Mount Mary’s Church land could be taken away?

March 10, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

A developer placed construction material and two guards on land the Church has owned for more than 40 years. The area is used as a resting place for thousands of pilgrims who flock to the shrine.

Mount Mary ChurchMumbai, March 04, 2013: Land owned by the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount (Mount Mary Church) in Bandra (Mumbai) could be taken away.

Two weeks ago, a certain Robin Gonsalves entered Church land, claiming that he owned as section north of the presbytery. To assert his claim, he placed building material, an SUV and two security guards on the property.

Mgr Nereus Rodrigues, rector of the basilica, filed a complaint with police. After repeated calls, the authorities had the two security guards removed, but not the material and vehicle.

Everything began on 18 February when Gonsalves entered the basilica compound and two guards to keep an eye on the same area. A week later, he came back and put a sign claiming ownership. On 27 February, he brought in construction material and parked an SUV.

After repeated complaints by Church officials, police moved in and removed the two guards.

“The Church bought this land over 40 years ago,” Mgr Rodrigues told AsiaNews. “It is a place where pilgrims of various castes and creeds can rest when they visit the basilica. For more than a hundred years, people have been coming here, 80 per cent from other faiths.”

The existing church, which is the fourth building, was built in 1904 “for the Golden Jubilee of the promulgation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception,” Fr Rodrigues explained. “However, the first building dates back to 1570 when it was just an oratory.”

In 1954, Pope Pius XII elevated Our Lady of the Mount to the status of minor basilica.

Both Paul VI and John Paul II visited the basilica when they came to India in 1964 and 1986 respectively.

The building is home to a famous Marian shrine that attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from across the country. (NC)

– asianews

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