Davangere, Jan 16, 2020: In a significant celebration in the region Our Lady of Health Church in Harihar became the third church in Karnataka to be declared as Minor Basilica on January 15, Wednesday. It is the 25th minor Basilica in the country. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa unveiled the decree to mark the celebrations.
Rector of Our Lady of Health Minor Basilica Anthony Peter said Basilica is declared by Pope on the basis of historicity. This is the third church in the state to be declared as minor Basilica. Considering its spiritual importance to the Christian faith and its influence in building reconciliation and peace among people, it was proposed that this shrine can be elevated to the status of a minor basilica. After careful consideration and proper scrutiny, the Vatican has raised the Shrine of Our Lady of Health, Harihar, to the status of a Minor Basilica on September 18, 2019, he added. He said the Basilica is located at the heart of Harihar town and is located near the Railway station and the bus stand.
The Official programme began after the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration at 11.45am. The programme began with the Bible reading with the creation story. It was followed by a prayer dance as an invocation to God. Bishop Francis Serrao welcomed Most Rev. Dr. Peter Machado, Archbishop of Bangalore with a bouquet of flowers.The Chief Guest Sri B.S Yediyurappa , Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka was welcomed too with a bouquet of flowers. Bishop also welcomed Most Rev. Dr. Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Daman, and all dignitaries present.
The Honourable guests inaugurated the programme by lighting the lamp. The Chief Guest B.S.Yediyurappa unveiled the logo of the Minor Basilica of Harihar.Fr Lancy D’Souza enlighted on the Papal Bull ‘De Titulo Basilicae Minoris’ the official papal bull decree of Pope Francis signed by Robertus Card, the Prefect of Divine Worship. Fr Anthony Peter, the Parish Priest of Harihar narrated his experience and miracle of the Mother Mary and highlighted the brief history of the Minor Basilica of the Lady of good health Harihar. According to the history, a Brahmin had witnessed the miraculous statue and offered it to the church as our Lady had said in the apparition.
Bishop Francis Serrao requested B.S. Yediyurappa to grand a land and accommodation to the pilgrims of Harihar. The chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa in his speech said that Our Lady of good health is one of the powerful statues in the India. There have been enormous pilgrims flocking towards the shrine since years. He also congratulated the Christians for the Holy See for declaring the shrine to the status of Mionor Basilica. He said in the words of Mahathma Gandhiji to love all the religions and live in communal harmony. He gave a call in the words of poet Kuvempu to make our nation into a peaceful harvest. The contribution of the Christians towards Karnataka has been enormous he said and concluded his speech. Bishop Francis Serrao honoured chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Raghavendra and Siddeshwar for their contributions to the society.
Among the Bishops present were : Most Rev. Dr. Peter Machado ( Archbishop of Bangalore) Chief Guest Sri B.S Yediyurappa (Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka) Most Rev. Dr. Filipe Neri Ferrao (Archbishop of Goa and Daman) Dr. Sri Shivamurthy murugha Sharanaru Dr. Sri Moulana B.A Ibraim Shakha Dr. Sri Siddeshwar, MLA Davangere B.Y. Raghavendra Mr. Ramappa Most. Rev. Dr Aloysious Paul D’Souza, Bishop Emeritus of Mangaluru Most. Rev. Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of Udupi Most. Rev. Dr K.A William, Bishop of Mysuru Most. Rev. Dr Anthony Swamy, Bishop of Chikmaglur Most. Rev. Dr Robert Miranda, Bishop of Gulbarga Most. Rev. Dr Derek Fernandes, Bishop of Karwar Most. Rev. Dr Gheevarghese, Bishop of Puttur Most. Rev. Dr Ignatius D’Souza, Bishop of Bareli
Most Rev. Dr. Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Daman congratulated everyone for the historical event and dream realised in Harihar and he thanked all the Bishops on behalf of all the Bishops. He said,”Harihar town is known for religious harmony and genuine peace”. We need to boost religious harmony in the society which is very much necessary by respecting and serving one another as sons and daughters of India according to the Constitution.
Dr. Sri Shivamurthy murugha Sharanaru in his address said Harihar Matha is a blessing to the pilgrims of Harihar. Religion and the love of God are entirely two different ends. In order to love God and neighbour, one needs to sacrifice one’s religion and show human love is greater than any other religion. He exclaimed the teaching of Jesus Christ to love one’s enemies is one of the finest teachings in the World where no other person has ever told. The values of Compassion and kindness are very much needed in the society today. He said he was inspired by the Human love of Jesus, the non violence of Mahaveera, the equality of Basavanna and the simplicity of Buddha.
Dr. Sri Moulana B.A Ibraim Shakha opined that the Harihar Matha is a gift to the society and live in communal harmony. Basavanna is one of the prophets who invited each and everyone to live in harmony and unity. He felt proud of this school that 70% of muslim students study in this Christian institution. Most Rev. Dr. Peter Machado addressed the gathering by telling health is a blessing to each and every person. Our Lady of Good Health is our Mother who gives us mental as well as physical
health to us. All the guests were honoured in the programme. Fr Winnifred compered the programme. The programme concluded at 1.15pm with vote of thanks by Rev. fr. Felix Noronha. There after food was served to all the faithful who participated the programme.
Earlier in the morning : The holy mass started at 9:35 , Most Rev. Dr. Filipe Neri Ferrao (Archbishop of Goa and Daman) was the main celebrant of the Eucharistic celebration. There were bishops from whole of Karnataka. The Vicar General Rev. Fr. Felix Noronha, rector of the shrine and the parish priest Rev. Fr. Anthony Peter, Rev. Fr. Yesu Nathan and Rev. Fr. Stany were present on the Eucharistic Altar. The readings of the day were chosen based on the theme of temple and there was solemn procession of the word of God by Rev. Fr. Stany D’souza. The homily was preached by Most. Rev. Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of Udupi. There are very relevant points he presented to the mamouth gathering on the occasion.