Lenten Programmes at Chaddy Shrine

Chaddy Shrine of Our Lady of Good Voyage, is the major shrine of the Diocese of Jaffna and the Oblates have been serving at this shrine for many decades. This shrine’s history goes back to the time of the Portuguese presence in the Island. It is common history that a Portuguese sailor who was travelling from Portugal to India was caught up in a deadly sea tornado, and when he prayed to our Lady who came to his rescue. This certain sailor is the man behind the emergence of the Shrine. This happened some hundred years ago. Oblates, as the children of Blessed Virgin Mary who always cherish a tender devotion to their mother (Ref. CCRR. 10), worked potentially when the whole diocese was at their ministry. Even after handing over the Diocese to the Diocesan clergy, they got the opportunity to serve at this Shrine.

This is a particular shrine with shady groves and a wonderful blue beach. The Palmyra trees and dry zone bushes are a very particular natural beauty to this shrine. Oblates who live in a small community here undertake many Marian devotions and daily Spiritual exercises. Chaddy Shrine is also a parish thus has a Parish Priest who takes care of the parish community, along with three more Oblates serving at the Shrine. Every Saturday and on Marian Obligatory days there will be Marian Prayers Services.

Lent is a special time at the Shrine where momentous Lenten activities are encouraged. Every Saturday is allocated to these Lenten observances. Six Saturdays of the lent will be divided into the Diocese on Deanery basis. The Saturday programmes begin with a way of the Cross at 09:00 am and it will be ended with a soft drink break. Most of the pilgrims come to the Shrine on foot very early in the morning from many parts of the Diocese. After the break, an Eucharistic Adoration will commence at 11:00 am and will be followed by an Eucharistic Celebration at 12:30 pm. Many Priests and Religious will be invited to guide the pilgrims in spiritual and devotional activities and in ministering of the sacraments of Reconciliation. The hallmark of the day will be an offering of ‘Anna Thanam’ (Food Offering), that will be cooked by the parishioners of the Shrine, on Anpiyam level (Small Christian Communities). This Anna Thanam is provided solely on depending on the divine providence in form of donations from the men of good will. Every Saturday there will be not less than 500 people at this Anna Thanam. This year we were also able to provide Anna Thanam to all the pilgrims.

We hope to continue this tradition in the future also. Ave Maria.

Fr. M. Jegankumar Coonghe OMI

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