Udupi, Jan 06 2018: Around 10,000 people at least are likely to attend the inauguration and blessing of the newly built boat-shaped Stella Maris Church at Kalmady near Udupi today January 6, Saturday.
Parish Priest Rev Fr Alban D’Souza, who has been devotedly involved in the new building project, said that it is an enduring legacy for the people of Kalmady. The newly built church is an architectural marvel and has all the elements of history, mystery and majesty.
The inaugural programme will commence with solemn thanks giving Eucharistic celebration. Udupi Bishop Rev Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Mangaluru Bishop Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’souza, Shivamogga Bishop Rev Dr Francis Serrao, and Gulbarga Bishop Rev Dr Robart Miranda will lead the celebration.
To mark the inauguration, a musical extravaganza ‘Wilfy Nite’ will be held at 5:30 pm.
Stella Maris Church had a humble beginning way back on February 6, 1972, consequent to the collective wisdom and initiative of a handful of faithful, who until then were parishioners partly of Udupi and partly of Thottam. Capt (Retd) late Rev Fr Charles D’Souza, a deeply religious, philanthropist priest was the first officiating priest at Kalmady. It was during the tenure of Rev Fr Denis Castelino that Stella Maris gained devotional acclaim. This devotion was further animated and enhanced by Fr Castelino by the solemn installation of the Icon of Our Lady of Vailankanni in 1988.
Noah’s Ark is the concept behind the unique boat-shaped architecture of Stella Maris Church. The Noah’s Ark is a biblical story which tells how all creation was safeguarded from being destroyed in a flood. Similarly, the church aims to be the ark which will provide refuge to people and help them sail through hard times of life. The new church can accommodate 1,000 people at a time. The main altar is also designed in a boat shape and the walls are adorned with paintings depicting the life of Jesus.
The belfry tower replicates the Kaup Light House. The tower is nearly 80-feet tall and the staircase is also constructed similar to the light house design. The bell is brought from Hamburg, Germany and weighs 305 kg. Just as the light from the lighthouse guides the travellers’ safely to the shores, the ringing of the bell from the belfry reminds people of God, calls them to prayer and worship that leads them to God, said Rev Fr Alban D’Souza, the Parish priest who has prayed and worked hard for this blessing.