By V. Shourabh
The city has already entered into a festive mood with hotels mixing cakes for the grand event and competing among themselves to get their cake mixing ceremonies viral. Christmas honours the birth of Jesus Christ incorporating many spiritual and cultural traditions.
It is time for family get-togethers, exchange of gifts and spread of love that transcend boundaries. Community members, churches, the clergy and the priests are busy in their preparations with carol singing services, decorations, preparation of cribs, etc.
The festival that marks the season of joy, sharing, caring and spreading love will fill the city’s ambience by next week, culminating with New Year.
- Philomena’s Church, Lashkar Mohalla
St. Philomena’s Church was built in 1936 in the Neo Gothic style, whose architecture was designed by Frenchman Daly, inspired by the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
At the same location, a church was built in 1843 by Maharaja Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar.
On Oct. 28, 1933, Maharaja Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar laid the foundation stone of the church after Father Cochet approached the King to assist him to build a church in honour of St. Philomena. This church is one of the tallest churches in Asia.
The church is undergoing a renovation for this Christmas and a new coat of paint is being applied on the exterior walls. The magnificent building is a hot tourist spot where thousands of people and devotees throng. The church will follow the same pattern of celebration from the previous years. There will be a crib setup within the church premises and there will be a midnight mass on the Christmas Eve (December 24th night).
The Bishop of Mysuru Rev. K.A. William will preside over the mass and will place the statue of infant Jesus in the crib. During the mass, readings and gospels catering to the birth of Jesus from both the Old and New Testaments will be read out.
- Bartholomew’s Church, Lashkar Mohalla
St. Bartholomew’s Church, situated in Lashkar Mohalla near the Sub-Urban Bus Stand, is an Anglican Church built by the Madras Government for the East India Company troops stationed in the kingdom of Mysore. The church was completed in 1832 and is named after one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, Saint Bartholomew who preached the Christian gospel in the present day Maharashtra. The land for the church was gifted by the Mysore patronage. The church is known for its exquisite and beautiful marble altar.
As a part of this year’s Christmas, they are having several programmes like Carol services, Catholic carol singing competitions, Christmas Fellowship Dinner, fun with school children, Christmas Eve candle light services, Holy Communion on Christmas day and a flag hoisting ceremony on Dec.26.
- Infant Jesus Church, R.S. Naidu Nagar
The Infant Jesus Shrine is like a new pearl in a royal diadem on the premises of Pushpashrama Philosophical College, in the eastern side of the city. The shrine, located near the Ring Road that intersects the Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway has certain architectural facets that draw parallels to Maharaja’s Palace. The gateway is 30-feet high and has an arch that strikingly resembles the Mysore Palace.
The church is built in an octagonal diamond pattern built using granite stones. The octa – referring to eight sides symbolize the eight directions of the world. There is a ‘Tree of Life’ at the church which is firmly rooted in the Holy Bible.
This Christmas, there will carol singing services, a special crib will be made, Holy Mass, X-mas celebrations with neighbours, irrespective of religion, and a cultural evening get together. Sweets such as Rava Ladoo, Rose Cookies and cakes will be distributed.
- Sacred Heart Church, Yadavagiri
The Sacred Heart Church was blessed and started by Valerian Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay on July 4, 1962. Three years later, the newly-built church was inaugurated by the then Bishop of Mysore, Rev. Dr. Mathias Fernandes in January 1965.
This church is an offshoot of the St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Mysuru. When the church started, many Anglo-Indians were a part of this because of the proximity to the City Railway Station and most of them were Railway employees.
Parish Priest Fr. Anthappa says that the focus should be more on spiritual Christmas rather than seeing it as a celebration. The members of the church have been doing fasting, prayers and charity and will be spreading unconditional love. Fr. Anthappa wants people to get away from the modern worldly Christmas and focus on renouncing vices. Xmas should not be sold out, he says.
The church authorities have set up a crib at their premises in Yadavagiri. They will also have a celebration on Dec. 17 where they will conduct small activities for widows, the elderly and small children. This is the only church in Mysuru that will conduct a Mass in English language on the midnight of Christmas Day.
- Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Srirampura
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church is an offshoot of St. Theresa’s Church which is situated in Srirampura. The church bifurcated from the Mysore South Parish on June 11, 1988. The old church was extended twice and a spacious church has been built which attracts people around that locality. A grotto for Mother Mary has also been constructed. This Christmas, they will decorate a crib to welcome Immanuel to the hearts of the faithful. On Christmas Eve, carol services will take place and Rt. Rev. Msgr. C. Rayappa will preside over the midnight mass. Cake will be distributed and the church will be decorated with serial lights, says Parish Priest Fr. Raymond.