Special masses in various languages held as part of the occasion

Considerable religious fervour marked the post-centenary silver jubilee celebrations of the Saint Antony's Church in Coonoor on Sunday.

Special masses in various languages including English, Tamil and Malayalam, a community feast and a procession formed part of the occasion. Since the place of worship enjoyed a reputation of cutting across barriers a large number of people belonging to different religious groups participated in the celebrations.

Pointing out that it was one of the oldest churches of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ootacamund, sources in the diocese told The Hindu that it was one of the most prominent legacies of the British rule.

Way back in 1863 a Catholic priest T.J. Leese had converted a barn in Coonoor into a place of worship for the benefit of soldiers stationed at Wellington.

In 1886, it had been replaced with a bigger structure which a few years later had transformed into an imposing building. In keeping with the growing needs of the town and its people a school had been started nearby.