The Shrine of our Lady of Health Vailankanni (locally addressed as Arokia Matha) was elevated to the status of a Minor Basilica by his Holiness Pope John Paul XXIII through an Apostolic Brief on 3.11.1962. This inscriptions can be seen at the entrance to the Basilica. Thousands of pilgrims visit this place throughout the year. It is heavily crowded during the annual feast between 28th August to 8th September every year. It is well documented in the Shrine Museum the miracles that happened in the lives of the devotees over the years and offerings by way of gold, silver, candles, flowers and other articles pour in every day.
There is a Church behind the Basilica and a new church by name “Morning Star” is coming up in the campus. Devotional services in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi & English are held in the church. The Basilica is thronged with devotees either praying or giving offerings. Adjacent to the Basilica is a prayer hall where devotees pray in complete silence. It is a divine experience to pray in that hall and in the Basilica.
The Church provides accommodation to a large number of pilgrims in the buildings constructed in the campus slightly away from the Basilica and Church. Arrangements are available for the pilgrims to do their own cooking, if they so desire. There are hotels available on the road to the Church.
I visited Vailankanni with family on 3rd October, 2013 on a pilgrimage to thank our Lady of Health for granting us a grandson after 8 years.
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