Mother of perpetual Help...
Welcome to Vanamatha Church
The historically significant shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is located in the parish of St.Thomas Forane Church Mattom. An image of our Lady of Perpetual help was placed in a carved rock and blessed. There wasn’t any building or a road leading to the shrine till about 30 years ago. Efforts to construct the present shrine were begun by Msgr. John Maliyakkal. Thus the foundation stone of the new shrine was blessed and laid by H.E.R.T. Rev. Dr. George Alappat, who was the bishop of Thrissur, on 23-4-1966.
This miraculous picture of ‘Our Lady of Our Perpetual Help’ was first seen on the island of Crete. Its origins are not clearly known. It was then brought to Rome and was with a merchant for some years. One day Mother Mary appeared before a girl and instructed her to place it in a place between St. Mary Majos and St. John Herit. The picture was then placed in St Mathew’s Church on 27th march 1499 and blessed. Pilgrims flowed to the church for about three centuries. A war broke out in 1796 And St Mathew’s church was demolished completely. H.H Pious VII and later H.H Pious IX took care in rebuilding the church and in the year1855 a new church was constructed and the miraculous picture was consecrated there on 26 April 1856. The copy of the blessed picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was brought to Mattom by Fr Sebastian Vellanikkaran from Rome and it was placed in a carved rock on the hillock where the shrine is located and was blessed on 24th May 1938.
The flag hosting on the first day marks the beginning of the festival, 0n all the following nine days before the Prathishta Thirunal – a procession reciting the holy rosary begins at 5:45 a.m. leading from the parish church to the shrine followed by the holy mass and Novena. On all the ten days, Holy Mass is also celebrated, followed by the novena, ladeengu and procession leading to the shrine. Each day a different set of people organize the services of that day. “Nithyasahayaamrtham” is blessed during the festival days and distributed to the faithful.
On the Saturday, that is the eve of the Pratishta Thirunal, food is blessed and the ‘crown ‘ (whidch is placed on Holy Mary’s statue) is consecrated and offerings are made by individuals and families. One of the chief features of the festival is the Grand procession carrying the ‘crown’, that begins from the parish church to the shrine. The holy crown of ‘Our lady Of Perpetual help’ along with the miraculous picture of Our lady Of Perpetual help’ is carried in the procession through the main streets of Mattom. Thousands of devotees gather and walk along with the procession towards the shrine. This is followed by a grand display of fire works. Next day after liturgy services a variety of entertainment programs are organised. It marks the end of Prathishta Thirunal.
Rector, Our Lady of Our Perpetual Help Shrine, Mattom.
Thrichur District, Kerala, India Pin 680602