The 47th annual Festival of the Annai Vailankanni Shrine, Besant Nagar, Chennai is being celebrated from 29 August, Thursday to 8″ September, 2019, Sunday, The Eleven Day festival commences at 5.30 pm on 29″ August, 2017, Thursday with the Hoisting of the Flag by Most Rev. Dr. George Antonysamy, DD, Archbishop of Madras Mylapore. It will be preceded by a procession of the 12 feet Festival Flag of Our Lady of Good Health and after the blessing, it will be hoisted in the 75 feet Flag Post in the Shrine Campus.
The theme of the Festival for this year is “Mary the Tabernacle of God!!” Each day of the Festival is observed as a special day like Vocation Day, Youth Day, Pious Association, Day, Holy Eucharist Day, Workers’ Day, Teachers’ Day, Family Day, Day of Healing, Day of Annai Vailankanni and Birthday of Blessed Virgin Mary – Solemnity. Special Prayers will be conducted on these days. Holy Masses to shower love and mercy to the group of people identified for these days. Holy Masses will be celebrated each day during the Festival Days from Morning till Evening and there will be Car Procession for the special days after the 5.30 pm Holy Mass.
On the 7th September at 5.30pm the Most Rev. Dr. George Antonysamy, Archbishop of Madras- Mylapore will preside over the concelebrated High Mass with the Priests of the Archdiocese followed by the Grand Car procession. 8th September is the Birthday of Our Blessed Mother of Vailankanni and also the feast of the Shrine. There will be continuous Holy Masses from 3.30 am till evening. After the 7.45 am English Mass and before the 9.30 am Tamil Mass, there will be Crowning of Our Blessed Mother. After the 5.30 pm Mass, lowering of the Flag will take place.
The Shrine started in the year 1972 by Rev Fr. P T Arulappa, has grown as a major oilgrimage center for the thousands of devotees who visit the shrine for their various needs especially for good health. The large number of Christian and non Christian pilgrims, who visit the Shrine is the proof of our abiding respect, love and hope in our loving Mother of Christ Jesus and our Mother. It is the sign of the growing influence of the Annai Vailankanni Shrine on one and all, irrespective of caste or creed.
This year also lakhs of people will be visiting the Shrine during the Feast on 29th August to 8th September. Arrangements are made in a big way for the orderly conduct of the Festival. The Police Department have been taking a lot of initiatives and plans for the complete protection and security of the devotees participating in the Festival. Special Traffic Arrangements have been made for the convenience of the devotees, MTC authorities also have made arrangements to run special buses from all over Chennai city towards Besant Nagar Church. More than 350 volunteers headed by the Rector and parish priest, Rev.Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai, ably assisted by other priests and parishioners will be coordinating the activities for the successful conduct of the Feast. Whenever you enter into the shrine, kindly pray in silence for the people who go to pilgrims and of their intensions.
As the old church had been demolished and a new church is being constructed. Archbishop Most Rev. Dr. George Antonysamy of Madras – Mylapore and Rev. Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai, Shrine Rector & Parish Priest are planning to have the inauguration of the new church very soon for the devotees to worship, Ast importantly, people of all faith and religions, come to visit our “Besant Nagar Madha” and return with full of grace and mercy.