti or Koonampatti or Elakurichi for their Christian obligations. Fr.Balthazar da Costa speaks about Nandavanampatti, for the first time, in his letter dated 29.10.1644. He preached the Gospel in that area, converted many and constructed a church there. Later he was able to enter Thanjavur Town, convert many and construct churches within the town itself. In 1654-56 there were 985 Catholics in Thanjavur, up from 180 in 1647. Soon Christian communities were formed in Vallam and Sellappanpatti.

Nandavanampatti and Koonampatti are presently substations of the Parish of Muthandipatti in our Diocese, while Elakurichi belongs to the Diocese of Kumbakonam and is a famous Marian Shrine of the area. Beschi mentions Koonampatti in many of his letters. There was until recently a small chapel, which, according to the Jesuit Annual Letter of 1667, was constructed by a local Catholic lady named Margaret during the time of Fr.Domingo de Almeida. It was known as the Chapel of Five Wounds and had a small presbytery attached to it. It has now been replaced by a new construction. The tombs of two Jesuit Priests are still found in the village tank. We are informed that the Marattas imprisoned two of the Jesuit missionaries, Fr. Joseph Carvalho and Fr.Charles Michael Bertholdi, a dear friend and compatriot of Beschi, at Vallam or Thanjavur and one of them, Fr.Carvalho died in prison in 1701. Fr.Emmanuel Machado was arrested at Vallam, spent about 23 months in prison and freed on 06-06-1717.

We first hear of Christians living in Nagappattinam when Ludovico de Varthema visited it in 1505 which was much before the Portuguese had settled there. When St.Francis Xavier stayed with the Vicar of Nagappattinam in 1545 on his way to Mylapore, the Portuguese were well established there. Nagappattinam had about 3000 Christians in 1577. The Franciscans were the only religious in the place till almost the very end of the 16th century. Later the Jesuits came in 1597 and started a college in 1618 which was preceded by a school in 1602. The Dominicans came there in 1604 and the Augustinians in 1625. The priests, who stayed in Nagappattinam, often visited the Catholics in Tranquebar, where a chapel, dedicated to the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, had been constructed around 1597. In 1620, Tranquebar had a resident priest. In 1642, there were five churches in Nagappattinam, administered by the Franciscans, Jesuits, Augustinians and Dominicans while the main church was always administered by a diocesan priest. Besides, the Franciscans ran a Mercy Home and a hospital there. By 1642, there were 7000 Christians above the age of seven in the town. In 17th Century, six persons born at Nagappattinam of Portuguese parents became Jesuits. A church, dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, was erected in Sathangudi, presently a substation of Tranquebar, in 1726.

Among the ancient missionary centres, now under the jurisdiction of Thanjavur, the following are to be mentioned: Pillavadanthai and Kozhai (both of which were served by St.John de Britto 1847), Mannargudi, Pattukkottai, Vedaraniam, and Kozhai near Palayamkottai (served by many Jesuits including St. John de Britto), Moolangudi (where, according to a local tradition, St. Francis Xavier had erected a chapel to Our Lady at Serugalathur), Kottaikkadu, Sammanasur,(ancient parishes in Pudukkottai area), Mayiladuthurai (served by St. John de Britto ) and Eylur (a substation of Kattumannarkoil now and mentioned in the letters of Beschi who constructed some buildings there). Most of these were served by Jesuits and some by Franciscans and later by M. E.P. Fathers to whom Thanjavur mission was entrusted by the Holy See after the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1759. Many priests from Goa and Kochi were sent to work in the area.

The Jesuits of the New Madurai Mission came to Thanjavur in 1845 and served in various parishes like the Sacred Heart Church (the present Cathedral), Vallam, Sammanasur, Pudukkottai and Nagappattinam. They had to hand over these parishes to the Diocese of Mylapore in 1893.

Initial struggles of the New Diocese

With such a hoary past and rich missionary traditions, the new diocese came into being with the Sacred Heart Church in Thanjavur as its Cathedral. It is to be noted that the new bishop was a Parishioner of this Church.

As there was no Bishops House, a portion of the Cathedral Presbytery served as the Bishops House and the Diocesan Office. After eight months, the Baroda Villa on the Tiruchi Road was purchased and converted into the Bishops house. In 1957 a new Bishops House was constructed in the adjacent land.

