Category: Churches in Tamilnadu

St. Vincent Pallotti Church, Thirunagar, Madurai

The beginnings of the mission at Thirunagar could be traced back to the Usilampatti mission of Fr. Clement Montaud, SJ, who established the Stella Mary Church at Thanakkankulam. In the year 1949, there were only two catholic families in Thirunagar. The Holy Rosary Church began to provide for their pastoral needs. In 1962 the CIC sisters came to Thriunagar and the mission began to take shape. Later, His Grace Dr. Justin Diraviam entrusted the pastoral care of the faithful at Thirunagar to the Redemptorists. The arrival of the religious communities such as St. Charles’ Sisters, Sisters of St. Annes, and St. Joseph of Tarbes further widened the mission endeavor and necessitated the establishment of a parish. On 10 December 1978, Thirunagar was erected as a parish and the pastoral care of it was entrusted to the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine Fathers and Brothers) by His Grace Dr. Justin Diraviam. Fr. Manfred Hauck was appointed as the first parish priest. A magnificent Church was built and inaugurated on 19 March 1983. Now at present, the parish consititutes of 245 families. The Catholics at Thirunagar are settlers from different parts of Tamil Nadu; A good number of repatriate Tamilis from Burma (Myanmar) and Sri Lanka also form part of the parish community.

St. Vincent Pallotti Church,
Madurai – 625 006.
Tel: +91 452 2484385

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Amala Annai Church, Nirmala Ashram, Thirumangalam Post, Madurai

Patron Saint: Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

Thirumangalam is 20 Kms south of Madurai en route to Kanyakumari on the National Highway No. 7. Amala Annai Church is located just on the National Highway. In front of the church are the Taluk and Munsiff Courts, Prison, Taluk Office, Registrar’s Office and sub-treasury. Behind the church are the Government Hospital and Head Post Office. At the right side of the church lie the Municipal Office and Traveller’s Bungalow.

Most Rev. Justin Diraviam invited the Capuchins to work in Madurai Archdiocese. The pioneers, Frs. Mark OFM Cap. and Mathias OFM Cap., worked in Kalladithidal in Ramnad district before Fr. Mathias could find a suitable place for the Capuchin mission in Thirumangalam. The present site with a small chapel (circumference of the area – 7350 sq. metres) was given to the Capuchins, and they were asked to take up the mission parish of Usilampatti itself in which lay Thirumangalam. The foundation in Thirumangalam was blessed by the Archbishop on 8th December 1970. The construction of the new chapel began in February 1974, and completed in December 1976. Thirumangalam was raised to the status of a parish in 1994, and Fr. Benjamin OFM Cap. was the first official Parish Priest.

The approximate population of Thirumangalam at present is 50200, among whom Catholics number around 600. The main occupation of the locals is self employment. The Capuchins take care of four substations namely, Sathangudi, T. Kallupatti, Odaipatty and Uchapatti Srilankan refugee’s camp. Fr. Arockiam OFM Cap. is the present Parish Priest. There are five religious communities in the Parish: Capuchins, FMM Sisters, CIC Sisters, FIHM Sisters and St. Joseph of Tharbs Sisters.

Amala Annai Church,
Nirmala Ashram,
Thirumangalam Post,
Madurai – 625706.
Tel: +91 4549 280587

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Christ the King Church, Vilangudi, Madurai

Christ the King parish was earlier the substation of Anjal Nagar parish taken care of by the Redemptorist fathers. At the time of Archbishop Casimir the local people wanted to have a place of prayer so that they would not suffer going a long distance to Anjal nagar crossing the busy national high ways. With the help of the local parishioner Mr. S.M. Raj, a plot was bought by Fr. Vedamanickam, the Procurator and later another small plot was bought adjacent to the earlier one during the time of Rev. Fr. Gnanam CSSR, Parish Priest, Anjal Nagar. The construction of the magnificient church was done by Fr. Dhivyanandam, the Procurator with the help of Eng. Kitcheley. Archbishop Arockiasamy erected it an independent parish in 1994 when Fr. Antony, CSSR, was the parish priest. The circumference of this parish is 4 kilometers, having as border, NH7 Madurai-Dindigul Main Road in the East, Kondamari in the West, NH7 Madurai-dindigul Main Road in the North and North bank of Vaigai River in the South. It has two substations. The Catholic population is 2000 out of the total population of this area, 7000. Most of the parishioners are Government Employees, Private Companies Employees, Agriculture Coolies, Professors, Teachers and Construction workers.

