Preparation for the Feast of the Nativity of Mary in Holy Land
Preparations for the Feast of the Nativity of Mary in this September are already started in the Holy Land, particularly among Indian migrant workers. “Mother Mary is revered with great devotion by the Indian community as a mother and a spiritual figure of maternal protection,” said Fr.Jayaseellan Pitchaimuthu OFM, Head of the Indian Chaplain in Holy Land. She is acknowledged as the protector and patroness of the Indian Chaplaincy in Holy Land because she is a model for the migrants, he told.
Fr.Jayaseellan Pitchaimuthu OFM
Fr.Jayaseellan noted that the Holy Family took refuge in Egypt for safety and settled for livelihood in Nazareth and that Jesus carried out his apostolic mission in Judea, Galilee and Jerusalem. He said, “Many Indian Catholic migrant workers seek grace and invoke (Mary's) motherly protection”.
According to Fr. Pitchaimuthu, the September 7 celebration is expected to draw more than 3,000 migrant workers and pilgrims to Jaffa, Israel. Catholics from Coastal part of Western India popularly call the feast day “Monti Fest,” a time to celebrate the harvest with family and thank God for the fruits of the crops. As part of the celebration, a novena began on August 30, kicking off a week of meditations and intercessory prayers leading up to the feast day.
Fr.Jayaseellan explained that the Marian feast day is particularly important in the Indian context because of its relation to other faiths. Members of other religions, including Hindus and Muslims, “regard Marian devotions in esteem,” he said. Thousands of devotees – both Catholics and non-Catholics – flock every week to the Marian apparition site at Velankanni, near Chennai in South India and other shines that have recorded various miracles, he said. In this way, the father explained, “Marian devotion also leads to a platform for inter-religious dialogue.” Source Catholic News Agency
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