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Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, Bandra

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Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, Bandra

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 tranquility, 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.

 

BASILICA 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.

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