Mahim Church or St. Michael’s Church is one of the oldest Catholic churches as well as one of oldest existing Portuguese buildings in Mumbai. Mahim church is famous for its Novenas on Wednesdays, which is visited by thousands. It is located near Mahim Causeway.
The Mahim church, originally built in 1534 by Antonin do Porto, is rebuilt a number of times, the present structure dating to 1973.
Not only Christians, but people of other faiths come to pay their respects to the Virgin Mary and attend mass every Wednesday. Devotees believe that visiting the Church on nine consecutive Wednesdays (Novena) will grant their wishes. They offer floral garlands according to the Hindu customs and repeat prayers before the image. Some of them offer wax figures of what they desire, for example, a wax house. Around 40-50,000 devotees visit the church every week. The weekly Novena services were started in 1948, when a priest Fr. Edward Fernandes from Mumbai noticed a similar ritual celebrating Our Lady of Perpetual Succour at Belfast, Northern Ireland, during his visit to Europe. Initially, only two services were held every Wednesday, but today from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm, the thirteen services are held in various languages: English, Konkani, Marathi, Tamil and Hindi.
When the Marathas conquered Salsette in 1739, Our Lady of the Mount chapel in Bandra was destroyed by the Portuguese at the instance of the British so that its location remained secret to the Marathas. In this time, St. Michael’s Church was the refuge place for the image of the Blessed Virgin from the chapel. The image remained in St. Michael’s till 1761, when it was moved to its present structure in Bandra.
In recent history, on 27 June, 2008, thousands of devotees visited the Church to see a reported “bleeding” Jesus Christ’s portrait, which was termed as a “miracle” by devotees. Though on further investigation, the red spots on the picture showed no traces of blood.
Parish Priest Father Raphael and Father Doneth D’Souza from the St. Michael’s church as well as Archbishop cardinal Oswald Gracias declined the miracle claim. Fr. D’Souza explained “It’s not a blood stain and it’s also not a miracle. Every image of Divine Mercy has a red halo around the heart and in this case, the red colour has run because of the moisture in the air. It will look like a blood stain, but it’s not.”
How to reach Mahim Church?
You can get down at Mahim station (western line) and take a taxi towards Mahim church. Auto rickshaws dont play in Mahim suburb.