Renowned for its Novenas every Wednesday, the St Michael’s Church, Mahim is a must visit place on the itinerary of any visitor to Mumbai. Cutting across religious lines, devotees both Christian and non-Christian, throng to this very famous church to pray for favours to be granted. It is a widely held belief that visiting the church on nine consecutive Wednesdays, invariably results in prayers being answered. It is estimated that approximately 40-50,000 devotees visit the church every week.
The history of this church goes back all the way to 1534, when the Portuguese erected the first church in Mahim which was called San Miguel. It is considered one of the oldest churches in Bombay. At the time of the Maratha invasion of Mumbai, the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the iconic Mount Mary Basilica at Bandra was stored here for safety. The church has been rebuilt a number of times, the present edifice was constructed in 1973.
The Novena services were introduced by Fr Edward Placidus Fernandes on 8th September, the Nativity of our Lady, which in 1948 occurred on a Wednesday. Fr Edward had observed a similar Novena conducted in Belfast, Northern Ireland held in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. When the Novenas began there were only two services conducted every Wednesday. At present the services have been increased to sixteen commencing from 6.00 am in the morning right up to 9.30 pm at night. To cater to cosmopolitan nature of Mumbai, St Michael’s Church, Mahim conducts services in English, Marathi, Hindi, Konkani and Tamil.
An authentic hand painted image of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor was gifted by the Vatican to St Michael’s Church. It is an exact replica of the original iconic painting which is displayed in Rome. The church is widely known as Mahim church, a reference to its location which is at the intersection of L J Road and Mahim Causeway. It is well connected by rail and road. One can walk from Mahim station which is exactly a kilometre away, and reach the church in roughly 11 minutes.