The Infant Jesus Shrine Feast
The SHRINE FEAST (BAL Yeshu Yatra) in honour of the Infant Jesus at St.Xavier’s Church, Nashik. The Shrine of the Infant Jesus welcomes persons of all faiths. The Infant Jesus showers his blessings on all persons of good will. Love offerings are gratefully received and acknowledged. Intentions of devotees and Thanksgiving are specially offered to the infant jesus at the perpetual Novena Mass at St.Xavier's Church, Nashik road. Besides, numerous little children in schools and boardings in Adivasi and Dalit rural areas are being provided with educational and medical facilities. These are continually grateful for your generosity and pray to the Infant Jesus for your welfare.
Justly celebrated throughout the world is the little statue of the infant Jesus in the Church of Shrine. Many a curious devotees has wondered as to why the holy shrine came to be located at Nashik. The answer is simple because after the training of father Peter, he was posted to the Parish at Nashik Road where he spent a considerable time. The propagation of the devotion to Infant Jesus which spread like wild fire was started by father Peter and he felt very befitting that the location of the shrine should be in the midst of these peaceful surroundings.
The early days of the missionary work in this parish were beset with financial difficulties. Father Peter had to visit the surrounding villages and as there were no funds and he had to make frequent visits to Bombay trying to get some alms for the work in the villages. It was during one of these rounds in Bombay, that a retired teacher, a great devotee herself now very old and feeble, suggested to Father Peter to start this devotion. She herself gave him generously of her savings. This was greatly encouraged. As a child he was aware of this devotion to the Infant Jesus. Faced with very Grave financial difficulties, and with this initial amount from a devotee, he was determined to start this devotion. It was an uphill task to make this devotion known to other in Bombay and elsewhere. This was in 1962. Donations started coming in very small amounts - from 25 paise and 50 paise to a rupee and five and more. They started the school, and he happened to be connected with it and that is why the Shrine is built in the School compound. There was a time when father had not even a single paise form his work. He had to borrow a few rupees from his conveyance to the villages. By and by things brightened, with the infant Jesus leading the way. Since then a number of generous souls-devotees of the infant Jesus- came forward to help in the work of the shrine particular mention must be made of one family in Bombay, who, Jesus a partner in it. With his blessings, they have made great strides in their business and today in their own line, they are a force to be reckoned with. This and various other instances go to prove that those who trust in him are blessed even materially.
Plans were made for the shrine. The spot being in the proximity of the aerodrome. There were many difficulties with the Air Force Authorities. But miraculously just before Christmas, the final green signal, which came as a big Christmas Gift, was given and they were able to complete the Shrine building, the inauguration was held in February 1970. Thousand of people from Bombay and other places came, and it was very rewarding to see the enthusiasm of the people and their love and devotion to the infant king. Since then they have been having the annual feast and thousands flock .
There has been a very great demand for the souvenirs of the Infant Jesus. Under the guidance and inspiration of the infant Jesus they have been able to manage somehow. They have been able to obtain good local articles.
Novena booklets, pictures, medals etc are being sent to many parts of the world. Infant Jesus had worked innumerable miracles in India and abroad and it is very consoling to see the finger of God in this devotion. Thousands are being brought back to God through this devotion. Love him and make him known and love by others, and he will abide by his promises.
The SHRINE FEAST ( Bal Yeshu Yatra) in honour of the Infant Jesus, celebrates every year and attracts a very large number of pilgrims and devotees of the Infant Jesus. It is preceded by the solemn Novena with newly ordained Jesuits invited to preach and celebrate the Eucharist in Marathi and in English. The theme for the Novena/feast 2012 was "Lord increase my faith" with allied themes and scripture Readings for each Novena day. Bishop Lourdes Daniel, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Nashik, celebrated the Feast Day Mass, with numerous concelebrants, in a shamiana on the grounds of St. Xavier's school.