By Fr Richard DSouza
Sep 9 : The Annual Feast of Harihar Matha was celebrated with grandeur and pomp on September 8 2019 in the Shrine of Our Lady of Health, Harihar. Around 2 lakhs pilgrims flooded to participate in the Liturgical Events of the day at the Shrine. Theme for the feast was “Mary Our Mother: Queen of Peace and Summit of Reconciliation”.
On 7 September Saturday, 5:30 pm mass was by celebrated by Most Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha , Bishop of Mangalore.
On the Feast day mass were held from 5:30 am to 8:00 pm. At 7:30 am Most Rev Dr Joseph Arumachadath, Bishop of Bhadravathi and at 8:45 am Rev Dr Rayapan , St Peter’s Pontifical seminary Bangalore celebrated masses.
Other Festival Mass in Kannada , at 11:30 am Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao sj , Bishop of Shimoga celebrated mass. Bishop in his sermon said, “Humanity is greatest among all. We should respect others in order to gain respect. Forgiving and asking forgiveness are two act of god’s love”. Bishop gave a call to people to leave in peace and show humanity to people in need.
At 1:30 pm Most Rev Dr Derek Fernandes , Bishop of Belgaum and at 4:00 pm Rev. Dr Arokya Swamy , Mysore Diocese were the main celebrants on the feast day.
Floral Homage, Holy Eucharist , Annasantharpane and Grand Solemn Procession were held on the occasion of feast.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and healing service for the sick was conducted By Fr Franklin D’Souza, Fr Roman Pinto, Fr Pius D’Souza, Bro. T.K. George & Bro. William D’Souza.
History of the shrine :
The Shrine of Our Lady of health attracts lakhs of devotees throughout the year. Tradition has it that a Brahmin priest, while having a bath, was miraculously saved from drowning by the statue of our Lady. Later even his ailing wife and children were saved by this miraculous statue. The Brahmin and his family started to venerate the statue as ‘Satyamma’ (Mother of Truth). The Brahmin and his family remained faithful to this Marian devotion till their very last breath.
As years went by, priests from the nearby towns recognized the statue as the statue of Our Lady. Thus, the devotion to Mary spread among the faithful in and around Harihar. Many receive special graces such as childless have received children, sick have regained health, healing and so on after visiting and praying at the Shrine. Over the years, this Shrine has become a refuge for all the distressed and dejected.
Lakhs of people became the part of this holy Annual feast and received the blessings of mother Mary.
Rev. Dr Anthony Peter, Parish priest of Our Lady of Health Harihar and others made this feast well managed and welcomed all.