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Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mount Mary Basilica Bandra Mumbai India


(Edifice of Our Lady of the Mount Basilica)

When I was a little boy one of the big churches we went to on the 8th Of September was the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount commonly referred to as Mount Mary.

Although the current church edifice is just 100 years old, the history behind the current statue of Our Lady goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to the current location and constructed a chapel. In 1700 Arab pirates interested in the gilt-lined object held in the hand disfigured the statue by cutting off the right hand.

In 1760, the church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators in St. Andrew's church nearby. This statue has an interesting legend. It goes that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. The statue was found floating in the sea between 1700 and 1760. A Jesuit Annual Letter dated to 1669 and published in the book St. Andrew's Church, Bandra (1616–1966) supports this claim.

The shrine was renovated and given most of the present day features in 1904 as part of the golden jubilee of Pope Pius IX’s Declaration of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. The National Marian Congress, 1954, Pope Pius XII designated the shrine as a Minor Basilica.


(Interior view of the Basilica)

Every year before the 8th of September there is a Novena to the Immaculate Conception. 100 of thousands of people both Catholic and non catholic attend the novena in honour of Our Lady. Indeed, in India is is common to see many non-Catholics attend festivals of Our Lady. As a little boy I loved going for the novena when I could and attend the big mass on the 8th of September which was usually a holiday in our Catholic schools so that we could go for mass at Mount Mary. After this we would all go for the Bandra Fair but that is another story and another post.

1 comment:

Candice said...

I remember the Bandra Fair. I would love going for it because of the games and rides. I probably also went for Mass but i was young to remember the church. I do however remember St Andrew's church and of course St Peter's.