VIJAYAWADA: The three-day Mary Matha festival concluded on a grand note at Gunadala hill shrine here on Monday. Around five lakh devotees from across the State thronged the hill shrine and offered prayers to the presiding deity.Right from dawn, devotees queued in front of the hill shrine to have darshan of Mother Mary on the third day of the festival. They broke coconuts at the shrine and got their hair tonsured on the temple premises as part of offering prayers to Mary Matha and Jesus. MLA Gadde Ramamohana Rao and former MLA Yalamanchili Ravi also participated in the festival and offered special prayers to the deities.
During his speech, Vijayawada Catholic Diocese Bishop T Raja Rao said devotees who pray to Mother Mary would be relieved of their troubles and recalled the efforts of Fr Arlati Bertoli and others in developing the Gunadala hill shrine. By December 2022, development works pertaining to the hill shrine will be complete, he said.
‘Samisti Divya Bali’ pooja was performed during the morning and in the evening by priests and devotees were told about the miraculous Jesus Christ. The devotees performed ‘Divyastha Prasada Aradhana’s’ and ‘Swastata Prarthanas’ at Bishop Grassi High School grounds.
Revenue, VMC and Police department officials had made arrangements for a smooth conduct of Mary Matha Utsavams. Traffic restrictions and diversions had been imposed for the convenience of the pilgrims. Meanwhile, the Vijayawada region of APSRTC operated special buses between Gunadala, Pandit Nehru Bus Station (PNBS) and Railway Station till Tuesday morning to ensure a hassle-free movement of devotees.