Lakhs of People witnessed the Annual Jatra Mahotsav of the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Health, Harihara, Diocese of Shimoga – KONKANCATHOLIC.COM

Lakhs of People witnessed the Annual Jatra Mahotsav of the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Health, Harihara, Diocese of Shimoga

September 9, 2023

Davanagere, Harihara, September 8, 2023: Annual Feast of Harihara Matha, Minor Basilica, which is known as “Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary” celebrated at Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Health, Harihara, in a grand manner. Lakhs of people from all corners of Karnataka as well as outside Karnataka witnessed the annual Jatra Mahotsav of Harihar Matha Basilica. 

History has it from time immemorial that, according to tradition, a non-Christian devotee, while taking a bath, accidentally fell into the swelling river Tungabhadra, on whose banks Harihar is now situated. Being on the verge of drawing and in great fear of death, he saw the floating statue of Our Lady of Health and caught hold of it, and that eventually saved his life. Thereafter, on reaching home, his wife and children, on touching the statue of Our Lady of Health, were miraculously and providentially healed of their diseases- tuberculosis and paralysis, respectively.

Then onwards he dedicated himself completely to the service of Our Lady and his house to the glory of the Mother. Soon after his death, he was laid to rest in a place where his house existed. Later on, that same house was converted into a church, which is situated on the banks of the River Tungabhadra. This Shrine has been frequented by the people of Karnataka, irrespective of caste, language, or religion. No doubt, it can surely be called the “Vailankanni of Karnataka”. Then, in 1833, Fr Bigot is reported to have built a prayer hall in Harihar.

During the Annual Feast, the original statue of Mother Mary is installed in a place adjacent to the Church. People form a queue spreading around 2 to 3 kilometres, waiting patiently for their turn to have a darshan of the mother, holding coconuts, candles, flowers, and offerings with the intention to keep them at the foot of the Mother .

Harihar is a town situated in the Davangere district of Karnataka. Erstwhile Mysuru Kings, followed by the British. Harihar, though belonging to Mysuru State, was part of Chitradurga Division. Later on, in 1875 AD, the British Government brought together a few adjacent villages under Harihar and formed it into a taluk centre with the establishment of a taluk office.

A new Church dedicated to Our Lady of Health was built on August 31, 1992, by Rev. Fr Jesu Rakshaka Nadhan and inaugurated by Most Rev. Dr Ignatius Pinto, then Bishop of the Diocese of Shimoga.

On May 27, 2012, during the time of Rev. Fr Stany D’Souza, with the efforts of then Bishop Most Rev. Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, the Shrine was officially declared a Diocesan shrine of the Diocese of Shimoga.

During the time of Rev. Fr Anthony Peter and with the efforts of the present bishop, Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ, the Vatican raised the Shrine of Our Lady of Health, Harihar, to the status of a Minor Basilica on September 18, 2019.

This is the third shrine in Karnataka to have received the status of Minor Basilica after St. Mary’s Minor Basilica in the Archdiocese of Bangalore and St. Lawrence Minor Basilica in the Diocese of Udupi. The official celebration of this milestone was held on January 15, 2020, with the Holy Eucharist celebrated by CCBI President His Eminence Cardinal Philip Neri, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, together with the Bishops of Karnataka.

The theme for the feast of our Lady of Health this year was “The Life of Mother Mary: A Source of Inspiration for Women”. The festal celebration commenced with the flag hoisting on August 30, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. by Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ, Bishop of the Diocese of Shimoga, & Shri. S. S. Mallikarjun, Hon’ble Minister of Mines, Geology, and Horticulture, Government of Karnataka.

The novenas were held from August 30 to September 7, 2023, at 5:30 p.m., along with the recitation of the Rosary in procession, Novena prayers, floral homage, and celebration of the Holy Eucharist with preaching on a given theme by the main celebrant and healing adoration with benediction.

On September 7th, the concelebrated high mass was in Kannada at 5:30 p.m. by Most Rev. Dr Robert Miranda, Bishop of the Diocese of Gulbarga, together with Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ, Bishop of the Diocese of Shimoga, & clergy. The Eucharistic celebration was followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a prayer service for the sick by Fr Franklin D’Souza, Fr Roman Pinto, & Bro. T. K. George. The prayer service was continued on September 8 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

The feast of Nativity of Our Lady of Health was celebrated on September 8, 2023. The feast day began with the celebration of Holy Mass at 5:15 a.m. in Kannada, 6 a.m. in Telugu, and 7 a.m. in Malayalam (Syro Malabar Rite) by Most Rev. Dr Joseph Arumachadath, Bishop of the Diocese of Bhadravati, 8:45 a.m. in Tamil, 10 a.m. in English, 11 a.m. festal Mass in Kannada by Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ, Bishop of the Diocese of Shimoga At 1:15 p.m. Mass in Konkani and 2:30 p.m. healing adoration by the Yesusparsha Team 4 p.m. Mass in Kannada, 5 p.m. solemn procession, and 8 p.m. Mass in Kannada

In the evening, the chariot decorated with chrysanthemums was blessed by Rev. Fr George K. A., Rector, and Parish Priest at 5:00 p.m. and taken in procession in the prominent streets of Harihar town. As the procession moved, people belonging to other religions stood on either side to have a Darshan of the Mother and receive blessings. The roads were cleaned and decorated with rangoli.

Thousands of devotees received the special graces and blessings showered on them and their families through the Devotion of Mother Mary.

Lakhs of devotees of Mother Mary flocked together with all their petitions and thanksgiving for the favours they received.

Rev. Fr Duming Dias was the convener of the feast. Rev. Fr Roman Pinto and Rev. Fr Pius D’Souza were the emcees; Rev. Fr Venil D’Silva and Rev. Fr Lawrence D’Souza were in charge of the liturgy. Rev. Fr Regi, SDB, led the choir.

Rev. Fr George K. A., Rector of Our Lady of Health Basilica, thanked all those who helped make this feast a success.

On September 9th & 10th, celebrations of the Holy Eucharist will be held in Kannada at 8:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 3 & 6 p.m. for the intentions of the people living in the vicinity.

Links about the annual feast: