Velankanni Church – Nagapattinam
The Velankanni Church also known as the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is located in the town of Velankanni. Velankanni Church, situated around the Coromandel Coast around 12 kilometres south of Nagapattinam, is considered one of the most prominent Christian pilgrimage centres in India.
More about Velankanni Church
Officially spelt as ‘Vailankanni’, this church is revered for its Roman Catholic shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. The Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni is also known as “the Lourdes of the East”.
The Velankanni church is dedicated to Virgin Mary and the Heavenly Mother. It is believed Virgin Mary appeared at this place along with Infant Jesus around the end of 16th and the beginning of the 17th century. After this, Velankanni is said to have become a revered site for the followers of Christianity.
The first apparition of Mother Mary was at Matha Kulam (or Our Lady’s Tank) to a milk vendor boy. The second apparition is believed to be at Naduthittu to a lame boy. Our Lady is also said to have miraculously saved Portugese sailors from violent sea at Velankanni.
There are no written records or attested statements that support the various apparitions attached to the shrine. The Holy See (jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome) has not approved the alleged apparitions or phenomena, yet the cult of the Lady of Velankanni persists.
Architecture of the Velankanni Church
The Velankanni Church is an imposing structure with three chapels within its confines. The church was extended on the southern side in the year 1928 while the northern side underwent extension in the year 1933. However, an extension was made to the Basilica in the year 1974-75 keeping in mind the design of the Basilica in Lourdes in France.
Within the premises of the church is found the Shrine Basilica Main Church, Our Lady’s Tank, Lower Basilica, Upper Basilica Morning Star Church and Naduthittu Church.
Velankanni Church Opening Timings
The church is open on all days from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Daily service at Church includes masses given in Tamil, Malayalam and English. Devotees can also attend Novena Prayers, Rosary and Evening prayers.
Velankanni Church Mass Timings
Shrine Basilica Main Church
- 5:40 AM – Morning Prayer
- 6:00 AM – Mass in Tamil
- 6:45 AM – Matha Blessing (Every Saturday)
- 3:00 PM – Eucharistic Adoration Daily
Our Lady’s Tank
- 7:00 AM – Mass in Tamil (Every Saturday)
- 6:30 PM – Mass in Tamil (Lent Season only)
- 7:00 AM – Mass in Tamil
- 7:30 AM – Mass in Tamil (Sunday only)
- 10:00 AM – Mass in English
- 12:00 Noon – Mass in Tamil
- 4:00 PM – Mass in Konkani (Every Tuesday)
- 5:00 PM – Mass in Tamil (Sunday Parishners Mass)
- 8:00 AM – Mass in Telugu
- 11:00 AM – Mass in Hindi
- 4:00 PM – Mass in Malayalam (Every Sunday)
Morning Star Church
- 9:00 AM – Mass in Malayalam
- 4:00 PM – Mass in Tamil (Monday to Saturday)
- 8:00 PM – Mass in Konkani
- 7:00 AM – Mass in Tamil (Last Saturday of the month)
How to reach Velankanni Church
Velankanni Church is located at a distance of 12 kilometres from Nagapattinam and 350 kilometres south of Chennai. Local transportation such as buses and taxis can be easily accessed to reach the church. The nearest railway station to Velankanni Church is at Nagapattinam. Trichy Airport (160 kilometres away) and Chennai International Airport (350 kilometres away) are the nearest terminals to the church.
Velankanni Church has been declared as a holy city by Pope and attracts devotees in large numbers from across the world. The church is revered by people of different nationalities irrespective of their caste, creed and religion.