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Arthunkal church declared basilica

Staff Reporter

ALAPPUZHA: The 16th Century St. Andrews Forane Church at Arthunkal will now on be a basilica, the first in the Alappuzha diocese of the Catholic Church and the seventh overall in the State.

Vatican's Ambassador to India, Archbishop Salvatore Pennachio, led a special mass that began at 3 p.m. at the popular pilgrim centre to elevate the church to its new status.

A specially selected 101-strong choir sang hymns to mark the occasion.

Archbishop M. Susapakiam, Archbishop Francis Kallarackal, Bishop Peter M. Chenaparambil, Bishop Stephen Athipozhiyil, Basilica Rector Stephen Pazhambassery and others were present.

A public meeting that was inaugurated by Archbishop Susapakiam followed the mass.

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