Annual Shrine Festival Opened, Bishop Urges Pilgrims "To Face Life's Problems With Faith And Courage"

BALLARI, AUG. 30, 2019: In preparation for the annual festival of the Ballari Arogya Mathe Shrine, the nine-day novena began today with thousands of pilgrims attending it with joy and fervor.

Member of Parliament Dr. Nasser Hussein hoisted the festival flag and Bishop Henry D'Souza led the procession.

In his message Dr. Nasser Hussein extended his good wishes to all the pilgrims coming from different backgrounds and prayed that Mother Mary blesses the thousands of pilgrims thronging the shrine and India with peace and progress.

In his message Bishop Henry D'Souza asked the pilgrims to be inspired by the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary and commit their lives to God and to the service of the needy.

In his homily on "Mary the woman of faith", Bishop D'Souza stated, "What God requires of Christians is to possess genuine faith, which helps them to discern the will of God in the light of the Gospel and to bear witness to it joyfully, as Mary did".

"Faith helps to experience the power of God in His word. Reading and pondering over the word of God with our heart, leads us to enlightenment and illumination by the Holy Spirit", he added.

"True faith reveals to us the power of God manifested in his marvelous deeds taking place around us", he affirmed.

"If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you” (Luke 17:6) reminded Bishop the assurance of Jesus.

Recalling the words of St. Therese of Child Jesus, "Jesus is my only love", bishop exhorted, "faith at a heroic level – is clinging to God when everything in our experience would seem to contradict his very existence, or at least his love for us."

Quoting St. Paul's words to Timothy, Bishop continued, "For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control" (2 Tim 1:7).

The flag hoisting and the Holy Mass was preceded by a procession and ended with a distribution of "prasadam" (fellowship meal). The liturgical celebration was animated by the faithful St. Anthony's cathedral led by the Rector, Fr. Anthonyraj and the choir was by AJ Antony and team.

Rector of the shrine Fr. Jose Prakash thanked one and all.

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