1. St. Thomas National Shrine - St. Thomas Mount
Rector: Rev. Fr. G. Christuraj
Saint Thomas Mount is the glory and cradle of the Indian Church. It is here that St. Thomas one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus died as a martyr in circa 72 AD. Ever since it has been the reference point of Christian existence and identity in this country dating back to the first century. This place gained further importance with the arrival of the Portuguese and the English East India Company.The ancient Church on top of St. Thomas Mount had been an important land mark to the mariners for more than 400 years. This Church has been in undisturbed possession of the Church for many centuries. In 1600 this Mount was called Monte de Nossa Senhora or Mount of Our Lady by the Bishop of Cochin Dom Frey Andre de Santa Maria. It was also called Monte Grande (Great Mount). This hill was a special grant to the Church by the King of Bisnagar (Vijayanagar). In Telugu they called it Fringy Condah and this became Fringi malai. In 1523 Diego Fernandez built a small oratory over the foundations of a very ancient Church and already at that time this Church on top of the hill was a center of pilgrimage. Because of the increasing number of pilgrims Fr. Gasper Coelho the Vicar of San Thome built a bigger Church and dedicated it to Our Lady of Mount and later to Our Lady of Expectation. This Church suffered damages because of the invasions of Hyder Ali. This Hill Church has always been the official Parish Church.
2. Mazhai Malai Madha Shrine -Acharapakkam
Rector: Rev. Fr. L. Doss
In 1969 people experienced severe drought all over Tamilnadu particularly in Acharapakkam. Fr. A. Pushpam, the founder of this shrine had arranged for a car procession in honor of our Blessed Mother to intercede for the good shower of rain. When the car procession ended at a place called Nallayan Kundru there was a heavy down pour with thunder and lightning. This astonishing miracle touched every one and in gratitude they lovingly named our Blessed Mother as Mazhai Malai Madha and built a beautiful grotto. Rev. Fr. Pushpam who served as a Parish Priest from 1963 to 1973 rendered selfless service. With the same zeal Rev. Fr. Backiya Regis had served this Shrine for 10 years and made it a place of testimony to the faith of the multitudes that come there regularly.
The Annual Feast is being celebrated on the first Saturday of October. Thousands of people belonging to various religions gather to express their love and devotion to the Blessed Mother. The shrine caters to the needs of the poor and the marginalized of the society by carrying out various social activities especially for the physically challenged. The Decree proclaiming Mazhai Malai Madha as the Second Patroness of the Diocese of Chingleput and raising the church dedicated to her to the status of a Diocesan shrine was promulgated by Rt Rev. Dr. Neethinathan on 05th September 2003 in the presence of His Eminence Simon Cardinal Lourdusamy.
3. St. Antony's Shrine - Palavakkam
Rector: Rev. Fr. B. John Suresh
On 24th February 1997, the Catholic residents of Palkalainagar, Palavakkam, with a unique spark of zeal and enthusiasm came together and erected a thatched shed in honour of St. Antony with the permission and blessing from Most Rev. Dr. Arul Das James the bishop of Madras-Mylapore. After a month a sudden attack was made and the entire temporary structure was pulled down by a fundamentalist group. The present Church built in 2000 is the tireless effort of the people and the diocese. This Church has been raised to the status of a Diocesan Shrine on 6th January 2009. The annual Parish feast is celebrated on 13th June.
Decree: 6th January, 2009
4. Our Lady of Fatima's Shrine - Tambaram
Rector: Rev. Fr. A. Cyrilraj
This Parish was originally a sub station of Pallavaram. The Parish Priest of Pallavaram Fr. Joseph Nazarene Rodriquez built a small Church in Tambaram in 1936 and it was blessed by Bishop Querreiro in 1937. Already from 1939 Fr. Nazarene began his ministry at Tambaram and on 31st May 1942, Tambaram was made a separate Parish. Fr. Nazarene was made the first Parish Priest. The beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima which still adorns the Church was brought from Portugal. Fr. C.J. Mani started the elementary school in 1960. Fr. Joseph Thyparambil was one of the pioneers to start in this Parish the Small Christian Communities (S.C.C), what is called anpiam today. The present Church and the presbytery were constructed by Fr. K.J. Francis. With the upgrading of the School as Higher Secondary, Fr. E. Arulappa made the necessary extension required for the School, renowated the Church and built the first floor of the multipurpose hall, the adoration Chapel and the present Grotto.
Decree: 13th October, 2012
5. Our Lady of Mount Carmael's Shrine - Covelong (Kovalam)
Rector: Rev. Fr. M. Lawrence Rajesh
Rev. Fr. Carmalata started the construction of this Church at Covelong (Kovalam) some time between 1770 - 1780. He laid the foundation, raised the walls and died. The church remained incomplete for about 20 years. Sir. John D’ Monte completed the construction of this church between 1800 - 1808. It was erected as a Parish in 1808. According to the Covelong tradition, certain Mrs. Mary D’ Monte who was in a state of mental aberration left Madras and wandered about in Covelong. Our Lady appeared to Sir. John D’ Monte and promised to heal his wife Mrs. Mary D’ Monte, if he would build a church in her honour in Covelong. Accordingly the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is situated on the shores Bay of Bengal. The Parish Annual Feast is celebrated on 16th July. The year 2008, marked the bicentenary of this traditional Parish.
Decree: 14th April, 2013
6. Divine Mercy Hill Shrine – Chingleput
Rector: Rev. John Bosco
The Church of Calvary Hill at Thattanmalai in Chingleput town was established as a place of worship since 1965-1966 during the ministerial time of the Salesian Fathers at St. Joseph’s Church, Chingleput and the Hill Shrine has been catering to the spiritual needs of the Catholic families settled around the Hill. In the recent years devotion to Calvary and to Our Lady of Sorrows has grown considerably among people near and far, with the number of pilgrims and devotees increasing greatly.
With the commemoration of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Most Rev. Dr. A. Neethinathan issued a decree elevating Calvary Hill as an independent Diocesan Shrine on 1st January 2016.
Decree: 1st January, 2016