Release Date- 22 January 2013
Vailankanni being situated in the Thanjavur District came under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Thanjavur. Vailankanni was a part of the parish of Nagapattinam, but as pilgrims began to pour into Vailankanni, it was raised to the status of an independent parish in 1771, and Fr. Antonio de Rozario the last parish priest of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Nagapattinam, was appointed the first Parish priest of Vailankanni. Nagapattinam had always been under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of the Diocese of Mylapore. During that period the Diocese of Mylapore was administered under the Portuguese \’Padroado\’ (patronage). Under the Padroado system, the king of Portugal in Europe met all the expenses incurred by the Diocese of Mylapore, which remained under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiffs.Until 1847 the priests of St. Franciscan Missionaries who had looked after the province of Goa and Mylapore also looked after Nagapattinam and Vailankanni. The Franciscan origin and ownership of the Shrine was also perpetuated, by giving the place of honor to two Franciscan saints, St. Anthony of Lisbon and St. Francis of Assisi, on either side of the miraculous image of \’Our Lady\’, on the High Altar until 1961. Besides the last parish priest, Miguel Francisco Fernandez, who was of the Franciscan order, controlled the parish of Vailankanni till 1889. In 1890 the parish was handed over to diocesan priests.