Three-day Mary Matha festival off to a grand start in Gunadala
The precincts of Bishop Grassi High School at Gunadala, the venue of the annual Mary Matha festival, was abuzz with activity on Saturday, the first day of the three-day carnival.
Vijayawada Catholic Diocese Bishop Govind Joji formally launched the festival by lighting the traditional jyoti.
The Mary Matha fest attracts devotees from across the southern States. People from far-flung areas throng the place in droves to seek the blessings of Mother Mary, the presiding deity of the Gunadala hill.
Besides Bishop Joji, the Mary Matha Shrine Rector M. Chinnappa, Social Service Centre Director M. Prasad, Chancellor Father J. Johnraj and others conducted the special mass.
Addressing the devotees, Bishop Joji said Mother Mary was the most appropriate path to join the Christ. She was a woman of faith, courage, humility, and prayer. An epitome of divine grace and wisdom, Mother Mary has inspired scores of devotees for ages to walk the path of truthfulness and righteousness, he said.
Pointing to the fact that Pope Benedict 16 had declared the ongoing year as ‘Year of Faith’, he urged every Christian to believe in the Mother. After the special mass, the devotees were offered Holy Communion, also called ‘Lord’s Supper’, a special way of having close contact with God himself.
A Bible exhibition organised in the second floor of Bishop Grassi High School by members of Prerna Youth Centre attracted many visitors. A kolatam by kids, besides other spiritual and cultural programmes organised on the premises, kept the devotees hooked to the place.
At 3 p.m., the devotees took out a procession carrying an idol of Mary Matha and walking through the lanes and bylines of Gunadala area.
The evening mass was led by Hyderabad Bishop S. Bernard.
Songs in praise of Christ, a burra katha on a Biblical theme, spiritual discourses and dramas performed by groups of devotees from different places marked the celebrations, which continued through the night.