OUR LADY OF SNOWS – PRAY FOR US | புனித தஸ்நேவிஸ் மாதாவே - எங்களுக்காக வேண்டிகொள்ளுங்கள்
The Kottar Diocese detached from Quilon Diocese most of the Catholics are the followers of St.Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ and St. Francis Xavier, the Jesuit Priest. The people in Maravankudieruppu have a different history. Catholics here were baptized by St. John De Britto from Kamanaikenpatti Parish.
In olden days, there where only few Catholics who lived in small groups and were not able to build a Church. So they built a small chapel called Grottos Kurusady, to fulfill there spiritual needs. Similarly in Maravankudieruppu too they had built a small chapel in cemetery and the chapel was dedicated to Our Lady of Assumption. The said Our Lady Statue was brought from Kamanaickenpatti.
The tomb of Thiru. Swamiyadian Thirupappu Nadar is behind the chapel. Till 1920 Holy Mass was not celebrated, but prayers were conducted by a Layman (upathesiar). He was responsible for maintaining the church with the offerings and the excess will go to him as his maintenance.
His duty was to light up the oil lamp (alexandrian laurel oil-Punnai Oil) and conduct the prayer service. Lot of miracles happened to the people. Therefore the people suffering from illness used to sleep in night hours in the cemetery chapel for their recovery. As population grew steadily the chapel could not accommodate more peoples. So they decided to build another church.
The Second Church is in the centre of the village. Over 100 people are able to sit and pray. Inside the Church, the statues of Blessed Virgin Mary, (now on St. Nallamana Matha Curia) Infant Jesus and St. Joseph have been placed on the altar. In front of the Church there was a bell, which was not covering the distance. So they purchased a big bell, but the church was not strong enough to hold the bell. So they hang up the bell on the near by a Tamarind tree. Presently the bell is used in our present Church, namely, Thasnavis Matha Church.
From 1820 onwards the Second Church was used as a veranda school. The School was up to second standard and the teaching method was by writing on the sand. When the school, namely St. Mary’s Primary School was built and shifted to Main Road in 1908, it was converted as Church. Hence the service from the cemetery Chapel was shifted to the Second Church.
Basically this was used as an Grotto (Kurusady). Mainly this is used for multipurpose of conducting various functions.
1. Prayers and services in the evening
2. Marian Month ( May) was celebrated very grandly.
3. Village Committee meetings
From 1940 the Liturgy of Holy Mass was celebrated by Rev.Fr. Richard. When the Holy Mass celebration started, then onwards the feast was also celebrated on August. Once in a Month, the Holy Mass was celebrated on first Sunday at 7.00 A.M. After 1947-51 Rev.Fr.Ambrose celebrated the Holy Mass once in a week. From then marriage and other Sacraments were also held there. (Previously for Marriage and other Sacraments people had to go to St.Antony’s Church, Kurusady). When the population increased the second church was not adequate to conduct services. So they decided to build another church.
Third church was planned in three places. Finally, it was decided to construct near the playground. As soon as the construction work started, the foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of Kottar Most Dr. Roch Agniswamy in 1945. For collecting funds the people above 18 years of age should give money, if not, they had to work during construction. For mobilizing huge funds, people of Maravankudieruppu sang "Thukka pattu" to other Catholic parishes and collected donations.
Another spectacular one is that the whole structure is supported by nine concrete arches and there is no pillars. and designed at a height of 40 feet, the door frames are made from stone and no other Church near by Maravankudieruppu is built in this design. Originally the plan of the church tower was 150 feet. Then the tower of the Church was altered later at the final stage. Therefore the Church construction was partially completed and consecrated for service. The church was dedicated to St.Thasnavis Matha, it is a Portugese language and it means Our Lady of Snows.
On December 11, 1954 at 6.30 AM in the morning the Church was consecrated and opened by His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Roch Agniswamy, the Bishop of Kottar in front of Rev. Fr.D.C. Antony, the parish priest of Kurusady. During the Feasts, hoisting the flag for 10 days, initially they used Areca Nut tree for the flagstaff, then teak tree and now a concrete tower.
In earlier days Petromax lights and Candles were used in Churches. Later the Church was Electrified. In 1962 by singing "Thukka pattu" in 14 parishes and collected Rs. 440 to buy Amplifier and Speakers. Thereafter, lightning arresters were purchased with the help of the donation. Mercury lights have been fixed. This light is having a glowing capacity of 2 Km’s surrounding the Maravankudieruppu.