The parish church and the presbytery were constructed in 1994 when the parish was erected. Fr. Soosai Michael Raj constructed and started an English Medium School in 1997. Fr. John Diraviam, in his term, constructed a magnificient Grotto of Blessed Virgin Mary in the Marian year 2003 at the entrance where a simple statue of Our Lady was installed by Fr. John Martin in 1995. Fr. John Diraviam constructed a new church in CAS Colony, the substation and instituted regular novena mass to St. John De Britto on Wednesdays. Fr. Edwin, during his time, extended the parish church and the altar. Land was bought for Kondamari people and was distributed to the Kondamari villagers.

Now in 2009 the parish was elevated into a Vicariate center of Madurai North Vicariate. At the time of Fr. Antony Rajan, the p,p and the V.F., the archdiocese has invested a considerable amount of money to put up buildings for Christ the King Eng. Medium School. Contract is made by the diocese that it would run the school for certain period of time to take back the investment on multiple storied buildings.

Christ the King Church,
Income Tax Colony,
Madurai -625 018.

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St. Germaine Quasi parish (St. Germaine Chruch), Rayapuram, Madurai

The Church of Rayapuram near Sholavandan, via Nagari from the Dindigul -Main Road is situated about 20 k.m. away from Madurai. The shrine is named after Germaine Cousin, who was born in Pibrac, which is near Toulouse, a town in France, from which Province came in, during the 16th century, the French Jesuits to establish Madurai Mission. The first archbishop of Madurai Most Rev. Leonard and the Vicar General Fr. Trincal are from Toulouse province. Rayapuram is named after Fr. Labarthiere S.J. who started the missionary expedition in Madurai Mission. Labarthiere in English is Peter. Fr. Labarthiere is the founder of Rayapuram Farm and the Church.

Inspired by the heroic virtue of the shepherdess girl, Germaine Cousin of his own native origin, Fr. Labarthiere brought the statue of the saint and installed under a thatched roof with the help of Mr. Vedam and Soosai Pillai. The thatched roof was put up some 125 years ago and he bought lands around the place and settled the Catholics around the place. After the period of Fr. Labarthiere (1912), his successor Fr. Sebarthiere SJ developed the Chruch. In 1935 Fr. Astruc SJ became the Jesuit Mission Procurator.

In course of time the devotion spread out through the southern districts of Madurai Mission and people flocked to this little shrine as the saint was attributed to a lot of miracles. In 1912 there were only 70 people around the church and at present there are 700 people living in this quasi parish.

As the old shrine was in dilapidated condition, the century old church was demolished and an artistic new bigger Shrine was built with the help of the local parishioners and pilgrims, and of the generous help of the Jesuits of St. Mary’s community in consultation with the Jesuit Madurai Province. It was the hard work of the Jesuit Brothers and Jesuit Procurators that caused the emergence of such a huge church in an unknown village. On 18th April 2009 the Shrine was consecrated by the Archbishop of Madurai, Most Rev. Peter Fernando in the presence of Jesuit Provincial, Fr. Devadoss.

The total population of this parish is 149 families (700 members); 45 people of 15 Hindu families live side by side. 90% of the Catholics are Dalit Christians and their occupation is farming and mill work. This is a quasi parish without a Presbytery and the Jesuits are entrusted with the pastoral care of this quasi parish. The Second Sunday after Easter is the parochial feast day which attracts the pilgrims from the surrounding villages.

St. Germaine Quasi parish
St. Germaine Chruch,
Madurai Dt. – 625 234
Tel: +91 4543 258282

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Holy Rosary Church, Town Hall Road, Madurai

The Holy Rosary Church is situated at the Heart of the city. The territory includes important places like Shri Meenakshiamman Temple, Periyar Bus stand, Railway Junction. From Vaigai River, the southern Boundary extends up to Madurai Airport. In 1592, the Jesuits started their Madurai Mission with a small chapel of Our Lady, ministered by Fr. Fernandez. Robert De Nobili and Joseph Beschi followed him. From a letter of 1763 we learn that Yousuf Khan, opposing the English, had with him 400 French Soldiers (Catholics) for whom “a beautiful church” was built near the West Gate. 1770 onwards a Jesuit Missionary was serving the people around this Rosary Church. After the suppression of the Society in 1773, this church was in the hands of Padroado Priests.

