Annual feast of Our Lady of Guidance Church, celebrations toned down
By Juliana Sridhar

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Our Lady of Guidance Church also known as Lazarus Church in R. A. Puram is one of the oldest churches in the city. The chapel of St. Lazarus was built by the Portuguese in the year 1582. The present church was built in 1928. and it was renamed as Our Lady of Guidance Church in 1954. It became a separate parish on 1 June 1957. The feast of St Lazarus that is celebrated on the last Saturday and Sunday of January each year has been celebrated for the past 455 years says Rev. Fr. Y. F. Bosco, the Parish Priest.

Saint Lazarus is the patron saint for skin diseases. Every year Saint Lazarus Feast used to be celebrated in a grand manner but this year, every thing has been toned down due to the pandemic regulations. There were no fire crackers, no band, no loudspeakers and no roadside shops. After the mass at 5.15 p.m, on Saturday, a music CD in honour of St. Lazarus was released. The music has been composed by X. Paulraj and the lyrics are by J. Albert. Following this, the 9 beautifully decorated statues went around the streets surrounding the church It is the only parish that takes out 9 statues of saints in a car procession each year. People were asked not to follow the car procession  this year but instead to stand in front of their houses or at street corners. Only the choir members were permitted to follow the procession.

There was no procession taken out on Sunday but all the 9 statues were kept in the church compound for devotees to visit and pray. There were 4 masses in the morning at 6 am. 7.30 a.m. 9.15 a.m and 10.30 a m. The flag was lowered at the mass held at 5 15 p.m and it culminated the feast celebrations.
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