In the city of Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India, St.Mary’s Cathedral, popularly known as “ Mother of Good Health” in vernacular “Arockia Matha”, occupies a unique place not only it is one of the oldest Churches in Tamil Nadu but had been the “Mother Church” of five dioceses bifurcated out of its jurisdiction during these 170 years of its existence.
The Church itself was built by a Jesuit missionary Fr.Louis Carnier. It was on the 29th June 1841, on the occasion of the feast of the apostles St.Peter and Paul, with the morning sun rising in the east in its entire glowing splendour, Bishop Bernard Clement of Pondicherry in a solemn ceremony dedicated the Church to Our Lady. The paintings in the roof depicting the martyrdom of holy men and women of were done by Br. De’ Noircourt between the years1893 to 1898. Having served for more than 170 years, the diocese has decided to built a New Cathedral and the work has begun on the 15th August 2011.
The Cathedral parish had in its fold vast territory for its pastoral activities. It had more than 20,000 families. The parishes – Crawford, Edamalaipatty Pudur, Subramaniyapuram, Sembattu, Gundur, K.K. Nagar, Ariport, Kallukukuzhi, Karunamdapam and Puthur were carved out of Cathedral parish for Pastoral reasons and concerns. At present the parish has 27 substations. The total Catholic families are 2,935, and the population nearly 12,000, and the non-catholic population more than 250,000. 80% of the Catholics in the parish belong to Dalit community, who are economically poor and socially backward. They work as painters, carpenters and in the constructions as masons and helpers for daily wage around the market places. The Parish Pastoral Council consists of 63 members among them 15 are executives and 4 are officials. Parish Financial Committee, consisting of 5 members, manages the financial transaction of the Parish.