Thursday, 29 December 2016

popular Immaculate Conception Church (1860), Kuthalur

Immaculate Conception Church, Kuthalur,Tamilnadu Tourism
The history of Church in Tamil Nadu goes back to 52 AD when St. Thomas established seven and half churches on the Malabar coast, Kerala, one being in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. European missionaries were active in the 18th and 19th centuries in the Peninsular India. Their preaching did not make the expected impact on the natives who were mostly Hindus. Regardless of the impact, the Jesuits opened many Christian schools and imparted western education to the people in the remote places. A small percentage of people had embraced Christianity because they were much impressed by the Missionaries unselfish interaction with them with respect to social problems, etc.

Immaculate Conception Church, Kuthalur, Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu,

governed by the diocese of Sivagangaiis the largest and oldest church in this area.  Kuthalur was one of the largest Parishes in the R.C. Archdiocese of Madurai & the Mother Parish of many new and large parishes of today. The building work began in 1860 and completed  ten years later as the funds were available only through donations. This church is also referred to as as Sebasthiar Kovil  in local parlance by the people. This Roman Catholic church is steeped in history, spanning 150 years and bear witness to the exit of the East India company rule, followed by the direct take over of India by the British Crown. The  French Jesuit Missionaries were instrumental in developing this church into what it is today. Earlier, this village was called "Chinna Colombo" (Little Colombo) by the local people because most of people, in particular, Christians  of this village before independence went to Ceylon (Sri Lanka and Burma (Myanmar) for employment. 

 Prior to the construction Immaculate Conception Church here, the  Christian community had a small church (Kurusadi)  dedicated to St. Sebastian. Hence St. Sebastian's Novena is celebrated on a grand scale with devotion in the Second Week of January every year. The purpose of the festival is  to thank him for being the patron of the Catholic Community in Kuthalur.  Every year there will be  a Car (Chariot) procession in the third week of May and also San Sebastian feast. It is believed that  before the commencement of this Parish in 1860, Rev. Fr. Peter Ferrin S.J. began his ministry here - Marava Nadu, using the village of Kuthalur as his base.

The main altar in the church is adorned with Mary's statue specially imported from abroad. The grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes was added by Fr. K. V. Paul in April 1955. A fascinating fact about this church in a small village is it is through the philanthropy of an unknown  German lady, the entire church came into being.  In 1970, in a Grand manner the Centennial Jubilee was celebrated by the villagers and as part of the 100th year celebration a big hall - mantap was built, besides complete  renovation  was done. The old church has French Gothic style architecture and is made of brick and lime mortar.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuthalur