Praying and traveling by train and then by small vans, all the way from Karachi to Mariamabad was quite difficult but when I saw Pilgrims travel by barefooted, bullock carts, bicycles, and trucks I was motivated and it became easier for Master Javed Charagh, a Catechist of St. James Parish of the Archdiocese of Karachi, a big devotee of Mother Mary.
Master Javed traveled to Mariamabad few years back in 2010 to visit the shrine and kept an intersession of building a house for his family but he had no saving and idea that how he will build it. He went there and put his intention before Mother Mary and on his return heard a news of approval of a loan he requested many times in different banks. This made him very happy and finally he builds his house, and believes that it’s all because of visiting the National Shrine of Mother Mary and her prayers.
As a Catechist, he is often seen spreading the message of praying Rosary and motivates people for asking prayers from Mother Mary, the mother of God in their difficulties and problems.
This year he seems worried and concerned for those who will not be able to visit and pray there, as he heard that there is no annual pilgrimage at National Marian Shrine, during the first week of September. People of his area, where he is serving as a catechist spoke to him, and shared their sadness, but he consoles them by saying that Mother Mary is a mother of risen Christ she will defiantly listen and fulfill their desires here also, she knows the reason and restrictions put because of Pandemic.
His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of the Archdiocese of Lahore has announced on last Friday, August 28, through a video message that “There will be no annual pilgrimage at Mariamabad this year.” Unprecedented because of Corona virus, it saddens me, this year we cannot conduct the pilgrimage. Since, globally all pilgrimages have been restricted we too must comply with the government instructions.”
The Archbishop also said that “This is a special announcement for people who previously took part from remote areas in large numbers instructing them to avoid travelling this time of the year.
On September 4, at 4pm Holy Mass will be conducted for celebrating Mother Mary’s birthday. Residents joining us from close vicinities must keep in mind that this Mass is not at an international level”. “Furthermore, Holy Masses will be carried on September 5, but they are not a part of pilgrimage. We instruct participants to leave the premises at the end of the mass strictly prohibiting overnight stays since there are no accommodations available” Archbishop added.
The traditional Mariamabad pilgrimage to the Grotto of Our Lady, Daman E Mariam is located in one of the oldest Christian places of Pakistan, about 115 km from Lahore, hidden deep in Punjab in the Sheikhupura district in a village named Mariamabad.
The Marian Shrine of Mariamabad, Pakistan is a Catholic Church, a site of pilgrimage famous for its unique ambiance and its yearly festival commemorating the birth of the Virgin Mary. Visitors and pilgrims include Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs.
More than a million people visited the shrine in September 2019 to celebrate its 70th anniversary including Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan, who blessed a new altar at the shrine.
The National Marian Shrine in Mariamabad, Pakistan is a National Shrine and the site of an annual pilgrimage for the September 8 feast of the birth of Mary. This event has been taking place since 1949. Mariamabad means city of Mary in the Urdu language.
Mariamabad began in 1892. Observing the misery and oppression of the newly converted Christians in the district of Sialkot, Capuchin Bishop Van Den Bosch purchased 150 acres (0.61 km2) of government land for 650,000 rupees (US$29,545) for Christians to live and work on. In 1893, three priests and three Christian families moved to the land.
Mariamabad literally means “The village of Mary.” It covers an area of two thousand acres and is inhabited primarily by Christians. over two million pilgrims draws from all over Pakistan and even many foreigners also arrive here every year travelling Barefooted, on bicycles and even on bikes.