KOCHI: Tour operators in the state are going all-out to woo the Catholic faithful for the upcoming ceremony of sainthood confirmation on Blessed Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Euphrasia Eluvathingal in Vatican on November 23 with attractive travel packages.
It is expected that about 1,000-1,500 people from Kerala, which include priests and nuns, would attend the historic ceremony in St Peter’s Square, Vatican, said Fr James Madathikandam, vice-postulator of Chavara Shrine, Mannanam.
He said a dedicated cell has been opened at the Chavara Cultural Centre in Kochi to coordinate and assist the pilgrims who want to participate in the ceremony, which will see Pope Francis declare the two from Kerala as saints.
Chavara Cultural Centre has tied up with Oasis Holidays, a tour operator, for the purpose. “We have already received applications from 120 people. We hope to sign up 300 pilgrims for the St Peter’s Square event,” said Robin Augustine, coordinator at Chavara Cultural Centre. According to him, the Chavara Centre is offering two packages, a five-day package (Nov 21-26) for `81,500 per person and a seven-day package (Nov 19-26) for `98,500 per person.
It is expected that at least 3 lakh pilgrims from across the world will attend the sainthood ceremony of Blessed Father Kuriakose Elias and Mother Euphrasia Eluvathingal. The historic event of Catholic community in India comes six years after Sr Alphonsa was declared the first woman saint of the country by the Vatican in October 2008. Over 1000 people from Kerala, including pilgrims, bishops and nuns, participated in that event.
Devika Menon of Princy Travels, another tour operator, said the travel company will take a group of 30-odd people from the state on November 22 for the sainthood ceremony. The package, priced at `1,05,000 per person, is for five nights and six days.
Princy Travels also plans to take another group of Malayalis settled in London for the sainthood ceremony, Devika Menon said.
Travel operator Royal Omania is planning to take 2-3 groups of 10-15 people for the sainthood ceremony. The five-day package is priced at `92,000 per person, officials said.