Parishes & Shrine

A Brief History and Motive behind the construction of the Shrine

Most Rev. Alex Dias SFX Bishop of Port Blair was born in a good catholic family which had a great devotion to Mother Mary. Thus he inculcated in himself a great love for Mother Mary. The Diocese of Port Blair too is dedicated to Mother Mary Star of the Sea and she is the patron saint of the Diocese. In the Diocese many people have special devotion to Mother Mary. A catholic faithful Mr. Antony also had special devotion to Mother Mary so he built a small chapel in his land at Panighat for private devotion but slowly it turned out to be a place of public devotion and he handed over this chapel to the Diocese. Later on the Diocese purchased this land from him and thought of building a shrine.

When His Eminence Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo visited these Islands in 2004 he laid the foundation stone for the Shrine on 20th December 2004 and seeing the spot, the sight and the landscape His Eminence had said that it was the place which Mother Mary had chosen and she wanted this place. During the devastating tsunamis of 2004 thousands of people of these Islands lost their lives but we believe that we were protected by Mother Mary Star of the Sea. Therefore, it was fitting that we express our gratitude to Mother Mary by Building a shrine in her honour. When Most Rev. Alex Dias visited his friend Monsignor Giuseppe Locatelli in Milan, Italy he told him about his desire to construct a shrine in honour of Mother Mary in the Diocese of Port Blair. The Monsignor took him to a beautiful shrine of Mother Mary in Italy and when they were returning they together said the Rosary in Latin and Monsignor Giuseppe Locatelli said that Bishop Alex must make a shrine like that. He also gave a lot of suggestions and support to the Bishop. According to Most Rev. Alex Dias these were some of the motivating factors behind the construction of the Shrine of our lady of Vaillankanni at Panighat, Port Blair. The Shrine was inaugurated by Monsignor Giuseppe Locatelli Episcopal Monsignor of Milan, Italy and was consecrated and blessed by His Eminence Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo Archbishop of Ranchi on 16th January 2010. Twenty four Bishops (Cardinal, Archbishops, and Bishops) of India, more than hundred priests, above hundred and fifty religious and about eight thousand people participated in the inaugural and dedication ceremonial Mass.

Many visitors from mainland those who have almost seen whole of India have commented that this Shrine is indeed bigger and magnificent than many shrines in India. It has already started attracting people of all caste and creed. People of these Islands of all caste and creed are very grateful to Most Rev. Alex Dias SFX Bishop of Port Blair for constructing the beautiful Shrine where people of all caste and creed who need Mother Mary’s care and protection can come at any time and spend some moments in prayer and meditation.