Pondicherry Archdiocese


Sacred Heart Basilica, Puducherry
Sacred Heart Basilica, Puducherry

This is the Unique Basilica dedicated to Sacred Heart of Jesus among 50 Basilicas of Asia, 20 Basilicas in India. It is the 6th Basilica in Tamilnadu and the first in Pondicherry. In the year 1895, the then Archbishop Mgr. Gandhi consecrated the Archdiocese of Pondicherry to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Rev.Fr. Telesphore Welter, the parish priest of Nellithope had prepared the building plan and the parish priest of Cathedral Rev.Fr. Fourcaud commenced the construction of the new Church in 1902 at the Southern side of the Pondicherry Town.

The blessing of the Church and the first mass was held at the western wing of the present Church by Mgr. Gandhi on 17-12-1907 and the new parish surrounding this Church has been established on 27-01-1908. This 100 years old historical Church is 50mts. Long, 48mts. Wide and 18mts. high, with Latin rite cross shape in aerial view which is in Gothic style. 24 main columns hold the structure in which we see the biblical words on entrance written in Latin “I have consecrated this house that My Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there forever” which reveals the presence of the Sacred Heart of Lord Jesus Christ. Also the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mother Mary carved in the entrance door, welcome us. Inside the church we can see Glass pictures of 28 saints who were related to the devotion of Sacred Heart of Jesus.

This 100 year old Church has been led by twenty Parish Priests.His Eminence SALVATORE PENNACCHIO, The Apostolic Nuncio, India dedicated this BASILICA on  02-09-2011 in the presence of the Archbishop Most.Rev.Dr.Antony Anandarayar.


Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine, Villiyanur
Our lady of Lourdes Shrine, Villianur


The event that attracted the attention of the world in the 19th century was the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes, France. These apparitions have taken place in 1858 in between 11th February to 16th July. Mother Mary appeared to a young girl Bernadette 18 times from the grotto called Massabielle and revealed her name as The Immaculate Conception and invited people of all nations to come to Lourdes on pilgrimage. And Our Lady worked the miracle of the spring which still continues to flow for more than a century and the water of which cures thousands of people suffering from various diseases.

Villianur shares its importance , that it is the first shrine constructed for Our Lady of Lourdes in India. Rev.Fr.Tharbes a cousin brother of Bernadette, the visionary of Lourdes, was appointed as the Parish Priest of Villianur mission since he had a direct report of the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes. And this church is the first in the world to be named after Our Lady of Lourdes outside Lourdes, France. Added to that one pious Lady has paid for a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and made it come from Lourdes under the direct supervision of Bernadette. It was on the 4th April 1877 the statue arrived at Pondicherry and was taken to the Cathedral after the three dangerous falls of the box containing the Holy Mother's Statue. To everybody's amaze, the statue was intact and beautiful.

It was in 1885 that Archbishop Laouenan went to Rome and reported the numerous miracles that took place in this Shrine to the Holy Father and got permission on February 21st, 1886 to declare this as an official Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Villianur and to crown the statue in his name. On his return from Rome, on 8th May 1886 during a grand celebration, witnessed by around 40,000 people during the pontifical high mass the Archbishop crowned the miraculous statue in the name of the Pope Leo XIII and declared this church as the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Villianur and attached permanent plenary indulgences to this shrine.

To know more about the Shrine visit www.villianurshrine.com


The Shrine of Our Lady of Periyanayagi, Konankuppam


Perianayagi Madha Shrine was constructed by the great missionary Fr.Beshi. The place where the shrine is located was once a forest place. People used to come here for feeding their flocks.  In the 17th century , the Italian Father and a great missionary, Fr.Beshi, brought two statues of Mother Mary to be kept in the place where he worked, namely  Elakuruchi / Thirukavalur ( Now in Kumbakonam Diocese). He preached all over Tamil Nadu and on the way to his place he happened to pass over this forest and due to tiredness he slept under a tree with the two statues. The boys, who were looking after the cattle, playfully hid one of the statues behind the bush. Fr.Beshi was shocked to know that one of the statues was missing and went to his place sadly. 


There was a man called Kachirayar in M. Parur. He had no child. Every day he used to pray to God. One day Our Lady appeared to him in his dream and said " Kachirayar, I'm alone in the forest if you build a chapel for me , I'll give a child to you". After saying this she disappeared. Hearing this he was very much happy and began to search for the statue in the forest. As they cut the bushes and trees, they found the statue behind a big bush. This statue is placed in the shrine till today. People constructed a small chapel and placed this statue there and began to worship.

After some time Fr.Beshi happened to hear about this and came to Konankuppam and saw the small chapel built for the statue which he lost once. He was very much delighted and decided to make Konankuppam as his work place. He constructed the shrine which exists today. It is said to have been the first place of worship he erected and when it was completed he went to Madras and asked the Bishop of Mylapore to procure for him a statue from Manila, an image of the virgin, in native dress of Tamilnadu and bearing the child Jesus in her arms, fashioned after a model he had made. The image eventually arrived and was set up in the church.

This life-size statue stands on a pedestal about ten feet high and is made of wood and painted in bright colours. In honour of it and of the Church, Beschi composed his Tamil Poem TEMBAVANI , which vying in  length with the ILIAD itself is by far the most celebrated and most voluminous of his works. He completed this work in the year 1726. The Tamil conference conducted in Madurai during 1728 - 1729 AD approved his work and published it to imbibe the greatness of this literary work.


