1. ST. MARY’S CATHEDRAL: A Dioccesan Pilgrimage Centre
Parish Priest: Fr. Michael Anikuzhikattil (Dean)
Address: Mall Road, Jalandhar Cantt.,
PUNJAB – 144 005
Phone: (0181) 2260675
Established: 1847 (rebuilt 1989)
Catholics: 1849 Catholic Families: 402
The name “Jalandhar” means the area between the waters. It is in Doaba Region, the land between Beas and Sutlej rivers. It is said to be the oldest city of Punjab and it is a fast developing modern city. St. Mary’s Cathedral, the shrine of Mother Mary Queen of Peace, is one of its landmarks. It shines as a great religious symbol, a spectacular landmark of Jalandhar Cantt. and a visible sign of Catholic presence in Punjab. All through the year, especially during the feast days, devotees of all castes and creeds, from far and wide, throng to this place to pay their respect to Mother Mary and pray for blessings. St. Mary’s Cathedral was the first Catholic Church built in in 1847 in the Indian part of Punjab in 1847 and was named St. Patrick Church. It was erected by Fr. John Macdonel OFM Cap. of the Vicariate Apostolic of Agra. When, Pope Pius XII, , after the Partition of India an Pakistan, gave the Catholic mission of Indian Punjab a separate identity as the ‘Apostolic Prefecture of of Jullundur’ St. Patrick’s Church in Jalandhar became the main Church of the Prefecture.
When Pope Paul VI raised the Prefecture to the status of a diocese and appointed Symphorian Keeprath OFM Cap. as the first bishop in 1972, this church became the Cathedral and was re-named as St. Mary’s Cathedral. This church building had served the needs of the community for 140 years. Since it was found to be unsafe for further use, permission was obtained for erecting a new church at the same site.
The new church was designed by Bp. Symphorian Keeprath along with Fr. Mathew Kokkandam, with expert advice of artists Mr. Augustine, Mr. Antony and the Army Engineers. The Church design was chosen, keeping in mind the pluri-religious character of the land, incorporating typical architectural elements of Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Christian places of worship. The reconstruction work started on February 15, 1987. The foundation stone for the new church had already been blessed by Pope John Paul II in New Delhi during his first visit to India on February 02, 1986. Bp. Symphorian Keeprath laid the Foundation stone on Easter Sunday, April 19, 1987. The new church was blessed by Archbishop Jose Sanchez, the special delegate of Pope John Paul II from Rome and inaugurated by Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, the Vatican Ambassador to India on 29th October 1989.
The entrance is an architectural innovation. The pond with the palms and pines on the sides provide an ecological backdrop and adds to the scenic beauty of the Church. The statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Facade of the Church is very symbolic of the Lord inviting and blessing everyone coming to Him. The imposing domes on square shaped minarets and hexagonal spire at the back with a Cross are symbols of inter-religious harmony.
As one enters the Church, one can experience a serene atmosphere of peace and prayer. The scenes from the Bible, the Stations of the Cross and the Mysteries of the Rosary on Crinkle glass – a variation of European stained glass, invite the visitor to remember salvation history.
The basement is a chapel of the perpetual adoration of the Holy Eucharist. The statues of the 12 Apostles are placed in the niches of the twelve pillars symbolize the apostolic foundation of the Church. The basement has also the Belgium made statues of St. Francis Assisi, the second Patron of the Diocese and St. Antony of Padua.
The Grotto of Mary, Mother of Peace is facing the sanctuary of perpetual adoration, signifying the support of Mother Mary for all those who come to the presence of Jesus, her son. Important events relating to the life of Mother Mary are painted on the roof inside the church. The Baptismal font of the old Church has been preserved and continues to be the place of initiating people into faith.
The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes was inaugurated in 2001 where the Candle light procession and Novena prior to the annual feast is a unique prayerful experience for devotees. This holy sanctuary attracts thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the North for prayer and meditation.
The Rosary Villa is a new addition made in 2010 where the Pieta is placed at the foot of Jubilee Cross commemorating the Silver Jubilee of the Diocese. The Mysteries of the Rosary are depicted in the Rosary Villa.,
The latest addition to the attractions is the “Bible Valley” located in the right side of the Cathedral. With the help of life-size statues and reliefs, the Valley, full of Loblolly Pine Trees presents various scenes of Salvation History from the Creation account to the Ascension. A stream running through the valley, flowing from the river Jordan, makes the Holy Land present to visitors.