Feb 17: The feast of the Relic of St Antony was celebrated with much devotion at St Antony’s Udupi Diocesan Shrine, Kerekatte, Hosangadi, Kundapura here on February 15.
Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, the Bishop of Udupi, presided over the solemn Eucharistic celebration concelebrated by other priests.
The theme of the feast was, “Let us grow faith in the family garden.” Preaching a beautiful homily on the theme of the feast, Fr Anil D’Souza, parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima Church, Perampally, stressed the importance of faith in a Christian family.
Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of Udupi, addressing the devotees, invited people to visit the shrine and make use of the spiritual activities in the shrine for their spiritual nourishment.
Fr Sunil Veigas, rector of the shrine, thanked all the people involved to make the celebration a devotion inspiring one.
Kerekatte is a remote village at the foot of Western Ghats, just at the intersection of Hosangadi and Siddapur state highway. From Kundapur it is 35 km on the way to Jog falls and Shimoga. From Brahmavar- Barkur via Hallady, the distance is 55kms.
Just before taking up a steep height of Balebareghats, the road passes through Kerekette. On that way, St. Antony of Padua facing the shrine on the left side is visible. The story goes back to the beginning of Christian presence in this region.
About 450 years ago, Christianity began to spread from Goa in the coastal Konkan region. It is said that more than 350 years ago, a farmer while ploughing his fields, found a small wooden statue of St Antony. Though he and the local people had no idea of Christianity, they began to venerate this statue.
St Joseph Vaz visited this place in the year 1682 and placed the statue under a thatched roof for public veneration. Thus started the devotion to St Antony in Kerekette. Many people, especially commuters, cart and vehicle drivers started stopping over here, praying and paying their tributes to St. Antony. The quiet devotion that started over three and a half centuries ago continues even now with a steady flow of devotees.