Staff Reporter

Over 1 lakh pilgrims expected for event

HYDERABAD: The nine-day-long Novena prayers at the Shrine of Our Lady of Health at AC Guards here will culminate with special mass, including a Pontifical High Mass by Hyderabad Archbishop Marampudi Joji on Friday.

Over 1 lakh pilgrims from across the State and from the adjoining States are expected to gather at the shrine, known popularly as the Arogya Matha shrine, as they have been doing ever since the curtains went up on the festival on August 29.

Mass at 4 a.m.

On Friday, the proceedings will begin with a birthday mass at 4 a.m. by parish priest Father Thumma Solomon, which will be followed by mass in Telugu at 5 a.m., in English at 6 a.m. and in Tamil at 7 a.m. A concelebrated High Mass in English will be presided over by Bishop-Emeritus Mathew Cheriakunnel at 8.45 a.m. which will be followed by the Pontifical High Mass at 10.30 a.m.

The statue of Mother Mary, said to have miraculous powers, will be kept for public veneration in the church while prayer services will be held at the specially erected altar on the church premises. A car procession with the statue will be taken out at 4 p.m., Fr. Solomon said.

The State Road Transport Corporation will run special buses for the festival from various junctions of the twin cities and its suburbs while the city police, MCH, Electricity Board and the Water Works personnel will also be rendering their services, he added.