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Massive church built at ‘Lourdes of the East’

Catholic World News - February 12, 2013

Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as his special envoy to the solemn celebration of the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health in Vailankanni, India.

The shrine, which is located in a small town in the southeastern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, attracts two million pilgrims every year and is known as the “Lourdes of the East.”

On February 10, Cardinal Filoni consecrated a massive new church that has been constructed on the grounds of the shrine. The Morning Star Church is over 400 feet long and can seat over 15,000 pilgrims. The following day, he made a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle.

Pope Benedict concurrently appointed Cardinal Filoni as his special envoy for the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the institution of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.

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  • Posted by: gary.brisebois1104 - Feb. 13, 2013 9:13 AM ET USA

    The apparition stories behind this shrine are alleged to have occurred 400 years ago, so perhaps instead of calling this "The Lourdes of the East", Lourdes should be called "Vailankanni of the West". It is inspiring to know such enthusiasm for the faith, and for Our Lady, has grown so much in India. Thanks for the news item!

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