It was quite by chance that we drove by the Church of Infant Jesus in Viveknagar over the weekend, and heard some beautiful singing. We decided to stop and pay the church a visit. The husband told me it is one of the most famous churches in Bangalore city, but I had never visited it before. Neither did I know its history.
The church, which is a beautiful structure in itself, was festooned with colourful streamers. We were told it was the day of the English mass, which is, apparently, quite popular with the locals. The church’s parking lot was full and, predictably, the church too was full. There was a sense of serenity and deep piety within, as if the devotees were echoing the very words of the Lord etched outside the church building: ‘The more you honour me, the more I will bless you.’
The Church of Infant Jesus was built in the year 1971, so as to commemorate the famous Infant Jesus of Prague. It is a Roman Catholic church that has grown extremely popular over the years, thanks to miracles that have happened in the lives of a number of people who have prayed here. Many an ailment prayed for with a sincere heart in the church – from health problems to career problems and family and relationship problems – have been resolved. People from all religions flock the church, especially on Thursdays, which is a special day dedicated to Infant Jesus.
Behind the church is a metal grid on which many have tied pieces of clothes and threads or secured locks. I am assuming this is their way of requesting the Lord for a miracle in their lives. There are also small statues placed nearby, which, I think, is the devotees’ way of offering thanks for the good that has come to them.
In the year 2005, a new structure was added to the church, which is presently used as a shrine to Infant Jesus. The tradition is to light a candle, purchased from one of the several vendors selling them outside the church, at the shrine and/or put a garland on the statue.
Every year since 1971, a feast for the devotees is held on January 14, which is attended by thousands from across the city.
The 1984 Tamil movie Kuzhandai Yesu (Infant Jesus) was based on this church, post which there was a further rise in the church’s popularity.
This church was, apparently, started in a small tent. Today, it has grown so much in popularity that it has become a major Bangalore landmark.