Konankuppam is situated in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. From Chennai it is  about 200 Kms to reach Ulundurpet which is in the Chennai - Trichy highway. From there it is about 20 minutes journey to reach Mangalampet which is in Ulundurpet - Virdhachalam road. From Mangalampet only few local buses are there to reach Konankuppam .But there'll be frequent  buses during the festival season.


Week days : 6.00 a.m
Saturdays : 6.30 a.m., 11.30 a.m.
: 6.00 p.m. Novena Mass
Sundays : 8.00 a.m., 11.30 a.m.
: 6.00 p.m., Mass in the Substations
1st Fridays : 6.00 a.m., 6.15 p.m. Mass & Eucharistic Adoration
1st Saturdays : 6.30 a.m., 11.30 a.m.
: 6.00 p.m. Car Procession, Mass
: Full Night Vigil Prayer from 9.00 p.m. to
Sunday 3.00 a.m. with Sunday Mass


Every year on the First Saturday of the month of October 'Annual Pathayathirai' is held from Ulundurpet to Our Lady of Periyanayagi Shrine Konankuppam at 2.00 p.m. At the end of the Pathayathirai there will be a Holy Mass in the Shrine.


A Good number of catholic faithful from the neighbouring villages throng the shrine to celebrate the Easter Triduum. This is a long standing custom which was carried down the ages.



Oh! Holy Mother of God Perianayagi enshrined as the Queen of Konankuppam. You are the channel of heavenly graces and gifts. We grasp your lotus feet and beseech your loving care and intercession to keep us always under your mantle for a safe and happy journey in this world of sin and tears. Be ever with us to console in our sickness, sufferings and sorrows. Help us to help others in want and distress. When our last minute is at hand, keep us on your Holy Lap to take us to your Son and Our Lord Jesus Christ to enjoy heavenly bliss forever and ever Amen.

(Say three Hail Mary)


O! periyanayagi Mere de Dieeu, et la Reine de Konankuppam, demeurant ici dans ce lieu sacré, vous êtes pour nous tous le vehicule de gràces et dons célestes.Prosternés a vous pieds à fleurs de lotus. Nous vous prinons pour votre protection et pour votre priere intercessionelle pour que toujours protegés par votre saint manteau, nous marchons sains et saufs dans cette vallée de larmes et de péchés.Protegez nous et gardez nous, surtout nous eunes fils et filles dans la chasteté et dans une bonne conduite de vie.Daignez rester avec nous pour nous consoler dans notre souffrance, tristesses et dans nos maladies.Aidez-nous pour que nous aidions les autres dans leur détresses et dans leur besoins.Quand nous arrivernons a la dernier minute de notre vie, gardez-nous dans votre sein pour nous amerner a jour de la Beatitude celeste, avec le Pere. et Jesus Christ, Notre Seigneur, dans l'unite du Saint-Esprit. Amen.


St.Antony's Shrine, Melnariappanur

Brief History of the Shrine

Fr.Lazar started to build the church there in 1881. He completed it in 1894 and it became a pilgrim centre. In 1911, this was the centre for the western part of the Archdiocese of Pondicherry, but later Kallakurichy took its place. From 1938, Mel-Nariappanur was under Chinnasalem. In 1985 it became a separate parish. Now it stands as a well acclaimed pilgrimage centre of St.Antony for the people of Tamilnadu. The Annual feast is celebrated on the 12th of June.


Sunday : 8.15 am – 12 Noon
Weekdays : 6.30 pm

Special Masses are celebrated on first Tuesday’s of every month.



St.Paul The Hermit Shrine, Kalpet


The pilgrim centre of this famous shrine Kalpet was like a forest 100 years back. There were lots of bushes and trees amidst the small hills. Around 1895 A.D Mr. Subramania Iyar of Kalyana Iyar family was searching for his lost cattle in this forest. There happened a miracle. He saw a cross appearing with beautiful aroma of incense and suddenly disappearing in the small hill which is located near the old church. This happened for several times.  He went back home, and on that same night, Subramania Iyar saw a vision. A person dressed like a priest appeared to him and said “I’m St.Paul the Hermit, you'll find your cows where you saw the sign ".

 Next day morning he explained about his dream to Kalanganimuthu who was a catholic. Along with him few people also went to the place and to their amazement they also saw the miraculous sign and declared truly St. Paul the Hermit was there. They cleared the bush and made a place of worship to him. The cows which were lost were also found in that same place. This news spread like a forest fire and many people began to come to this holy place and get their petitions heard. During that time, Mugaiur was the parish.  Fr. Antony built a church with a roof for our saint. Fr. Selvanathar seeing the crowd that was increasing day by day decided to elevate the place into a pilgrimage centre and with the help of well wishers of Pondicherry celebrated a festival for the saint. The first festival for our saint was celebrated in the year 1901.

After that, every year the annual festival of this shrine was celebrated on the first Wednesday of August. For the convenience of the devotees, it has been decided with the permission of Archbishop Dr. Michel Augustine to celebrate it on 8th August and from the year 1997 the annual festival is celebrated on this day. In the year 1998, August 8th  Kalpet was declared  a separate Parish. The parish priest of Thely, Fr. Elias was appointed the first parish priest of Kalpet. The new shrine of Kalpet was opened by Archbishop Dr.Michael Augustine on 8th August 1998.


Villupuram is located in the Chennai - Trichy highway. From Villupuram it is about 30 Kilometers to reach Kalpet. But there are no frequent buses to Kalpet on normal days. During the festival season many special buses are arranged for the pilgrims.