Location of Mount Mary Church
Mount Mary Church, better known as Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as Mount Mary Church, is a Roman Catholic Basilica located in Bandra, in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
History of Mount Mary Church
Mount Mary Church was destroyed in the year 1738 during a raid by the Maratha armies. Although the current church edifice is just 100 years old, the history behind the current statue of Our Lady goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to the current location and constructed a chapel. In 1700 Arab pirates interested in the gilt-lined object held in the hand disfigured the statue by cutting off the right hand. In the year 1760, Mount Mary Church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators in St. Andrews church nearby. This statue has an interesting legend. It goes that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. The statue was found floating in the sea between 1700 and 1760. A Jesuit Annual Letter dated to 1669 and published in the book St. Andrew's Church, Bandra (1616-1966) supports this claim.
Architecture of Mount Mary Church
Mount Mary Church stands on a hillock, about 80 metres above sea level overlooking the Arabian Sea. Mount Mary Church draws lakhs of devotees and pilgrims annually. Many of the faithful attest to the miraculous powers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The shrine of Mount Mary Church attracts the pilgrims from all faiths who pray to Virgin Mary for expressing their gratitude or requesting favours.
Celebration in Mount Mary Church
The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated in Mount Mary Church on the first Sunday after 8th September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary. The feast of Mount Mary Church is followed by a week-long celebration known locally as the Bandra Fair. The Bandra Fair is visited by thousands of people of national and international level. During Bandra Fair, the entire area of Blessed Virgin Mary is decorated with festoons and buntings. Many pitch up stalls selling religious articles, roasted grams, snacks and sweets. The wax figures of the Virgin Mary, along with an assortment of candles shaped like hands, feet and various other parts of the body are sold at kiosks. The sick and the suffering choose a candle or wax figure that corresponds to their ailment and light it in Blessed Virgin Mary, with the pious hope that Mother Mary will consider their appeals for help.
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