Indian Express: The festival of Our Lady of Good Health Vailankanni will begin on Wednesday. While it is now celebrated across various churches in the city, St Ignatius Church has been celebrating it for 40 years, starting 1972.
The church’s Ruby Jubilee will coincide with the Year of Faith that has been proclaimed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
The 11-day festival will see a wide variety of themes being addressed by Bishops from various state dioceses.
Fr John Kannikairaj, assistant Parish Priest, said, “During the festival, the focus will be on various segments that make up our social communities. On occasion of the Ruby Jubilee celebrations, Rt Rev Valerian D’Souza, Bishop Emeritus of Poona will be the main celebrant on the first day. In addition, Bishop Thomas Dabre; Bishop of Poona, Rt. Rev Alwyn Barreto; Bishop of Sindhudurg, Rt Rev Peter Machado, Bishop of Belgaum and Rt. Rev Lourdes Daniel, Bishop of Nashik, will also be preaching over the next 11 days.”
While security has been a concern at the venue over the past few years, this year a number of measures have been taken to ensure all the proceedings are conducted smoothly. “We have installed cameras at the venue. For security purpose, we will be deploying police personnel, volunteers and a special security team to look after the proceedings. We are expecting as many as 15,000 people on the first and the last day and around 6,000 on other days of the festival,” he said.
Owing to security issues, the authorities have also limited the number of stalls outside the church campus.
“The Khadki Cantonment Board specifically asked us to limit the number of stalls as it will help in controlling the crowd,” he added.
The festival will also raise the issue of girl child on the last day of the festival on September 8.
Rev Fr Clement Raj, Parish Priest, St Ignatius Church, said, “The festival is open to people of all faiths.”