In 1939 Fr. Yuvenat started the school. In 1966 Fr. De Cruz took in charge of the parish and built the new church according to the liturgical renewal emanated from second Vatican Council. In 1967 the Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help was started. The new presbytery was built by Fr. Joseph Xavier. The parish has 4 substations namely, Solaialagupuram, Perungudi, St. Antony’s Street and Simmakkal. There are about 380 Catholic families living here. Rev. Fr. Angel is the parish priest and the Vicar Forane of Madurai South Vicariate.

Holy Rosary Church,
Town Hall Road,
Madurai – 625 001
Saint: Our Lady of Holy Rosary
Tel: +91 452 2343490

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Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Railway Colony, Madurai

The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was built in the Railway Colony in 1927. The parishioners were mainly Anglo – Indians. The Railway Company gave the ownership of the Church to the Diocese in perpetuity. The priests who served in the parish are the following: Fr. Turlan, Fr. Shembery, Fr. S. Bruno, Fr. S. Maria Soosai, Fr. J. Victor, Fr. V. Allard, Fr. T. Britto, Fr. B. A. Pinto, Fr. B. Michael, Fr. J. C. Motha, Fr. D. Amalorpavam, Fr. Joseph Nedugat, Fr. Peterkulandai, Fr. V. M. Irudayam, Fr. Santiago, Fr. John J., Fr. Seshuraj, Fr. Jeyaraj. Since June 2009 – Fr. M. Dhivyanandam. Fr. Joseph Nedungat extended the western wing of the church. Then he built the present presbytery for the priest. The work was completed in 1978 June, on the feastday of Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Sebastian chapel, the substation of Railway Colony was erected in 1944 on the way to central bus stand (Periyar). It was demolished by Corporation authorities in the year 2004 as per the court order. That statue was taken to the Sacred Heart Church by Fr.Jeyaraj and installed. Now the first Tuesday Novena is going on. At present, the devotion to the Sacred Heart on the first Fridays goes on well. The Holy Hour is conducted on every first Thurdsays and people from different parts of the city participate. Following the long tradition, most of the Anglo Indian families from various parts of the city gather on Sundays at 8.30 am for Sunday liturgy. The Tamil mass is celebrated at 6.30 am on Sundays.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Church,
Railway Colony,
Tel: +91 452 2308246

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St. John De Britto’s Church, Othakkadai, Madurai

In the year 1982, a chapel was built on the Melur High road, Y. Othakkadai, and blessed by the Archbishop of happy memory, Most Rev. Dr. Justin Diraviam, D.D., J.U.D., and the chapel was dedicated to St. John de Britto, principal patron of the Archdiocese of Madurai. This chapel was one of the substations of Our Lady of Lourdes parish, K. Pudur. In the year 1997, the parish of our Lady of Lourdes was bifurcated and Y. Othakkadai was erected an independent parish by the Archbishop of happy memory, Most Rev. Dr. Marianus Arockiasamy, D.D., and thus the chapel too was raised to be the parish church of St. John de Britto. On 25th of Sept. 1997 this new parish was given to the care of the Franciscans of the Province of St. Thomas the Apostle as per the contract entered by both the parties that are the Archdiocese of Madurai and the Franciscans. The boundaries of this new parish are as follows: East : Idaiapatti, West : Pudupatti road, North : Chittampatti and South : Uthangudi. It includes the following villages: Othakkadai, Narasingam, Uthangudi, Yanai Malai Quarry, IHM convent, Perungudi, Thirumohur, Idyapatti, Thamaraippatti, Thindiyur, Agricultural college, Malaiyathanpatti, Chittampatti, and Annai Veilankanni Church Ulaganeri.

There are seventy families in the parish and 35 families in the Sri Lankan Refugee Camp. Altogether the total Catholic population is about 500. The parishioners are working in different sectors such as quarry workers, coolies, teachers etc.

Chapel at Thiruvadoor Sri Lankan Refuge Camp- Our Lady of Veilankanni Chapel (2002).
Chapel at Ulaganery : Our Lady of Veilannkani (2007).

