Timings - Opening & Closing:
Monday - Friday: 5.00 AM - 9.00 PM ,
Saturday: 5.00 AM - 9.00 PM ,
Sunday: 5.00 AM - 9.00 PM ,
Public Holidays: 5.00 AM - 9.00 PM
Velankanni Church, one of the religious sites, is situated on the Bay of Bengal coast. The holy shrine was constructed in the memory of the Lady of Health, also known as the Madonna of Velankanni. She was renowned among the people for possessing miraculous powers. Dedicated to Virgin Mary and the Heavenly Mother, this church is popular as a Sacred Arogya Matha Church.
According to the manuscripts, Mother Mary once visited this shrine with Jesus in the 16th or early 17th century. It is also said that Mary appeared in the dreams of Father Arulappa and expressed her desire of having a church in her name. For constructing the same, Arulappa along with J.P Dsouza, an engineer, finally established an Annai Velankanni Church at the site.
Housing a 97 feet Belfry, the church was started in 1971 and was opened in 1972. Offerings are made to God in the form of different shapes of candles, such as in case of jaundice, a liver shaped candle is offered. The preservation centre at the church exhibits small golden or silver replicas of the organs that have been presented to God after the disease has been cured.
Representing a Gothic style of architecture, the building of the church is painted white, while the roof is covered with red tiles. The church organises Holy masses in eight languages namely, English, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu, Hindi, Konkani and Marathi.
The local people state that the Goddess performed three miracles at different sites, which provided a platform for construction of the Basilica. The premises of the church witnessed the appearance of Mary with the baby Christ, the rescue of the Portuguese sailors from the dangerous sea and curing a lame buttermilk vendor.
After the safe landing of the Portuguese sailors, they constructed a chapel whose annual feast is organised in the month of September as Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.