The three-day Mary Matha Mahotsavam began amid religious fervour and gaiety atop Gunadala Hill here Saturday. Rector and Gundala shrine monsignor Fr M Chinnappa inaugurated the fest by conducting special prayer at 7 am.
Addressing the gathering, he stressed on the need for spreading peace in the society, helping check the crime rate. He urged the public to serve the needy, poor, children and women in distress as it meant ‘Serving the God’. Every religion asks people to shun evil, and hence one should respect all religions.
Referring to the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ for mankind, he asked youth to follow footsteps of elders, who showed the path of peace. People of various religions visit the Gunadala shrine to seek Mary’s blessings, which indeed exemplify the concept of ‘unity in diversity’ that our country is known for, he added.
Fr Govind Joji said drinking water, rest rooms, tonsuring and other facilities were available at the shrine for devotees besides medical assistance with the co-operation of Vijayawada Municipal Corporation and other departments.
Social Service Centre executive director Fr M Prasad explained the service activities being taken up by the centre for orphans, poor and elderly, children and women for the past few years and vowed to continue the same in future.
Edulagudem Christian Organisation performed Kolatam, while the others staged various devotional plays at Bishop Grassi School ground. Prerana Youth conducted a Bible Exhibition, which attracted huge crowds.