Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Blinking" Marian statue attracts thousands in Chennai

A day after news spread that a Marian statue was blinking, thousands are crowding the Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine at Perambur, in Chennai.

People from all corners of the city thronged the church just to get a glimpse of the statue, which authorities of the 114-year-old shrine said, was brought from a foreign country and erected some 75 years ago.

Police are managing the traffic and the crowd. In long winding queues, people stood singing devotional and reciting prayers as they waited for a chance to look at the statue.

“It’s a miracle. Maybe she wanted people to know that it’s not just a stone and she’s alive,” said Kalpana of Vyasarpadi, who came with her little son.

Devotees were excited as they felt that the Lady of Lourdes had blessed them on Tuesday – the day of the 114th annual feast at the church. “About 20,000 to 30,000 people have come so far,” said Fr Joe Andrew, Rector and Parish Priest.

“Many of them were hoping that a miracle would take place,” he added as he explained the history behind the church – Lourdes is a place in France where the Mother is said to have appeared before the poor and the sick.

Apart from the local crowd, the church also received a huge response from devotees living abroad in countries US, Australia, Dubai and New Zealand after a video posted on the internet went viral.

If there was a group of Christians on one side in queues waiting to have a glimpse, there were many large groups waiting to ‘copy’ the video of the statue’s ‘blinking eyes’ to their cellphones using bluetooth.

“I got the blessings of the Lady of Lourdes but I could not bring my family. So, I’m taking this video home,” said Martin of Perambur, who was waiting patiently despite the crowd.