Know a Parish: Our Lady of Ransom Church, Kanyakumari
Our Lady of Ransom Church at Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu is an architectural wonder in Gothic style on the sea beach attracting thousands of pilgrims and tourists.
August 15 is Assumption and Independence Day when Mother Mary and mother India are remembered by millions of people. Both were elevated to a higher plane – Mary to heaven and India to the ‘heaven of freedom’ as Tagore sang.
On this occasion let us look at a church dedicated to Mary our mother. Our Lady of Ransom Church at Kanyakumariin Tamil Nadu is an architectural wonder in Gothic style on the sea beach attracting thousands of pilgrims and tourists especially during the annual feast that begins with the flag hoisting on the following Friday immediately after the feast of St. Francis Xavier on 3 December.The first day of the feast begins with the flag hoisting.
The ninth day evening has special vespers and celebrations held. The culmination of the feast is the golden car procession: two golden cars are taken on the 9th and 10th days of the feasts. Our Lady of Ransom is taken in procession in the 1st car, which was made in 1798. St. Joseph, the spouse of Mary is taken in procession in the 2nd car, which was made in 1833. In 1542 Saint Francis Xavier came here and found Our Lady of Delights grotto which later became Our Lady of Ransom Church as Mary is the Patron of the congregation in Spain which redeemed the Christians from Muslim invasion in the year 1218.
The local people call her Alangara Upkara Matha and that is the name for this parish in Tamil.
Foundation stone was laid on 31 May 1900 for the present Church which is 153 feet long and 153 feet high with 12 towers that depict 12 disciples. This parish with 12839 Catholics finds a prominent place in the tourism map of Tamil Nadu.
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