Kochi: A Catholic parish in Kerala joined global efforts to raise funds for the flood-devastated Kerala by donating gold ornaments that adorned a Mother Mary statue.
“Our aim is to send a message to others to come forward and help those in need,” said Father Varghese Kanichikattu, vicar of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church at Manjummel, popularly known as Manjummel Palli, a parish under the Archdiocese of Verapoly.
The priest, a member of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, said the ornaments remained idle for most the time. “Mother Mary doesn’t need gold ornaments,” he told reporters.
The church, situated 17 km north of Kochi, was blessed on December 4, 1892.
The necklaces weighing 25 sovereigns were made from gold offered by the devotees over the past 100 years. They were used to decorate the statues of Mother Mary with Baby Jesus in her arm only during the annual feast procession in December.
Manjummel town and surroundings that are on the banks of the Periyar River suffered heavy losses in the deluge.
The church, situated on the Eloor-Muttar road, sheltered nearly 3,000 people during the floods in August.
The church committee agreed to a member’s proposal that there would be no nobler deed than using the gold to help those suffering.
Earlier, Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil of Verapoly donated his luxury car for auction in raise funds for rebuilding Kerala emerging from the horrendous floods.
“I felt it to be unjust to travel in a luxury car, when flood survivors suffer tremendously in relief camps. I prayed over it, and decided to sell the car in auction. I believe that the money I give to rebuild Kerala should also have the share of my own sacrifice,” Archbishop Kalathiparambil explained his decision.
The archbishop also issued a pastoral letter to urge his faithful to reduce parish feast extravaganzas and share maximum money to the relief funds.