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Good Shepherd Church, Kottayam, Kerala


Good Shepherd Church, the first church of the Diocese of Vijayapuram, is situated behind the civil station, at a distance of 2kms from Kottayam. It was constructed in the Italian style in1882 and was renovated in 1964. Annually two feasts are held here. One is the feast of St. Sebastian on 20th January and the other that of Good Shepherd in the month of April. Good Shepherd Church Kottayam is one of the must-see tourist attractions of the city. Everything about Good Shepherd Church Kottayam, from its history to its architecture is very interesting. It has been gathered from the history of Good Shepherd Church in Kottayam that it was constructed in the year, 1882. Later in 1964 the church was renovated to restore its grandeur and original brilliance. Good Shepherd Church is eminent as the first church under the important Diocese of Vijayapuram. The architecture of the church has been largely influenced by Italian designs and patterns. Visitors are overwhelmed with the beauty and grandeur of the church. The location of Good Shepherd Church in Kottayam is very convenient as it well connected with many parts of the state. There are regular trains and buses to Kottayam. The church is located at the backside of Kottayam's civil station. Most people prefer to visit the church between September and March. One of the key attractions of the church is the annual feast of Good Shepherd Church in Kottayam. Every year it is held with a great deal of devotion in the church between 10th and 12th April. Another significant feast is that of Saint Sebastian that is held every year on January 20th. Christians from the neighboring districts of Kerala visit the church in large numbers on the days of these important feasts. Good Shepherd Church Kottayam is very popular just like all the important pilgrim centers of Kerala.

Progressive growth of the church

From 1963 onwards the Shrine witnessed a rapid progress in its growth, largely due to the Zealous and dynamic priests appointed as Parish Priests or Rectors of the Shrine. In 1963 Very Rev. Fr. Maria Susai took charge of the Parish of Vailankanni. He was the first Tamil priest to do so. This indefatigable priest toiled ceaselessly to develop the Shrine of Our Lady in many fields. Accordingly, he began constructing hundreds of rooms for the convenience of pilgrims. He put up a new building for the 'Museum of Offering'. Extension of the Shrine Basilica was constructed. He setting up of a straight path from the Extension Basilica to Our Lady's Tank. The stations of the Cross along the way to the Tank were also erected by him. He had been bringing out the movie 'Annai Vailankanni'. Indian Overseas Bank was opened during his period. His selfless service to the Shrine terminated on April 13th 1980 when God called him to his eternal reward. He was laid to rest on the right wing outside the Shrine Basilica. Rev. Fr. Maria Susai was succeeded by Very Rev. Msgr. Thomas Vaz. He brought about significant improvements in the administration of the Shrine. He erected the clock tower at Our Lady' Tank and properly constructed the tank. Incidentally, many healing also take place by applying the oil, blessed at the Shrine, on sick. This oil is popularly known as 'Our Lady's Oil'. He also plastered the concrete covering over the roof of the Shrine. He paid special attention to the conduct of prayers at the Shrine. As his services were required in Thanjavur, he was transferred and Very Rev. Fr. S.L. Gabriel succeeded him as parish priest of the Shrine.

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