(Last Updated on : 02/06/2015)
Saint Joseph Church is one of the significant holy shrines situated at Panagudi in Tamil Nadu state of India
. It is under the Diocese of Tuticorin. This Catholic community
holds almost 850 families. The church
is associated with many miraculous events and is visited by many pilgrims from southern Tamil Nadu. The Patron saint
of Saint Joseph Church is Saint Joseph. He is known as 'Punitha Soosaiyappar' in the local area. Sometimes referred to as Valanaar', he is regarded as the husband of Virgin Mary and the foster father of Jesus Christ
. A carpenter by profession, he is believed to be a descendant of King David of Israel. Saint Joseph had been renowned for his creation of beautiful wooden objects and is the head of Holy Family. He is considered as the Patron of the Universal Church, Education
, Families, Marriage, Chastity, Workers and Peaceful Death.
History of Saint Joseph Church
Panagudi, a panchayat town in Tirunelveli district
was set up as a separate Parish on 24 December 1939. A school was started here in 1938 by the Brothers of Sacred Heart. In the year 1870, five acres of land was acquired by Fr. Gregory. He built a small church as a tribute to St. Joseph. Later, it was repaired and renovated in between the years 1891 to 1892. At that time, the church remained under the Kaavalkinaru parish. The first parish priest of Saint Joseph Church was Fr. Soosainather. Under the supervision and direction of Fr. Devota, the convent of the Sisters of Servites of Mary was set up in the year 1945. Even the Parish priest's House was established during this time. A 36 feet high stone pillar was built by Fr. Remigius in 1947 for hoisting a flag
in the church. In 1954, Fr. Xavier next initiated Legion of Mary. The famous Decorative Car was built in the year 1962 by Fr. Lourdhumani in honour of Saint Joseph.
In between the years from 1962 to 1972, the Welfare Association of Saint Joseph was formed by Fr. Devasagayam Fernando. The present structure of the church was built between the years from 1972 to 1981 during the time of Fr. Sengolmani. After the construction of the church, it was consecrated by Bishop of Tuticorin Rev. Amalanather. In 1990 the grotto of Our Lady of Vailankanni was built by Fr. Paneerselvam. The statue of Sacred Heart was lifted at the peak of the Church tower in the year 1995 by Fr. Devasagayam. He also set up a stage known as Valanaar Kalaiyarangam. Saint Joseph Church observed its Silver Jubilee in 2001. The celebration of the church was done under the guidance of Fr. John Bosco. The church was raised to the status of a shrine on 5 December 2001. Fr. Isidore was then the parish priest of the church.
Festivals of Saint Joseph Church
The Saint Joseph Church organizes various events throughout the year. It also celebrates many festivals on a grand scale. Every year during the New Year that is on 1st January different types of competition programs are organized for all. The winners are then declared and bestowed with prizes. The first Wednesdays of every month is observed by the devotees as the day for St. Joseph. Special morning and evening prayers are conducted on this day. The month of March is also dedicated to St. Joseph. It is celebrated with great festivity by the parishioners. Food
feast is organized by the church on Wednesday of the holy week. The St. Joseph's festival is also celebrated every year from 22nd April to 1st May with great dedication.