The celebration of the annual feast of saint Lazarus at Our Lady of Guidance Church in R. A. Puram carries with it the colour and atmosphere rarely seen in city churches. In a way, the religious feast may take many seniors to memories of similar feasts that are held in a grand manner in rural areas.
The celebration had begun with the symbolic hoisting of the special flag on January 16 at 6.15 p.m. Novena and Mass was said every evening.
The car procession was held on January 25 evening. The church was fully illuminated, flags were hung across the campus and kolams and rangolis drawn on the floor of the campus.
Even as the nine cars were being decorated with flowers, in the nature of palaquins that would be engaged in the procession, the Mass was celebrated inside the packed church.
The car procession of nine cars began after Mass and the blessing of the cars – each carrying the statue of a saint and that included saint Lazarus, saint Michael, saint George, saint Sebastian, saint Francis Xavier, saint Roche, saint Antony, saint Joseph and Mary.
The procession went through all the neighbourhood streets, stopping at the doors of the local parishioners who offered flowers and candles. It was close to midnight when the celebration ended. Leo Band provided the music to the procession.
The feast Mass was celebrated on Sunday, January 26, also India’s Republic Day. Holy Mass in Thamizh and English were said.
Lazarus Church Road zone turns into a village fair space during this feast and it was just this during the recent feast – hawkers selling snacks, toys, vessels and home accessories.
Fr.Y. F. Bosco, parish priest said that ‘this is the only parish which takes out a procession of 9 statues”. This feast is unique because it was first initiated and run by a community which had settled in this area many decades ago.
It was later merged with the church’s calendar of events though the Trust of the community that started the event now fund a major portion of the event. A large number of relatives and friends of parishioners attend the feast. So do a number of Catholics from across the city.
– Report, photo – Juliana Sridhar