The annual Kurisumala pilgrimage to the hilltop shrine at Vellarada, near here, under the Latin Catholic diocese of Neyyattinkara, begins on Wednesday.

At a press conference here on Saturday, G. Christudas, vicar-general and general convener of the pilgrimage; Rector Father Joy Mathias and diocese secretary Sabu Kurisumala said arrangements were being made to accommodate pilgrims from far and near who flocked to Vellarada for the trek to the hilltop. They said the five-day pilgrimage this year would focus on the theme “The Cross for purity in life.”

Maria Soosapakyam, Metropolitan of the Thiruvananthapuram Latin Archdiocese; Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, Metropolitan of the Syro Malankara Thiruvananthapuram Major Archdiocese; Neyyatinkara Bishop Vincent Samuel; and Punalur Bishop Sylvester Ponnumuthan would lead the rituals connected with the pilgrimage.

Union Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs K.V. Thomas; Shashi Tharoor, MP; Ministers and MLAs are among those expected to participate in a public meeting. The Vellarada gram panchayat and the Kadayalumoodu town panchayat were making arrangements to provide drinking water, food and medical aid for the pilgrims.