Alappuzha: The Universal Church is blessed with a new Basilica through raising the St. Mary’s Forane Church, Kalloorkad, Champakulam, Kerala, India as the Basilica of St. Mary, on 27th Nov 2016. The Basilica, generally known as the Champakulam Valia Palli, was consecrated on 28th December 427 AD,(On the Feast of Holy Innocents) for fostering the spiritual needs of the faithful in Kuttanad.
Its historical background, the contribution to the universal Church, Thekshnatha, faithful tradition, and growing presence of pilgrims are some of the reasons for elevating the Forane Church into a Basilica’ says the Rector of the Basilica, Fr. Joseph Vaniyapurackal. The present Church, which is 130 feet long, was constructed in 1885 underwent massive restoration/ major renovation work in the year 1985. The interior part of the Church comprises of three sections; Hikkala (where worshippers gather), Chestroma (where Church choir gathers) and Madbaha (Sanctum Sanctorum).
The Basilica parish comprising of more than 1300 families, celebrates the feast of St. Joseph every year on 19th March on a grand scale. It has always been a tradition to serve the devotees with a sumptuous lunch, prepared and hosted by the parishioners themselves and brought to the Church in country boats (thoni – in Malayalam). Today however, the Parish organizes the lunch by receiving different food items from the parishioners. In order to keep the traditional concept, the parishioners have donated a Sambar (a humble and ubiquitous dish served along with cooked rice) container, built with concrete in the shape of a country boat; Sambar Thoni. Today its historical and strong faithful traditions attracts pilgrims to the Basilica.