Source: Daijiworld

Karkala/Udupi, Jan 22: Director of St Lawrence shrine at Attur in the taluk, Fr George D'Souza, said that all preparations are in place for the annual festival being held from January 24 to 28.

Addressing a press conference held at the church premises, he said that the festivities will begin with Holy Mass at 7.30 am on January 24 followed with the procession of Sacrament and this day is also be celebrated as the confinity Sunday.

A special mass for the children will be celebrated at 11 am and again 3 pm on that day, he added.

At 10 am and 3.30 pm on January 25, prayers will be performed for the sick and elderly once along with Holy Eucharist. A total of 42 masses in Konkani, Kannada, Malayalam and English will be performed during these five days.

Five bishops - from Ballari, Mangaluru, Varanasi and Beltangady dioceses - will be celebrating the Holy Eucharist mass in three days from January 26 to January 28. January 26 will be celebrating as Vespers. Bishop of Udupi will be Camping at the venue all the five days of the feast.

"As many as 42 CCTV cameras have been installed in both old and new churches for the safety of pilgrims. It has been decided to install 24 more CCTV cameras in the area of the festival. Large number of police personnel, bomb disposal squad members, contingent of reserve police etc have been deployed nearly 350 plus police personal will take care of the security During the five days, a police outpost will be in operation at Doopadakatte. District superintendent of police, K. Annamalai, is supervising the preliminary arrangements," he stated.




All kinds of begging has been banned during the festival. Donations coming in the form of religious vows would be distributed during the lunch to beggars at 12 pm on Friday January 29, he added.

Clean and cool water will be provided in the premises at three spots. A 45,000 square feet area to the east of the shrine has been earmarked for offering religious vows, burning of candles etc. Unauthorized sale of candles and other business have been banned. Roads leading to the holy centre have been expanded and special attention has been given for smooth traffic. To avoid vehicular density, parking has also been arranged at Doopadakatte to the left of the entry gate. Parking has been arranged at five spots between Doopadakatte and the shrine. This year, special arrangements have been made to convey announcements about arrangements and instructions through public address system so that it it gets transmitted to the entire area between Doopadakatte and Kabettu, he explained.

Since the last three years, Attur church management had been sending requests to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd to install a mobile tower in Attur area, and as the concerned failed to respond, the problem had continued to crop up. Airtel was also approached with similar request. This company, in response, has installed a temporary mobile tower here. He explained about a feeling of anger devotees are going through at the neglect shown by government-owned BSNL towards this genuine demand.

National award-winning teacher, George Castelino, Fr Baltazaar from France, and others were present.

Former vice-president of parish council, John D’silva, welcomed. Secretary of parish council Richard Pinto proposed the vote of thanks.

Fr Denis D'Sa, PRO of Udupi diocese, Fr George D'Souza, director of the shrine, John D'Silva, former vice-president were present at the press meet held in Udupi on Friday January 22.

Special arrangements have been made for confessions near the Miraculous Statue, in the western side of the new building. "Priest - confessors are available in the confessionals. Mass intentions may be given to the priests/ volunteers near the Miraculous Statue. Voluntary donation towards the projects of the Shrine may also be given at the same venue," stated a press release.

"The sacred relic and the miraculous statue of St Lawrence is placed as usual at the west, near the confessionals, and the old church will be available for prayer. After offering prayer, the devotees are requested to vacate to make way for others. Provision for offerings has been made to the left side of the church from the entrance. Candles and religious articles are made available in the Church stall," the release added.

"The miraculous pool has been redesigned to suit the needs of the pilgrims. As the number of pilgrims has been increasing year by year, more space for the movement of the pilgrims has been created by removing a part of the Parpale Hill. As many as 40 toilets have been provided near the police outpost on the left from the front gate. Special toilets are available for the specially-abled, the old and the sick. Besides these, the toilets provided by the Nitte panchayat are available near the school by the road-side. Alms for beggars may be offered in the boxes placed for the purpose near the front gate as well as near the Grotto. The amount will be distributed to the beggars after food on Friday.

"Free parking facilities have been made for vehicles: Those who come from Doopadakatte have the provision for parking in the left ground of the Shrine, in the field near the Garden House and two more locations nearby; for those who come by the Kabettu route, parking facilities are available in the School grounds, and on both sides of the road on the Karkala-Moodubelle Road till Chetanahalli, the release stated.

Though CC cameras have been installed in strategic locations in the Shrine campus for the safety and security of the pilgrims, pilgrims and visitors are advised to take care of their gold, money and valuables.

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