Introduction

The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as Mount Mary Church, is a basilica of the Latin Church in India, located in the Bandra neighbourhood of Bombay (Mumbai).

For over a hundred years situated atop a hillock near Lands End Bandra, overlooking the Arabian Sea is Mount Mary’s Basilica a beautiful edifice in stone that simply stands out in its grandeur, an abode of tranquillity, peace, reassurance and hope!

Mount Mary’s, affectionately beckons one and all. No invitations are required to spend time with our Blessed Mother. Once inside this beautiful church even a single glance at Mary with the child Jesus is a feast for the eye, both natural and that of faith.

Thanking God or simply paying homage with the simplest or rarest of gifts, Mount Mary’s provides ample scope. For those who are in need of divine grace, to all of you who are troubled with the problems of daily life, come and worship at the Shrine of Mary. She is the Mother of all mankind. She will grant you solace understanding and Hope. Mother Mary leaves no one unaided.

This website would help you understand the background of this basilica, to keep yourself updated on the timings for the availability of the various services and to become aware of the other special programmes taking place in and around the basilica. You may also use this website to explore the various spiritual questions that time and again come to your mind.

Architecture

This ‘minor basilica’ has morphed from a simple shrine into the current beautiful semi – gothic structure that we see and enjoy today. Over the years, devotion and love for Our Lady have helped scores of people contribute towards its development and upkeep. This editorial helps explain  the architecture of Mount Mary’s . These pictures of the basilica have been carefully shot and chosen, it puts into perspective – dimensions, materials, embellishments that have worked in harmony to create this edifice in stone.

History

ORIGINAL ORATORY

1570 – With the Jesuit Fathers beginning to take care of ministry in Bandra with  headquarters at Santa Ana Church (near the old slaughter house), a simple Oratory made of mud emerges at the Mount near Lands End, for private devotion only. A wooden statue of Our Lady, depicted as the Mother of God was brought by the Jesuits from Portugal and placed on the main altar. This could be considered as the first edifice, which immediately begins to attract a large number of devotees.

1573 – The Priest-in-charge of Bandra area was Fr. Joao Diaz SJ.

1587 – The Mount Mary Oratory is placed under the authority of the Parish of Santa Ana.

1616 – The increase of Christian population required the bifurcation of the old parish of Santa Ana. The parish of St. Andrew was thus created and the Mount Mary Oratory was placed  under the authority of the new Parish of St. Andrew’s.

CHAPEL

1640 – The Mount Mary Oratory is enlarged into a Chapel (2nd edifice) for use of the increasing number of devotees, as well as for the Portuguese garrison stationed in the Fort at Lands End.

1665 – Bombay island is handed over to the British by the Portuguese.

1700 – Bandra was invaded by a pirate army of the Muscat Arabs who, hoping to find treasure, attempted to ransack the Shrine. When disappointed in their expectations, they chopped of the right forearm of the statue, thinking it was of gold! They also intended to set fire to the church, when a huge army of bees attacked them so cruelly that they were forced to abandon their evil intentions and leave. As the statue was damaged, it was probably stored in the lumber room, and, in order not to disappoint the pilgrims, the statue of Our Lady of Navigators from the side altar of St. Andrew’s Church was brought to the Mount. 

1739 – The last Jesuit Vicar of St Andrew’s, Fr Thomas Villanova SJ leaves Bandra, and a local Priest, Fr. Paulo Dias, took charge of St. Andrew’s Parish and the Mount Mary Chapel.

1741-61  Public devotion at the Mount comes to a standstill because of political instability and a lack of priests to look after the Shrine.

CHURCH

1761 – Mount Mary Chapel was rebuilt for the third time. The broken statue of Our Lady of the Mount was repaired by placing a detachable Child Jesus on it; the statue that was brought from St. Andrew’s Church was returned to its original place. This same year, the Archbishop of Goa, Dom Antonio Taveira de Neiva Brum da Silveira, established the Confraternity of Nossa Senhora de Monte attached to the Chapel.

1848 – Fr. Antonio Joaquim da Silva, curate of St Andrew’s since 1839, was known as “Chaplain of Nossa Senhora de Monte” he now lies buried in the sacristy of St Andrew’s.

1848-52  – With financial aid from Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy and family, in gratitude for favours received, a road was constructed from the Bandra end of the newly-built Mahim Causeway to Mount Mary Church.

1869-79 –  Fr Ersamo Francisco Xavier who was now Chaplain renovated and embellished the chapel. He probably added a glass portico in front of the chapel.

1882  – The Chaplain, Fr Elias Hypolito Fernandes (from Chuim), renovated the Chapel yet again.

1885 – Mahim causeway came to be built, as well as the linking of the railway line, causing a greater influx of pilgrims to the shrine.

1895 – A major devastating plague broke out in Mumbai.