When the Diocese was started, it had only 41 Parishes served by 51 Priests. Of these, Fr.Januario L. DSouza is alone with us today. Though a good number of them were advanced in age, there was no dearth of zeal and pastoral commitment among them. There were a good number of Goan priests serving in the Diocese at the beginning so much so two of the four Vicars Forane in the Diocese used to be Goans. To foster vocations in the new diocese, the Bishop started St. Marys Minor Seminary in a small room in the St. Xaviers Boys Home in 1953. It was then shifted to a rented house in New Town (presently VOC Nagar) and when a new Bishops House was constructed, the Baroda Villa became the Minor Seminary. It is a matter of notable pride that practically all the Priests serving in the diocese today, including the Bishop, are the products of this Minor Seminary. Since 2002 a new building at Bishop Sundaram Complex, Arulanandammal Nagar in Thanjavur, houses the Minor Seminary.

Frs.R.Savarimuthu and S.T. Amalnather (former Bishop of Thoothukkudi), who were serving in the Seminary in Mylapore as well as Fr.Paul K.F. Belevendram, then serving in Kovalam, joined the new diocese. Similarly Brothers S.A.Arulaiah (former Bishop of Cuddappah), P.M. Joseph and Y. Leo Michael, belonging to the Archdiocese of Madras – Mylapore and studying in Sacred Heart Seminary, Poonamallee joined the Diocese later. This helped to solve the problem of the initial scarcity of Priests. The Diocese now has 182 Priests and 86 Parishes. The parishes, which became part of the diocese in 1953, were full of old buildings -churches, presbyteries, schools and convents. Almost all of them wear a new look today with new buildings -some renovated and some replaced by new and modern structures.

Religious Congregations

There were only a few convents in the new diocese in 1953; but over the past 57 years, many new congregations have established their houses and have taken up new ministries. This has contributed to the establishment of many educational and other institutions in the diocese. It is to be noted that, in addition to many convents, quite a few men religious congregations are functioning in the diocese. At present, 8 men religious congregations and 41 women religious congregations are working in the diocese.


In 1953 St. Anthonys High School was the only High school run by the diocese. Today we have 7 Higher Secondary Schools, 9 High Schools and three Matriculation Schools under the management of the diocese and 10 Higher Secondary Schools, 17 High Schools and Matriculation Schools run by various religious congregations. Practically all the Parishes have a school and about half of them have orphanages attached to them. While there was only one Industrial School (St.Xaviers Industrial School, Thanjavur) in the diocese in 1953, the diocese is presently running three Industrial Centers in Thanjavur, Namanasamudram and Vanamadevi. To cater to the needs of the time, the Diocese now runs a Teacher Training Institute, a College of Education offering B.Ed. and M.Ed. courses, a Nursing School and a Nursing College as well as an Arts and Science College.

Many of the diocesan Priests have high academic qualifications in religious and/ or in secular studies. On account of this, many of them are able to serve in schools and Industrial Centers in the diocese or as professors in various Major Seminaries.

Homes for the Aged

Two Charitable Trusts, established by individual Catholics of erstwhile Perumpannaiyur parish and entrusted to the Diocese, one in Pannaivilagam and the other in Elanthavanancherry, are running Homes for the Aged, both for men and women. The diocese has started one such Home in Vailankanni. There is also a Home for the Aged in Thanjavur run by St.Vincent De Paul Society. Many a destitute are able to find shelter in these Homes in their old age.

The Marian Shrine at Vailankanni

Our Lady of Health, Vailankanni is the second Patroness of the diocese. Though no historical records exist, according to an age old and strong tradition Our Lady appeared to two poor boys besides saving the Portuguese sailors from shipwreck in Vailankanni and this led to the origin of a Marian Shrine at Vailankanni centuries back. A Chronicle of 1635 and a letter of 1642 mention a Christian centre at Vailankanni with a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Health. The Franciscan priests of Nagappattinam were looking after Vailankanni which in course of time had a Franciscan priest stationed there. Later it came under the administration of the Diocese of Mylapore.

In 1933, a spacious Gothic church replaced the old church, constructed by the sailors, though part of the old altar can be seen even today. The shrine was raised to the status of a Minor Basilica in 1963 and a two-storied extension church was added to it in 1975 to accommodate the ever growing number of pilgrims. On the way to Our Ladys Tank, Stations of the Cross and Mysteries of the Rosary were constructed. The Shrine now has many quarters with convenient rooms at affordable rates of rent for the benefit of the pilgrims. The Shrine Retreat House and the Institute of Mariology are milestones in the development of the Shrine. It is also to be mentioned that perpetual Eucharistic adoration and counseling centre were started and confessions in different languages are heard. The administration was reformed to give better service to the pilgrims.

