Bible Drama leads the people to Faith Experience during the Shrine Feast of Mokama

Patna Catholic archdiocese of Bihar in India boasts of its only Holy Shrine of ‘Our Lady of the Divine Graces at Mokama, about 95 kms. east of Patna by rail road. This Holy Shrine was established in the year 1947, once the famous English rail man Lesley Martin Burns donated a sprawling piece of five acres of land for the purpose. The Shrine since then has been attracting pilgrims, increasingly in number over the years, from all walks of life and belonging to different tenets of faith. The annual Shrine feast is celebrated on the first Sunday of February every year. People within and outside the bound of archdiocese believe in the healing powers of the Mother, Our Lady of the Divine Graces. They also believe in her power to bless the barren devotees with children.

This year the Shrine feast was celebrated on the 1st Sunday of February. The Novena prayers (a 9-day prayer preceding the Shrine feast) with community rosary and holy Eucharist were the ritual features of the Shrine campus, beginning January 24th which were held every evening with a sizable number of devotees drawn from the local Parish and outside. Candle-lit processions through the town on the first evening and prayer with the larger community arriving for the Feast in the evening of the last day of the Novena are also adorable features of the Shrine Feast celebrations

The Feast Day is marked by Confessions and an elaborate Healing Prayer Session, conducted by Priests devoting to Charismatic renewal movements and culminating with a Holy Eucharist followed by a solemn Benediction, by noon. A Dola (a crib with the replica – statue – of Our Lady of the Shrine) procession culminating again with a Holy Eucharist are concluding features of the Feast Day, attended by devotees in thousands

Since the pilgrims begin descending in numbers from the previous day itself, the Parish organizes some spiritual engagements towards faith formation for the devotees in the evening through late night: Rosaries, prayers, Bhajans and Kirtans being regular features, presented by groups from different nearby Parishes. The eve of this year’s Shrine Feast witnessed something different on this score. A 2.5 hour full-length drama on the life of Jesus, beginning with the fall and Promise of a Messiah as depicted in the Book of Genesis of the Bible, through annunciation to ascension was a special feature for the eve of the Shrine Festival. Under the able guidance of Fr. Arun Ignatius, the entire team of Ravi Bharati from Patna was behind the orchestration of the light and sound program. About forty local parishioners together with 10 novices of the local SCN congregation of religious women and five seminarians of the Minor Seminary of Patna Archdiocese prepared and presented the story, Prem Sandesh, before a 1500 strong audience, who braved the falling mercury with biting cold breeze of the late evening.