The Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of Good Health was built at Velankanni
(loc., Vailankanni, Tamil Nadu) to commemorate apparitions of the Blessed Virgin
(16th century, oral tradition only) and the miraculous saving of Portuguese
sailors in the 17th century. A parish church since 1971, the Velankanni church
was erected a Minor Basilica by Pope John XXIII on 3 November 1962, while
Valankanni was declared a "Holy City".
Velankanni Annual Feast is one of the most important Christian festivals in
India, including several flag events. The 2008 Feast program included:
Friday 29 August 2008, 6 PM: inauguration of the feast by a flag
procession, followed by the blessing and hoisting of Our Lady's flag by the
Bishop of Thanjavur.
Everyday from 30 August to 7 September, the hoisting of Our Lady's flag
takes place at 12 noon and Our Lady's car procession starts at 8 PM from the
entrance of the main shrine.
Monday 8 September 2008, 6 PM: lowering of Our Lady's flag
A black and white photo of the hoisting of the flag
appears embedded in a video available on YouTube (2:42) at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQaYjnQ4Rq4. A video footage of the flag
hoisting ceremony of 1 September 2008, showing only the blessing, is
available on YouTube. The flag is white with a blue-violet border and a
yellow fringe, an image of the Blessed Virgin and "MARIA" in yellow
letters outlined in green.
The flag raised in 2007, as seen on another, low quality video available
on YouTube, seems to be of different design, except the blue-violet
border and the yellow fringe.