St. John De Britto’s Church,
Anthoniar Illam,
Y. Othakkadai,
Madurai – 625107.

Tel: +91 452 2422853,
Mob: +91 9486949622

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Mary Queen of Peace (Nagamalai Pudukottai), Madurai

The parish is located 10 km West of Madurai in Nagamalai (towards Melakuilkudi Road). Formerly, it was the substation of Bastin Nagar Parish and prior to that Gnanaolivupuram parish. The construction of the Church building began in 1985 (17.03.1985) and got completed on 18.07.1989. Archbishop Most. Rev. Justin Diraviam funded the building. Most Rev. Arockiasamy exalted the substation to the status of the parish in 1989.

The Church bell was installed by the efforts of Rev. Fr. Jesuraja and presbytery was raised during the tenure of Rev. Fr. Gnanaprakasam. The Bible Hall was added at the time of Rev. Fr. Divyanandam. Rev.Fr. James Paulraj provided the church with a new generator around 1996. The nearby lands were purchased in order to extend the church campus on the south and to provide housing plots for the parishioners. The number of Catholic families are 140. Since Most of the parishioners are government servants and teachers, the catholic population of this parish is floating due to transfers & retirements.

Though this parish does not have any substation, parishioner live scattered in the nearby pulluthu (boys town) and kilaneri villages. To mention the historical importance of kilaneri, it is supposed to be an ancient Christian center frequented by Jesuit Missionary Robert de Nobili. He describes this village as full of paddy fields and water sources and calls it “Alagia gramam”. The early Christians of this village were konars (Shepherd caste). Due to scanty spiritual Ministry during the 19th centuary the offsprings of the early Christians migrated to Northern parts of Madurai Dist. The Jesuit letters, describing the faith in this village, are available in the provincial archives of the Jesuits in Shembaganur. Rev. Fr. D. Gnanaprakasam 1989-96, Rev. Fr. Jesuraja 1996-98, Rev. Fr. John Selvaraj 1998-2002, Rev. Fr. James paulraj 2002-2004, Rev. Fr. Divyanandam 2004-2009 served as parish priests and developed the parish. Presently Rev. Fr Antony Packiam serves as parish priest 2009 July – till date.

In Kilaneri, a small chapel, Our Lady of Lourdes. In pulluthu
there is a chapel, Our Lady of Good Health.

Mary Queen of Peace (Nagamalai Pudukottai),
Melakuilkudi Road,
Madurai – 19.
Tel: +91 452 2458720

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Lourdes Shrine, K Pudhur, Madurai

As a sizable population of Catholics were living in Kosakulam Pudur, which was in the territory of Our Lady of Dolours Parish, Fr. Endaline S.J. bought a piece of land in K. Pudur, on the very site where the present church stands, and built a small church of Our Lady of Lourdes, in 1920. In 1931 Fr. Gabriel Gomez, S.J. enlarged the church and brought the C.I.C. sisters to start a Primary School When in 1938 Madurai diocese was born and the Bishop’s house was built in K. Pudur, this church of Our Lady of Lourdes became important. The city expanded; transport facilities increased; more Catholic families came to settle down in K. Pudur. Fr. Pudumai who was in the Bishop’s House regularly went to cater to the spiritual needs of K. Pudur Catholics.

In 1951 K. Pudur was canonically erected as a new parish with Fr. M. T. Amalaraj, S.J. as its first parish priest. The rapid growth of the Catholic population necessitated the expansion of the church which Fr. M.T. Amalaraj undertook and finished in 1958. Christmas night of 1960 was especially a joyous night for this church as it was announced to be the Cathedral of the diocese, and Fr. Silverius, S.J. was the parish priest. Mgr. Diraviam took possession of the Archdiocese in the church on 29th June 1967, the same year Fr. S. Irudayam, the V.G. was the parish priest. But this privilege of being the Cathedral was shortlived. In 1970 Our Lady of Dolours church became the Cathedral and Fr. T,A. Michael took charge of the parish of K. Pudur, in 1972. A new flavour was added to the apostolate of the Archdiocess when on 24th September 1975 when the Salesians of Don Bosco took charge of K. Pudur Parish.

