By Adolf Washington
Bengaluru: More than 50,000 people on September 8 thronged the minor Basilica of St. Mary in Shivajinagar, one of Bengaluru’s busiest hubs.
Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore blessed and flagged off the chariot procession carrying the statue of Our Mother of Good health, marking the end of a 9-day novena that preceded the feast of the Nativity of Mother Mary.
Karnataka Minister K J George was also present on the occasion.
Traffic movement was closed for a radius of at least 2 miles to facilitate easy pedestrian movement.
A huge boat replica decorated with lights and flowers with the statue of Mother Mary holding the infant Jesus was mounted on a make-shift truck for the procession. At least 1,000 volunteers controlled the devotees who included Catholics and peoples of other faiths
“Mother Mary loves the poor and those who love Mother Mary, must love the poor,” Archbishop Machado told the gathering.
The prelate, who took over as the Bangalore archbishop on May 3, urged the parishioners to spend less on decorations and sav the money to help the poor. “We can do much good then,” he added.
The archbishop urged the gathering to pray for the flood victims of Kodagu in Karnataka and Kerala and contribute to relief works to alleviate their suffering.
Minister George applauded the Christian contribution in uplifting people saying, “The state government is thankful for the wonderful services rendered by Catholics and is happy that Karnataka enjoys a wonderful relationship with Christians.”
Earlier during the day, Archbishop Machado at the end of the Tamil and Kannada Mass, thanked Muslims and Hindus for their “kind co-operation” during the various festivities that center around the basilica.
He prayed for the unity and harmony of people of all religions saying that Peace is the central message of all religions.
Shivajinagar is host to a historical temple, mosque and Basilica for over a century.
The procession that began at 6 pm lasted three hours.