Pilgrim Centre

Our Lady of Snows Basilica,Thoothukudi
Our Lady of Snows Basilica,Thoothukudi
Feast Day:
5th August
E-mail: rector@snowsbasilica.com
Telephone (O) +91 461-2320854, 2330147
  Contact: Our Lady of Snows Basilica ! Thoothukudi,41, ! Beach Road, Tuticorin    
Our Lady of Snows Basilica is located at Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the Catholic pilgrimage centres in India dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Shrine name refers to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, where legend says snow fell in the summertime.

The church was built during 16th century, and dedicated to St. Peter. Later Jesuits consecrated it to Our Lady of Snows. In 1542 St. Francis Xavier visited the shrine to catechise the Paravas, the indigenous people of the Pearl Fishery Coast, and to strengthen them in Christian faith. The history of the shrine is closely connected with the mass conversion of the paravar community, numbering about 30,000. 

To show their love and gratitude, devotees presented a golden car which is used to carry the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Snows around the town during her feast day. The Golden Car first appeared in procession on 2 February 1806 and since then on 5 August of every year. A big star rests over the royal crown on the top of the car, signifying the name of Our Lady as the Star of the Sea (Stella Maris). The statue is one of three works of religious art originally brought by explorer Ferdinand Magellan to the Philippines, the others being the Santo Niño de Cebu and the Manapad altar crucifix.

In 1982, when the Church of Our Lady of Snows celebrated its 400th anniversary, Pope John Paul II raised it to the status of Basilica through his apostolic letter Pervenute illa Dei Beatissimae Genitricis Effigies.