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For Irla Church, golden jubilee begins

2018 will herald the start of the golden jubilee year of Our Lady of Health of Velankanni Church. Located in an alley at Vile Parle, this shrine is more known as Irla Church resonating the Irla Society Lane it is located.

For Irla Church, golden jubilee begins

2018 will herald the start of the golden jubilee year of Our Lady of Health of Velankanni Church. Located in an alley at Vile Parle, this shrine is more known as Irla Church resonating the Irla Society Lane it is located.

From a small shed in early sixties, this church land was donated by a local resident and most interestingly a four feet Marian statue was sent here under the supervision of Pontifical Institute for Mission Extension all the way from Italy. Many parish members still remember walking to the airport – not far away – to welcome the statue in its full glory.

With not more than 250 families, the Church was expanded in 1977. But with residents leaving for suburbs for a better bargain to accommodate extended family members, the numbers have almost remained firm.

But people from all over Mumbai – and in many case even from remote places in Maharashtra – starts pouring each year from August last week when annual novenas begins and this rush increases as September 8 comes, Mother Mary’s birthday.

What brings such a huge number of devotees from various faiths is the belief of miraculous healing results. There are so many sick and invalids in the crowd that the Church has to arrange medical facilities, doctors and nurses. Prayer requests can also be filled up in a form and handed over or dropped in a box. The priests regularly check the boxes and pray over these requests.

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