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The Feast of St Antony was celebrated with much devotion at St Antony’s Udupi Diocesan Shrine, Kerekatte, Hosangadi, Kundapura, on June 13, 2024. Most Rev. Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, the Bishop of Udupi, presided over the solemn Eucharistic celebration, concelebrated by the Diocesan Priests and other priests.

The theme of the feast was “Pray Relentlessly.” Preaching a beautiful homily on the theme, Most Rev. Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo stressed the importance of prayer. Addressing the devotees, he invited people to visit the shrine and make use of the spiritual activities there for their spiritual nourishment.

V. Rev. Fr Sunil Veigas, rector of the shrine, thanked all the people involved in making the celebration a devotion-inspiring one.

Kerekatte is a remote village at the foot of the Western Ghats, just at the intersection of Hosangadi and Siddhapura state highway. It is 35 km from Kundapur on the way to Jog Falls and Shimoga. From Brahmavar-Barkur via Hallady, the distance is 55 km.

Just before taking up the steep height of Balebare Ghats, the road passes through Kerekatte. On that way, St. Antony of Padua faces the shrine on the left side. The story goes back to the beginning of the 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 Kerekatte. 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.

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