Minor Basilica

1902 – Despite the plague the Fathers of St Andrew’s go ahead with the project of building a better edifice on the Mount. The project is taken up by Fr Placid Hilary Henriques (Vicar of St Andrew’s) with the help of Fr Elias Braz Dias and Fr Pedro Antonio Fernandes. This foundation stone was only laid on 11th May 1902 by His Grace Archbishop D. Sebastiao Jose Pereira of Damaun (who lies buried in the shrine). The Architect was Mr. S. N. Chandabhoy, and most of the materials were brought by sea, and lifted up with the help of bullock carts and donkeys.

1904 – The present Church, the fourth edifice, is completed and thrown open to pilgrims, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Promulgation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

1943 – Archbishop Thomas Roberts gave the shrine an independent status under a Rector of its own, in the person of Msgr. Dominic de Sa. (1st Rector of the shrine)

1950 – Msgr. Placidus Edward Fernandes constructed the Rectory “Marianella”.

1954 – Inauguration of Oratory of Our Lady of Fatima, on 5th Dec., opposite the Church. This was the occasion of the Marian Year when for the first time the statue of Our Lady of the Mount was taken on a pilgrimage to all the parishes of the city, suburbs and Vasai. On 2nd Dec the statue was brought back with pomp to the Shrine, where Cardinal Valerian Gracias warmly welcomed this beloved Mot Mavli back in its abode. On 5th December, the Cardinal crowned the statue of Our Lady and the Child Jesus with gold crowns. That same day the Church was given the status of a Minor Basilica by Pope Pius XII. 

1964 – Pope Paul VI, on a visit to Bombay for the International Eucharistic Congress, graced this beautiful Basilica with a visit.

1986 – St. Pope John Paul II, on a visit to India, visited the Basilica.

Feast Day - 8th September

The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated here on the first Sunday after 8 September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary. The feast is followed by a week-long celebration known locally as the Bandra Fair and is visited by thousands of people.

The Bandra Fair (Annual Feast)

The term Bandra Fair refers to the celebrations that are connected with the annual Feast of Our Lady of the Mount on 8th September, known as the Feast of the Nativity (Birth) of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It becomes an important historical event, because with the birth of Mary comes “the dawn of our salvation”, since Mary’s Son, Jesus, would be the Saviour of the world. If Mary had not consented to be the Mother of God, to bear Jesus in Her womb there would have been no Redemption. Mary’s answer of “yes” to the Angel at the Annunciation ensured mankind’s deliverance from sin. We do not know the exact birthday of Mary, and so 8th Sept   has been fixed by tradition. Devotees will therefore throng to the Basilica on this day; a shamiana erected for the purpose ensures that the pilgrims can celebrate Mass in the shamiana and then enter the Basilica to pay homage to Our Lady.

But this feast is too solemn to be contained in a day! 

The official Feast is celebrated over an “Octave”, i.e. an eight-day period, from the Sunday after the 8th of September to the next Sunday. And this eight-day celebration is preceded by a nine-day “novena” of prayer directed to the Virgin Mary. That makes the Bandra Feast last a total of 17 days! During the novena, the masses are both in the mornings and evenings; during the octave, masses are only in the mornings, leaving the Basilica free for “darshan” especially for those of other faiths.

Things To Do

People who suffer from any disease bring wax figures depicting their illnesses to the Mount Mary Church in the hope that they would be cured. For example, a person with a broken leg will bring a wax figure of a leg.

Mass Time

Sundays

  • 6.30am Mass in English Basilica

  • 8.00 am Mass in English Basilica

  • 9.30 am Mass in English Basilica

Personal Prayer / Darshan

  • 6.00 am to 1.00 pm

  • 3.00 pm to 8.00 pm

Weekdays

  • 6.30 am Mass in English Basilica

  • 7.30 am Mass in English Basilica

Personal Prayer / Darshan

  • 9.00 am to 1.00 pm

  • 3.00 pm to 8.00 pm

Contact Info

Mount Mary Road, Near Shanthi Avedna Sadan,Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount,Bandra (West), Mumbai , Maharashtra – 400 050, India

Phone No.

Nearby Places

‘Father Agnel’ is another church sited on Carter Road, close to Mount Mary Church. The famous Jogger’s Park is also situated in Bandra and is a must-visit for all tourists.

Connectivity

Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, Bandra is well connected Bus Station, Railway Station and Airport facilities rest of the country.

Airways

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, is the closest airport, the Basilica is situated approximately 12 Kms. from the international airport and about 8 Kms. from the domestic airport.

Railways

The closest railway stop is the historical Bandra Station, it is approximately 2.5 Kms. away.

Roadways

The public bus (BEST) route no. 211 from the Bandra Station turn arounds at Lands End. From there a fairly steep but short uphill climb (via Kane Rd.) to the Basilica is required. Another bus route no. 214 from the Bandra station too has its turnaround point near the steps of the Mount via St. John the Baptist Rd. This bus stop is referred to as ‘Mount Mary Steps’ these steps allow one access from the eastern side but are used only as an exit route during the Bandra Fair in September.

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