People from far-flung areas to throng the shrine

The annual Mary Matha fest at the holy shrine atop Gunadala hill is all set to begin from Sunday (February 9).

The three-day carnival will witness lakhs of devotees thronging the place to seek the blessings of the presiding deity of the church.

The structure has acquired additional sheen with the entire sprawl illuminated with colour lights and festoons.

The nine-day special prayers offered at the church located on the foot of the hill, from January 31 to February 8 marked commencement of the annual festival. A special holy mass conducted by Rev. Guda M. Raju at 7 a.m. will mark the beginning of the three-day event. ‘Kolatam’, a holy procession, songs from the scriptures and a ballad based on Bible stories will follow.

The church attracts a large number of people from all faiths during this time of the year. People from far-flung areas throng the shrine to offer hair or to fulfil other vows. They break coconuts and seek the Mother’s blessings.

After praying at the church, the faithful head to the statue at the grotto.

“The widening of the winding pathway and deepening of the grotto and levelling of the ground in front was taken up by Vicar General A. Bianchi, Rev. Bertoli and Rev. Cripp decades back,” Fr. M. Chinnappa, Rector of the shrine, told a press conference here on Friday. The hill is also believed to possess powers of breaking the curse of barrenness. The Gunadala Matha is also synonymous for healing power.

Rev. Fr. B. Praveen Kumar will lead the second day (Monday) mass while on Tuesday the holy mass would be conducted by Fr. Govindu Joji.

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