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» 12/29/2011
INDIA
Our Lady of Velankanni, the "Lourdes of the East" celebrates 50 years
by Santosh Digal
An hour of prayer a day throughout 2012. John XXIII elevated the shrine in Tamil Nadu to basilica, November 3, 1962. During the 2005 tsunami, the "Lourdes of the East" saved the lives of people who were inside.

Velankanni (AsiaNews) - An hour of prayer a day, until December 31, 2012, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Health in Vailankanni (Tamil Nadu). At the heart of the intentions are interreligious dialogue and ecumenism, but also the health of parishioners, priests, nuns, bishops and benefactors who have dedicated their lives to the development of the "Lourdes of the East" as John Paul II called the sanctuary in 2002.

"To celebrate this jubilee year - Fr A. Michael, rector of the sanctuary explains to AsiaNews - we decided to build a new, large church, called "Morning Star" and will accommodate over 15 thousand people. "

Each year, the "Lourdes of the East" welcomes pilgrims from around the world. After the 2005 tsunami, thousands of people of all religions, not only Catholics go to seek solace in the sanctuary and pay homage to Mary. At that time, the tsunami hit the Marian hard shrine: about 850 people died, 300 others were swept away by the fury of the waves. But those who sought refuge inside the chapel, were unhurt.

From the 16th century, the area surrounding the shrine was the scene of a series of Marian apparitions. The first witness was a Hindu boy carrying milk, of whom Our Lady asked for milk for her son, who she held in her arms. A few years later, following a similar apparition, the Virgin asked him to build a chapel in her honor. Then, in the 17th century, a group of Portuguese sailors cried Mary Star of the Sea, to save them from shipwreck. Once safely landed on the coast of Tamil Nadu, they elevated the Shrine of Our Lady of Health on the foundations of the chapel built about a century before.

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See also
09/01/2007 INDIA
Millions of pilgrims on foot towards the Lourdes of the East
02/09/2009 INDIA
Thousands of pilgrims to the "Lourdes of the East" pray for life, against euthanasia
by Nirmala Carvalho
08/13/2004 POPE - LOURDES - INDIA
Gunadala, India's Lourdes
03/22/2010 VIETNAM
First steps to rebuild the shrine of La Vang
by J.B. VU
05/26/2006 LEBANON
Five thousand take part in the 'Asian Women Pilgrimage' to Our Lady of Lebanon
by Youssef Hourany

Editor's choices
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.
ITALY - IRAQ
After raising € 350,000, 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraDonations raised up to 31 August have been sent to the patriarch of Baghdad and the bishops of Kurdistan. The campaign helps to feed, house, clothe, and bring comfort to more than 150,000 Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shia and Sunni refugees who fled the violence of the army of the Islamic Caliphate. People in Italy and around the world have been generous, including the poor and the unemployed, a sign of hope for the world as well as those who suffer and those who give.
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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