Velankanni Church- the place of deep faith and reverence
A Catholic faith is located in Vellanganni town of Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu. This is devotedly called ‘Lourdes of the east’ because in South-west France Lourdes church is frequently visited by millions. This is dedicated to the almighty in the name of ‘Our lady of good health Basilica’. All kinds of devotees without discrimination of regions, countries, languages and religions come here and pay their respect to ‘Our lady of good health’. Velankanni church, the top religious destination of India, has been chosen by Indian government for development, as one of the heritage city called HRIDAY- Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojna.
How to reach– Nearest airport is Tiruchirappalli 126km.
Railway- Velankanni has several trains from most parts of the country.
Road- Buses available too from most South Indian cities. Chennai to Velankanni is 328 km by road.
Architecture of Church
Towering white colored, Shrine Basilica is built in Gothic style and has three chapels. It also has ‘Our lady’s tank’, Church museum, Priest’s residence, Stations of the Cross, Offering center, Rosary stations, Shrine Mega Mahal and Velankanni beach. The church building is painted white and has 82 feet high spires roof are made of tiles. It’s designed as per Lourdes in France.
Our Lady’s tank
A dome shaped round tank with golden inlay work done, is kept in the center of the church area. People take a dip to get blessings, do away their body ailments.
Museum is open from 6.30 AM to 8 PM each day. Here one can see, artifacts, books, pictures and statues etc., highlighting the history of this important church.
Book stalls, religious statues and other items, feasts and discourses from time to time
Historical facts about the church
Vailankanni was a part of the district of Nagapattinam. It was raised to the status of an independent parish in 1771, as devotees began to pour into Vailankanni. Fr. Antonio de Rozario was appointed the first Parish priest of Vailankanni. Nagapattinam had always been under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of the Diocese of Mylapore and the king of Portugal in Europe. King of Portugal met all the expenses which remained under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiffs. His Holiness Pope John XXIII issued orders raising the Shrine to the exalted status of a Minor Basilica in November 1962.
Velankanni church is known for miracles by virtue of Mother Mary & Jesus.
400 years back a shepherd boy was resting under a banyan tree. He was on way to deliver milk to a rich man in nearby town as routine. Suddenly a beautiful lady with a divine glow on her face appeared with an infant. Lady asked for some milk for the kid. Spellbound shepherd boy happily gave milk. When he reached at rich man’s house he apologized. But as he opened the container the milk was full to its brim. He told him about the celestial lady, the master told him to take him to that spot. Soon that spot and story became famous that Mary & Jesus had appeared and there a chapel was built.
In 17th century a Portuguese ship also had miraculous escape and other miracles were attributed to Mary, that deepened people’s faith. People got cured, who prayed miraculous Mother and her Divine Infant. She came to be known as Our Lady of Good Health.