Fr. Vincent Durai Raj was the first Salesian Parish Priest. He had the privilege of celebrating the Silver Jubilee of the Parish and of starting Don Bosco Yourth Centre and building the upstairs of the parish house. During the time of Fr. Jeswanth in 1977, the building of the Don Bosco Youth Centre camp up, a place for cemetery was acquired, Sarvodaya building for girls was built, R.C. Primary School and Kadachanendal was raised to be a Middle School. Don Bosco Primary School was built at Quarry (Yanamalai) and dispensaries at Yanamalai and Mangalapuram were entrusted to the care of Leuca Sisters. When in 1980 Fr. Jeganathan became parish priest. St. Antony’s church was blessed at Kadachanendal, the Community Hall was put up in Sandanamada Street and Don Bosco Foot Ball and Volley Ball Tournaments were conducted for Youth in State level. Then came Fr. Christy in 1982, who was responsible for the women’s cottage industry at Lourdu Nagar. From 1985 Fr. A. T. James was is the parish priest.

Fr. Edward Xavier and Jeganathan were assistants. During his period the church of Mary Help of Christians was built in B.B. Kulam, Don Bosco Non-formal Technical School was put up and started functioning, Don Bosco Foot Ball and Volley Ball Tournaments were continued; for the help of poor children tuition centers were begun in four villages; occasionally Good News conventions have been conducted. The Catholics are making their Christian life fuller through associations like Vincent de Paul Society, Legion of Mary, Don Bosco Youth Centre, Charismatic Group etc. The Parish Priest is planning to build a High School for boys to renew the church building, to make the Sellur area into a new parish and to build houses for the poor.

Lourdes Shrine,
K. Pudhur,
Madurai – 625007.
Tel: +91 452 2568142

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St. Antony Maria Claret Parish, Karumathur, Usilampatti, Madurai

The known Christian history of Karumathur intertwined with Usilampatty Mission starts from 1867. Rev. Fr. Isidore Prince, a Jesuit priest visited this place and his friendly approach helped the conversion of many people of “Piranmalai Kallars”. Followed by Fr. Isidore Prince, there came another Jesuit Preist Rev. Fr. Clement Montard as it was the Mission of Jesuit Misionaries. He is known as the ‘father’ of Piranmalai Kallar Community of this area. He provided education, arranged their employment opportunities, baptized them and blessed their marriages. He is fondly remembered even now by the people. Due to his serious illness, Rev. Fr. Montard went to Shenbaganur for rest. Then there was no follow-up for many years. The Catholic Christians were left all alone without any priest for a long time. There was a fall back of the Christians into their old faith. On 24th Oct. 1978, His Grace Most Rev. Justin Diraviam the then Archbishop of Madurai erected a new parish in this region named “Good Shepherd Parish”. He installed Rev. Fr. Mathew Njayarkulam cmf as the first parish priest of this parish. He struggled to re-evangelize them in faith. With the help of the Claretian Seminarians he revived the faith. The present parish church was constructed in 1990 and the presbytery was constructed in 1998. This parish is entrusted to the pastoral care of the Claretians in accordance with the contract made by both parties, the Claretians and the Archdiocese of Madurai.

St. Antohny Mary Claret Church is situated in Moonandipatti, 24 kilometers away from Madurai, and 17 kilometers from Usilampatti. It is situated on the National Highways no. 49 leading to Theni. The parish has got nine sub-stations. Two of the sub-stations namely Azhagusirai and Chekkanurani come under Thirumangalam Taluk, the other sub-stations namely Chellampatti, Valandur, Vadakanpatti, Ariyapatti, Kovilangulam Piraviampatti and Vikramangalam are in the Usilampatti taluk. The total Catholic families under this parish are 150.

Generally the people in this area are largely backward caste people and scheduled castes. The rate of literacy is low. Addiction to illicit liquor and female infanticide are the burning issues of this community. But a few of the Catholic Heads of the families of the parish are working as teachers, staff members in the offices and in other jobs because of hard labor and influence of the foreign missionaries.

Checkkanurani, Kovilankulam, Vadakkampatti, Piraviampatti,
Valandur, Chellampatti and Azhagusirai

St. Antony Maria Claret Parish,
Usilampatti Tk,
Madurai dt – 625514.

Tel: +91 4549 287295, 287141

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