Bandel, Feb. 10, 2019: Three-day celebrations for 27th World Day of the Sick held in Kolkata will conclude at historic Marian Basilica with prayers for healing as well as anointing of some 50 sick people and unveiling of commemorative mural, 11 February.
The date, 11 February is significant as it marks the date of the miraculous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes in France, hailed worldwide as Mecca for sick people who come in large numbers to experience miraculous healing.
The Marian Apparitions at Lourdes were reported in 1858 by Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old miller’s daughter from the town of Lourdes in southern France. From 11 February to 16 July 1858, she reported 18 apparitions of “a Lady”.
Bandel Church is chosen for the conclusion of WDS as people of all faiths daily visit the 420 year old Marian Shrine to seek favours from Our Lady of Bandel and devotees come to thank her for several blessings received.
The high point of the celebrations at Bandel will include the arrival of WDS delegates from Kolkata, celebration of the solemn Eucharist presided over by papal envoy, Bangladeshi Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka, anointing of some 50 people suffering from various types of illnesses, and the unveiling of a commemorative mural.
Other dignitaries expected in Bandel are Prefect of the Vatican Department for Promoting Integral Human Development Ghanian Cardinal Peter Kodwo A. Turkson and 8 Bishops of Bengal as well as Bishops from other parts of the country.
“Some 200 International and National delegates arriving from Kolkata will be welcomed at the main gate of the Basilica and escorted inside the Church with different ethnic dances by Bengali, Santhal and Adivasi groups,” says Prior of Bandel Basilica Fr T. L. Francis.
After a short break for refreshments, the group will climb 110 steps to visit the balcony and pay homage to Our Lady of Happy Voyage followed by solemn Eucharist during which, after the homily, the sick people will be blessed individually by Cardinals Rozario and Turkson, and others.
Fr Prior adds, “We are expecting some 50 seriously sick people suffering from illnesses in its various stages like cancer, diabetes, kidney ailment, and paralysis, for the healing service.”
“Among the sick people attending the healing service is a young girl studying in class X suffering from very high sugar,” reveals Fr Prior.
After the Eucharist, delegates and devotees will proceed to the church ground for a final blessing to be given in front of the Calvary, and unveiling of the commemorative mural.
The 4 feet by 6 feet mural depicts the story of the Good Samaritan – a parable Jesus Christ told on the need of reaching out to help those in need.
The inscription under the mural reads: The Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37). The Papal Delegate Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka unveiled this mural in the presence of the Prefect of the Vatican Department for Promoting Integral Human Development Cardinal Peter Kodwo A. Turkson, Prior of Bandel Basilica Fr. T. L. Francis and delegates of 27th World Day of the Sick on 11 February 2019. The mural is designed and installed by Church Art Kolkata.
Program on first day (9 February) held at St Xavier’s College, Mother Teresa Sarani had presentations on Theological Foundations of Healing Ministry and allied topics of New Charter for Health Workers, and Ministry to the Marginalised: New Frontiers and Models. The day concluded with concelebrated Eucharist at St Teresa of Calcutta’s tomb presided over by Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta.
On second day (10 February) the delegates split into groups to visit two Missionaries of Charity care centers in Kolkata – Shanti Dan and Prem Dan; and St Joseph’s Home for the Aged run by Little Sisters of the Poor. The afternoon meeting of the National delegations for health care and Vatican department for Integral Human Development concluded with a solemn Eucharist, open to all, at St Xavier’s College ground with anointing for the sick.
Established by Portuguese Augustinian monks in 1599, Bandel Church came under the charge of the Salesians of Don Bosco in 1928. Saint Pope John Paul II declared Bandel Church dedicated to Nossa Senhora do Rosario – Our Lady of the Rosary – into a Basilica in 1988 in view of the 400th year celebrations.