Mangalore, Jan 2, 2013: The annual feast of Infant Jesus Shrine at Carmel Hill, Bikarnakatte will be celebrated on January 14, Monday.
Speaking at a press meet held at Infant Jesus Shrine, Bikarnakatte on January 2, Wednesday, Fr Pius J D’Souza said that as a part of the feast, the Novena Masses will be offered to Infant Jesus from January 5 to January 13. He also informed that devotees irrespective of caste, creed and faith have been attending the feast every year.
The church will conduct seven masses every day in three languages including Konkani, English and Kannada. The church will also provide meal in the form of Prasadam to the devotees daily after the last mass at 10.30 pm, he informed.
Most Rev Dr Cyprian Monis, Bishop of Asansol, West Bengal will be the main celebrant on January 14, Monday at 6pm. The shrine will hold Balipuja in the morning from 6 am to 12.30 pm followed by Novena mass in Kannada till 1.30 pm, he said.
Speaking on services of the church, he said that the church, in connection with its annual feast will construct and hand over a house to a poor family. It will also organize blood donation camp and counseling, he said.
Fr Elias D’Souza and Elias Fernandes, PRO were present.
About Infant Jesus Shrine
The architectural structure and design of this shrine is unique in many ways. Five huge columns encircle and uphold the main structure, while rising to a height nearly double that of the roof and converging under a globe atop where a luminescent Cross is planted. While at the base, the shrine is hexagonal, the roofing is pentagonal. The floor is made up of marble but the aisle and border along the walls is made up of granite. The lights used to illuminate the shrine are concealed and their light is reflected and diffused by the ceiling. The columns and ceiling are solid concrete as also the overhead globe.
The shrine which is carefully planned has a rich symbolic meaning and significance derived principally from Biblical themes, of both the Old and the New Testaments. The basement surrounded by the five huge columns is intended to represent the palm of the hand of God. The five columns represent the fingers of His hand
converging towards the overhead globe, which symbolizes the universe. The Cross atop the globe is an indication and symbol that God’s love has redeemed all humanity through Christ. The three doors and the stained-glasses above them depict pictures narrating important aspects of Christian faith. Each of the doors is flanked by a grill on either side which has sketches of the Carmelite saints.
Unlike other churches, the Crucifix is not elevated above the ground but planted on the floor of the Sanctuary to indicate ‘God with us.’ The image of the Crucifix is a carving, all of one piece of teak. To the right of the altar is the Tabernacle and to the left is the Bible. There are two niches, one on the right and one on the left, for the statues of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and of the Infant Jesus respectively. The statue of Infant Jesus was brought from Prague and many people are seen offering prayers here.
The hill houses the old chapel as well as the shrine. Many people light candles at the grotto having a huge statue of the Infant Jesus. Below the grotto is an adoration room where the ‘Blessed Sacrament’ is placed. There is another grotto having the statue of ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel.’ A small cemetery, having graves of the priests who lived on the hill and worked for the shrine is also present. One can also buy holy books, rosaries, statues and souvenirs at a small stall, placed next to the shrine. The entire hill is covered by mango trees planted by the Carmelite priests almost 50 years ago. There is also a beautiful viewpoint from where one can see the entire surroundings of Mangalore.