On Sunday when Francis Prabhakar visited the Basilica of Mount Mary, Bandra, the Mulund resident hoped that the Mother would ensure his misoperation would not give him more problems. "He has been having a urinary infection ever since he was misoperated on. They did not operate properly. We have come to seek blessings and ask Mother that his problem goes away over a period of time," said Sugirtha Prabhakar, his wife.
Thousands like Prabhakars thronged the Basilica of Mount Mary which is considered a pilgrimage center to seek Mother's blessings during the feast held post-birth of Mother Mary. The feast at Mount Mary is held from Sunday after Mother Mary's birthday on September 8 and will end next Sunday on September 17.
Families come together to attend the feast mass at the historic Basilica. | VGP
Generations of families continue the tradition of seeking Mother Mary's blessings. | VGP
"I came early with my family as we wanted to attend the feast mass," said Leevan Veigas, a resident of Ghatkopar who had come with his entire family. After attending the Mass, Veigas with his 14-month-old son ventured into the fair that is held alongside where people spend the day. Giant wheels, merry-go-round, air rifle shooting, and bungee jumping were among the games that were put up at small distances and within the complex of Mount Carmel Church.
"She is too young for her to be on a giant wheel," said Philip D'Souza of his year-and-a-half-old baby, Ariya as she looked at it. D'Souza said he was the fourth generation to be coming every year to seek blessings of the Mother. Post Mass, the family checks out the fair, buys goods and then heads for lunch at the fair.
People seek blessings and enjoy festivities at Mount Mary Basilica's annual feast. | VGP
Besides games, other stalls included distributing snack items like Goan and east-Indian delicacies, rolls, burgers, sandwiches, Chinese, sausages, ice-golas, ice cream, kulfis, cold drinks, pickles, chips, halwas, bengal grams, aam papad, mukhwas, and seekh kebabs. Shops also sold clothes, bags, footwear, and utensils.
The feast at Mount Mary is held from Sunday after Mother Mary's birthday on September 8 and will end next Sunday on September 17. | VGP
"We sell Goan chorizo pav, sorpotel, puffs, patties and rolls among many other things. Sorpotel is very popular and is already over," said Craig Pereira who put up a food stall. Ramesh Jaiswal, another stall owner said that the crowd would pick up by evening when the expected brisk business along with the last three days of the fair. "Bengal gram, Ram Dana are the main prasad to Mother," said Ramesh Jaiswal who pays a visit to Mother Mary before starting the stall.
The shrine that is popular among people of all faiths saw a number of them come on Sunday too. With sandalwood Tripund Tilak on her forehead, Sulabha Patil from Thane was one such. "It is Shravan month and she (Mother Mary) is also like Devi. we pray so I have come to seek her blessing. I first went to Siddhivinayak Temple and have now come here," said Patil.
The shrine that is popular among people of all faiths saw a number of them come on Sunday too. | VGP
"It has been very good till now. The police, BMC and authorities have been leading from the front. I have not seen a devotee who came empty handed. They had candles or wax items through which they prayed and hoped wishes to be fulfilled," said Fr. Sunder Albuquerque, vice rector of Basilica of Mount Mary.