70 years and counting…Holy Ghost Church, Bangalore celebrates its Novena Feast to Mother of Perpetual Help with Great Fervour and Festivity

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The Redemptorists and the faithful of the Holy Ghost Parish Church celebrated their Annual feast in honour of the Mother of Perpetual Help in Bangalore, India on the 28th of January beginning with the Novena on the 19th of January.

The feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at Holy Ghost Church, from the earliest days, has been celebrated on the last Sunday of January, instead of the Congregational date of June 27th because, there are heavy Monsoon rains in that month in Bangalore. This year, 2024, the Novena Feast celebrations took place at a time when the parish concludes 70 years of existence. The celebrations began with the blessing and hoisting of the flag bearing the Icon by Fr Edward Joseph, C.Ss.R., Provincial of Bangalore on 19th January, followed by a solemn Mass in the three major languages in use in Bangalore Archdiocese – Kannada, Tamil, and English. The following 9 days were devoted to the Masses, Novena devotions, and the Word of God. Almost every day of the Novena, the shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help was decorated with various arrangements of floral decorations, which drew multitudes of devotees from across the city to pray before her shrine.

Central to the Novena devotion is the extraordinary proclamation of the Word of God. In the 2024 instalment of the Novena Feast, following a longstanding tradition, we had excellent Redemptorist preachers for the 9 days of Novena: Fr. Charles Vijay Kumar, C.Ss.R. (in English), Frs. Ashwil Dias, C.Ss.R. and Prem Prakash Dsouza, C.Ss.R (in Kannada), and Fr. Anbu Anantharaj, C.Ss.R. (in Tamil) who raised people’s sights to the standards of the Gospel, with compassion for the human condition, as true missionaries of Hope, following in the footsteps of the Redeemer. The concluding Masses of the Feast Day were presided over by two respected Bishops from India. For the English and Kannada Masses, it was Most Rev. Henry D’Souza, Bishop of Ballary; and for the Tamil Mass, it was Most Rev. Lawrence Pius, Bishop of Dharmapuri.

The colourful festival of faith came to a climax with the customary solemn procession with the miraculous Icon enthroned on a specially decorated float around the streets of the neighbourhood. All along the way, the devotees were joined by the religious, the confreres, the Provincial and Bishop Henry in praying the rosary and singing praises to Mary. The procession ended with a massive gathering in the seminary grounds as they participated for one last time in the Novena Devotions and heard the Word of God, before receiving a final Benediction. One of the hallmarks of this celebration was the synodal spirit that animated the planning and execution of the event. There was communion and participation with the parish pastoral council, the various pious associations, the basic ecclesial communities, and the youth and other civic bodies in the process of engaging in this endeavour of one united together as one in a mission of bringing hope to one and all through the miraculous Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

Fr Sandeep Menezes, CSsR.

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