The annual feast of Infant Jesus will be held at Infant Jesus shrine at Bikarnakatte here on January 14 at 6 pm.
Carmelite Monastery Superior Rev Fr Wilfred Rodrigues told reporters here on Wednesday that the grand mass will be presided over by Lucknow diocese Bishop Rev Dr Gerald J Mathias along with OCD Provincial Rev Fr Charles Serrao among other priests.
The festive mass would be held on January 15 too and the feast mass at 10.30 am will be celebrated by Mangalore diocese Bishop Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza.
As part of the feast, a votive offering procession will be taken out from Jayashree Gate-Kaikamba to Infant Jesus shrine followed by flag hoisting on January 4 at 6 pm.
Meanwhile, a nine-day novena, in preparation to the feast, would commence on January 5.
Stating that there will be nine masses everyday during the novena days, he said that devotees will be provided with lunch after the 10.30 am mass. During the nine days of novena, each day will be dedicated for special intentions. They include: Youth (Jan 5), Children (Jan 6), Teachers (Jan 7), Those abroad (Jan 8), Couple (Jan 9), Workers (Jan 10), Sick (Jan 11), Religious (Jan 12), Benefactors (Jan 13) and Devotees (Jan 14 and 15).
150 years history
Giving details about the history of the shrine, Infant Jesus shrine Director Rev Fr Prakash D'Cunha said that though the chapel was built in 1947 under the care of Carmelite priests, the devotion to Infant Jesus began 150 years ago. However, it took a definite form in Mangaluru after the Belgian Carmelites took over, especially, after those staffing the erstwhile Quilon Seminary, decided on founding a house of monastic observance in the port city.
For this purpose, two Belgian priests, Marcel and Hyacinth, were sent to Mangaluru in 1947. They explored the city in search of a suitable site until they came across Carmel Hill where the construction work of the Chapel commenced. At first, the devotional service to the Infant Jesus consisted of a mere prayer which was recited on Thursdays after the Mass in the morning. Later, for the convenience of the people, the Mass with its subsequent devotion in an elaborate form was shifted to Thursdays in the evening. By the year 1980, Carmel Hill was frequented on Thursday evening by people even from afar and thus it came to be a centre for this devotion. The growing crowd brought the need of a bigger place. Hence, the beautiful shrine was constructed and was inaugurated by former Bishop of Mangalore diocese Rev Fr Basil D'Souza on January 11, 1996.
On the occasion, Fr Rodrigues, Fr D'Cunha and Elias Fernandes released the calender of the shrine.