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Our Lady of Snows Basilica - Thoothukudi

Golden Car

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The Star

Instead  of a Cross, we find a star at the top of the car. It signifies the name of Our Lady as the Star of the Sea (Stella Maris). The name given from heaven to the parents of Our Lady through the Angle was Mirjam (in Hebrew) meaning the Star of the Sea. It was the name selected by God the Father to His favored Daughter. In this world of turbulent waters, she is the guiding Star showing us the true path. St. Bernard says that there cannot be a better name to our Divine Mother. For just as the star spreads its rays of light without losing its own light, the Virgin Mother brought forth her Divine Son the Light of the world (Jn 8:12), without losing her virginity. This Star illuminates the whole world. It warms the minds, increases virtues and destroys wickedness. It is the shining example for us all to emulate and its light exhibits the graces and prerogatives enjoyed by Our Lady.

This star has five points to signify the five extra-ordinary prerogatives of Our Divine Mother, viz. (i) her Divine Motherhood (ii)) her Immaculate Conception (iii) her perpetual virginity (iv) she is the channel of Divine grace and (v) she is the Gate of Heaven. The nine gold fishes circulating under the great Star indicates the circulation of the nine planets around Our Lady, the Head Star, thereby signifying that God has appointed Our Blessed Virgin as the Sovereign ruler of the whole universe. The seven rays coming out of the Star indicate the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Golden Crown

The royal crown whereon rests the big Star, is the most wonderful workmanship of art that adds beauty to the Golden Car. It signifies the fact that Our Blessed Virgin was crowned as the Queen of Heaven and earth. Thus it signifies that all men are under her sovereign rule and as such they belong to her. It also indicates her power to drive away Satans armies as well as heresies.

God the Father

Just below the golden crown is the throne of God. God the Father stands there in the figure of an aged person. This reminds the faithful that the Blessed Virgin is the well beloved Daughter of God, the Father. The liturgy of the Church addresses Our Lady as O Virgin, first conceived in the Spirit of the Creator (Hymn, First Vespers, The Feast of Assumption : The Breviary). let Heaven and earth rejoice, for Mary, the Byzantine Liturgy (Sept 8). St. Peter Damian says: God dwelt in Mary in a kind of substantial union, because He Himself is the Mother. Hence a prominent place to God the Father in the Golden Car.

The Holy Spirit

We can see the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove with shining rays, placed in between God the Father and Our Blessed Virgin. Our Blessed Mother is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Between Mary the Immaculate and the Holy Spirit, there is a deep union not only, because Mary's will is absolutely conformed to that of the Holy Spirit, as a dutiful spouses would be, but also because she was always conscious and free instrument in His regard, a true handmaid, but more precisely because the Holy Spirit, dwells in her as in His privileged sanctuary. (Immaculate Conception and Holy Spirit The Marian Teachings of St. Maxi Millen Kolbe, by Fr. H. M. Manteau Bonamy, O. P. 197, p.51)

God, the Son.

Jesus Christ was born in the Jewish Race founded by the twelve sons of Jacob, the patriarch. Hence, in the central and prominent place of the car, there stand twelve pillars with strong basements and in their midst and in the holy hands of our Blessed Mother who is surrounded by the Angels, Kings, Prophets and the Evangelists, is the incarnated Redeemer of the whole world.

Thus the car may be described as the Heavenly abode of the Holy Trinity coming on earth as the Heavenly Jerusalem. (Ref. Rev: 21:2)

The Basement of the Car

This new Jerusalem, viz, the Immaculate City of the divine Mother was built on twelve foundations : And the wall of the city had twelve foundations and in them, the twelve names of the apostles of the lamb (Rev: 21 : 14).
And the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all manner of precious stones (Rev: 21 :9). The Twelve precious stones remind us of the twelve special prerogatives of our divine Mother.

The heads of the four parrots found on the four corners of the basement tell us that the parava people were the heirs of Pandya Kings. Besides, to show that this Golden Car is made in thanks giving of the sea-faring people, four mermaids, with human heads and bodies of fish are erected. The four stand on the four borders with folded hands.

To signify the rosary of fifty three beads of Hail Marys first uttered at Annunciation which was the result of Immaculate Conception, the car is made in the height of 53 feet. To show that the Divine Mother is the Mother of the Church, the car rolls on Six wheels signifying the six precepts of the Church and instructing the faithful that the car should be taken round only on the guidance of the spiritual leaders of the Church.

The City of God

If we view the Golden Car with the above descriptions and explanations, it will be seen that it is not merely a chariot take in procession the Divine Mother to honor her. Rather, it will be seen that it is a temple of art and architecture, the Mystical City of God, constructed by God the Father from all-eternity, coming down to present to our naked eyes the glory of the Immaculate Conception of Our Heavenly Mother.

Mr. Navis Fonseka, the Catholic architect who designed and made the Golden Car, must not have been a mere architect but he must have mastered the Catholic dogmas and Scriptures besides being inspired from above. This is seen in every figure he has carved and in theirr minute details. For, the structure, the number of ornaments, the length, breadth and height all agree to the inspired explantions of BL. Mary of Adreda, written in 1650, to chapter 21 of St. Johns Apocalypse (vide Mystical City of God vol. ch. 17, 18 and 19).

The Golden Car was first taken in procession on 2nd February 1806 and then on 5th August in the years, 1872, 1879, 1895, 1905, 1908, 1926, 1947, 1955, 1964, 1977, 1982, 2000 and 2007. It was taken along usual routes on the roads of Thoothukudi on August 5th led by 25 Catholic Bishops, and presided by the Apostolic Nuncio in India.

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Last modified on Monday, 27 July 2015 14:42