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Thousands flock to Infant Jesus feast

source: The Times of India

Thousands attended the annual feast at the Infant Jesus Church, Viveknagar, on Monday with many just about finding space on the periphery of the shrine. Hundreds gathered on the road outside to catch a glimpse of the celebrations

Various neighborhood shrines in the area were also decorated to celebrate the 42nd annual feast. The church draws people of all faiths as it's believed that prayers made here never go unanswered.

Even as people jostled to see the cultural programme in the evening, devotees went about their worship unaffected by the festivities. "I love the whole atmosphere at the feast. It belief in Jesus is strengthened on seeing thousands of people attending the event to seek his blessings," said 24-year Sam Velu, who works for a designer brand outlet and a regular visitor to this feast for the past 15 years.

Many non-Christians were also seen lighting candles. "This is the second time I'm attending the feast. Though I'm a Hindu, I come to the shrine because I feel at peace every time I'm here. I haven't wished for anything yet but I may just do that in future," said 21-year-old student Pramod RN.

"People have had their prayers answered and that's why the shrine is famous across the country," said DG&IGP; Lalrokhuma Pachau, who flagged off the chariot which marked the end of the feast. The celebrations kicked off after a blessing by Archbishop Bernard Moras of the Bangalore diocese.

The flag-hoisting ceremony marks the nine days of novena, an institutional act of devotion in the Roman Catholic Church. In this period, there are regular prayers in various local languages and the festival concludes with the feast.