The Apostolate of the Laity

Parish Councils have been formed in sixty seven parishes and Basic Ecclesial Communities (Anbiams) are functioning in sixty eight parishes. This helps the laity to play an active role in the life of the church. The Catholic Association, Legion of Mary, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Vaazhvurimai Iyakkam and Third Order of St. Francis are some of the lay organizations, which are active in the diocese. It is a matter of great pride that Thanjavureans have distinguished themselves by holding high offices at the national level in the lay organizations.

The Bishops

Most Rev. Dr. R.A. Sundaram served as the first Bishop of Thanjavur from 1953 to 1986 and has left a long record of great achievements. He built the Diocese from scratch and put it on a sound track. It was due to his strenuous efforts that the Marian Shrine at Vailankanni became a Basilica in 1963 and many buildings were constructed to provide proper accommodation to the growing number of pilgrims. After reorganizing the Thanjavur Multipurpose Social Service Society in 1978 and making it more democratic, he started the Pudukkottai Multipurpose Social Service Society in 1984 to concentrate on the social development of the area. He wanted every parish to have a decent church, presbytery, school and a convent so that the people of the area can be served with great effect. With future vision he bought 130 acres of land in the heart of the town for future development of the diocese. He spent his retired life in the Sacred Heart Home for Retired Priests in Arulananda Nagar, Thanjavur and died peacefully in the Lord in August 1998 at the ripe age of 94.

Archbishop Packiam Arockiasamy succeeded him in 1986. He created many new parishes and constructed necessary parish churches and other necessary infrastructure in the rural areas. He started new High Schools in Palayamkottai, Vichoor and K.Aranthangi as well as Industrial Centres in Namanasamudram and Vanamadevi. He encouraged the Charismatic Movement in the Diocese and started the Diocesan Charismatic Centre at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Mangalapuram, Thanjavur. It was during his time that the Diocese of Thanjavur Society was reorganized and many Committees were formed for the better functioning of the Diocese. He retired in 1997 and died peacefully in the Lord in May 2003.

Dr. M. Devadass Ambrose, who hails from the Diocese of Thanjavur, was nominated the Bishop of Thanjavur in July 1997 and was consecrated in September of the same year. He continues to tread the path paved by his predecessors and concentrates on the overall development of the people. He has erected new parishes in Anna Nagar, Amaradakki, Siluvaipuram, Kuthalam, Machuvadi, Veerakurichi, Adaikalamatha(Thanjavur), Adhanur, Arasadipatty, Parithiur, Nagore, and Munnayampatti. Bishop added more commissions like anbiams, women etc. He has sent many priests for both religious and secular studies within India and abroad. He has started an Educational Fund and asks the people to contribute to it monetarily instead of honouring him with shawls and garlands during his visits to parishes. He has regularized the contracts with many Religious Congregations working in the Diocese. Bishop also had upgraded many schools according to the need of the people. He upgraded Primary school into Middle School in Moovanur, Middle School into High School in Pattukkottai and Thirukkanurpatti, High Schools as Higher Secondary Schools at Palayamkottai, Pudukottai and Vichoor. Realizing the need for higher education for the youth, he started six institutions of higher education which is very much appreciated by the people. In order to have decent place of worship for the villagers, Bishop is constructing many village chapels.

When the Tsunami hit the shores of the diocese on 26th December 2004, the Bishop rose to the occasion; he arranged to feed and shelter thousands of victims in Vailankanni. Through the TMSSS, he constructed many temporary shelters and distributed clothes, utensils etc. to the affected with the help of many donors from India and abroad. Then he constructed more than 2400 houses with the help of the State Government and donor agencies like the Caritas-India, CRS, CNEWA and the Carmelite Society. It is also to be noted that from the time of tsunami, Caritas Poland has been helping the orphan children with scholarships and the orphan children have benefitted from this assistance.


In fine, the Diocese of Thanjavur, under the patronage and protection of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Health, Vailankanni is making great strides in spreading the kingdom of God in the area entrusted to it by the Divine Providence. It has contributed its share to the growth and development of the Church in the region of Tamilnadu and India by generously lending the services of its priests. It is extending its ministry in educational, cultural, social, economic and pastoral fields, thus contributing to the overall growth and development of the people of the area, irrespective of caste or creed.



Bishop’s House, 
P.B. No. 204,
Thanjavur 613 007
Phone : + 91 4362 23 5524

Sayalgudi Chruch