History of Vettukad Church
This church has a tradition of more than 500 years. It is believed that Saint Francis Xavier paid a visit to this place somewhere in the early 1540s. The priests of the church claim that the letters written in 1568 by Father Francis Peres S.J. had the brief mention of this church. After the visit to Vettukad, he had written a letter to the Superior General of the Society of Jesus in Rome. Father Francis Xavier had visited the coastal hamlet of Vettukad to evangelize the faithful. In that letter, he told the Superior General that the region had 175 Christian devotees. This letter provides the ample proof that the Christian population existed in this coastal hamlet long back from the 15th century onwards.
The construction of the present church started during the time of Reverent Father Godwin A. Gudinho in the year 1934. The construction of the church was finished in 1937. After the construction of the church, then Vicar General of Kochi Diocese Mansinjor Leon De Souza blessed the structure into a church. Since then, the church has grown into the present form as a parish under Valiyathura Forane and Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram. It is considered as the Messiah of the downtrodden. People believe that Christ is blessing the faithful with all His love and compassion. They believe that the Christ in the form of King has miraculous power over his devotees. That is the reason people from all walks of life, including members of other faiths like Hinduism and Islam, congregate during the coveted celebrations of Christ the King, which is considered as the major festival by the faithful of the region. That is the reason why there is an ever increasing number of devotees visiting the holy shrine every year.
Feast of Christ the King
This is the major festival of the Vettukad church. This celebration lasts for 10 days. During this festival, people from far flung areas come to seek the blessing of the Christ the King. On the final day of this festival, a grand feast takes place. The final day is celebrated on the last Sunday of the liturgical year. On Gregorian calendar, this day falls on the third Sunday of November every year. As part of this festival, a large number of religious rites take place throughout the day. On the penultimate day, the faithful take out a grand procession with the image of Christ in the form of a King. It goes around the entire parish giving blessings to all the devotees who have gathered for the occasion. On the final day, a high mass would be organized. This mass would be presided over by the Arch Bishop of Trivandrum Arch Diocese. The ultimate day is also marked by sermons and benediction marks. This would be attended by over 50000 devotees. The faithful from the Vettukad parish have started to celebrate from the places where they have settled. For instance, the faithful from this religious hamlet who are settled in the United Kingdom have started conducting this celebration there since 2009. Similarly, the devotees from this region settled in the United Arab Emeritus have started celebrating the festival of the Feast of Christ the King in that country since 1978.
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