What could be described as a gentle melody has swelled into a vast symphony of prayer and praise that rises every Wednesday... to the heights of heaven! On September 8, 1948, the Perpetual Novena at St.Michael’s Church was started in a small way. It continues. It will go on. Today 68 years later we have a sea of devotees from all walks of life, from every part of the city. And beyond. Devotees make their way to Mahim, Wednesday after Wednesday, to honor and venerate our blessed Mother.
It all began in the year 1948, when Fr. Edward Placidus Fernandes, who on his return from Europe, having seen the ardent devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, at Belfast, in Ireland, brought back with him a picture…one blessed by placing it upon the original picture in Rome.
On the 8th of September, 1948, the Birthday of Our Lady, which happened to be a Wednesday that year, after a tritium of preparation, led by a Redemptorist priest, the First Novena services were held in the Church of St, Michael, Mahim. Rev.Fr. Edward Placidus Fernandes was the then Vicar. Only two services were held every Wednesday and it took three months before the devotion could take deep roots, among the people. It was a very modest beginning without any pretences.
Mgr. Eddie Fernandes was transferred from Mahim, in June 1950, but not before the Lord and the Good Mother, had shown him the fruit of his endeavors. Yes indeed he worked hard to make Our Beloved Mother known and loved. The devotion had rapidly captured the enthusiasm of the locals that within a short time the services not only increased in numbers…the crowds swelled beyond expectations!
Today from 6.00 in the mornings to 10 at night, the unceasing streams of devotees pour in for twelve services held in English, Konkani, Marathi, Hindi and Tamil. These services testify to the popularity of this devotion. Parishes elsewhere in the city have adopted this novena for the convenience of their parishioners. Since then the crowds only increase with each passing year!
No doubt then it is clear to those who observe the teeming crowds, that this kind of faith, from the visitors of the shrine…will go rewarded with answered prayers through our Mother’s intersession. People from different walks of life, across different stratus of society, of all ages, communities and religions people flock to the shrine each Wednesday…To proclaim God the Father and His hand made our beloved Mother who was chosen in all Israel to be the Mother of Jesus.
Yes, the church in Mahim has become a centre, from where radiates warmth and light of this devotion, transforming the Mother of God into the Mother of Perpetual Succor… always interceding at the feet of God for our needs.