PANJIM: The annual feast Our Lady of Help was celebrated at Ribandar, on Sunday. The present Our Lady of Help Church, which is also known as Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Ajuda, was built by Portuguese sailors in thanksgiving to Our Lady, who saved their lives from a ship wreck.
According to legend, Our Lady appeared during a terrible storm in which the ship was caught in the Arabian Sea. It is said that Mother Mary stood on the forecastle of the ship all through the momentous night, directing the devil himself to manoeuvre the ship to safety.
To venerate the miracle, the Our Lady of Help Church has been constructed where that ship had found a safe mooring and interestingly the structure of the Church is the exact length, breadth and height of the renowned ship. The Church stands on the banks of Mandovi River in Ribandar. It was built like a ship in 1565. The length of the ship is marked with signs in the river by erecting two crosses measuring the length of 102m.
The replica of the ship along with Our Lady which is in the Ajuda Church, Ribandar is taken out in a traditional procession around Ribandar, annually on the eve of the feast in the remembrance of the miraculous event.