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Feb 08, 2013, 02.13 PM IST | Source: PTI

Emissary of Pope to consecrate massive church

Emissary of Pope to consecrate massive church

Nagapattinam (TN) Feb 7 (PTI) Cardinal Fernando Filoni, emissary of Pope Benedict will consecrate a massive church with a capacity to seat 15,000 persons at the famous pilgrim centre of Vailankanni on February 10. Over 160 Catholic Bishops from all over the country and abroad have arrived at Vailankanni to witness the event, church source said. Named after a popular Marian invocation, the 'Morning Star Church' has been erected on the Northern side of the Holy Path at Vailankanni. It is 400 feet long,138 feet wide and 40 feet in height, resembles a shell and is unique as there are no intermediate columns inside, they said. The church as been designed based on Portuguese artistic nuances. The front elevation has been designed to look exactly like the present Basilica at Vailankanni. The church will be consecrated on Sunday at the end of the five-day conference of the Catholic Bishops. Ambassador of the Pope in India Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Latin Rite Oswald Cardina Gracias, President of Conference of Catholic Bishops in India Cardinal Telespore Toppo, Bishop of Thanjavur Devdoss Ambrose, Rector of Vailankanni Shrine Michael Adigalar and other dignitaries are participating. The ancient Vailankanni church became an independent parish in 1771. Considering its growing popularity worldwide and the miracles experienced by devotees, Pope John XXIII raised this Shrine to status of 'Basilica' on Nov 3 1962. In addition to getting this status Pope John Paul II had declared this Shrine as 'Lourdes of the East' in 2002. PTI COR APR MNS SS

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