Cathedral (Mary Help) Catholic Church Shillong

 
 
Arguably the most beautiful Church of Shillong, the Cathedral of Mary Help has tall graceful arches and huge stained glass windows which add to its grand aura. The Church lies midway between Dhankheti and Laitumkhrah and also known as the Laitumkhrah Church. If you look below from the viewpoint near the Church, you will be able to see the Grotto Church that lies directly below. 
 
The church is built on a sort of high plateau and one has to take a steep short flight of steps or a gradient to reach it.  The church is a beautiful blue in colour and it has two levels. While the lower level is a small chapel that has a prayer hall and is filled with candles and prayer books, the upper level is a huge cathedral with big seating capacity. 
 
 
 
Inside the Church there is a set of 14 stations of the Holy Cross. These are terracotta pieces of work that describe the life and trials of Jesus Christ. It is said that the famous Art Institute of Munich in Germany produced these sets of art. 
 
The inside of the Cathedral of Mary Help is wonderful with several works of art that depict scenes from the Holy Bible and the lives of Saints. The glass windows that reflect so many colours in the sunlight are made of Grenoble and were brought from France in 1947. Don’t miss the grave facing the main altar... it belongs to the first Archbishop of Shillong - the late Rev Hubert D Rosario. The statue of Mary and the Child is of special importance as the nine day special prayers are held in front of the statue every month. 
 
Cathedral (Mary Help) Catholic Church Shillong 
 
 
Students of architecture will find other aspects of the Church to be quite fascinating. The Cathedral Church main building stands on sand and this was advised as the Shillong area was especially prone to earthquakes. The elasticity that sand provides protects the massive building from earthquakes. 
 
It is said that trenches were carved from rock and then filled up half with sand and then used as a connector between the rocky bed and the church foundation. Because of a lack of direct connection with the rocky bed... a seismic shift caused by an earthquake doesn’t disrupt the structure and the sand absorbs any violent motion. 
 
Incidentally the Cathedral of Mary Help stands at the exact spot where the first Church built by the Salvadorians from Germany stood back in 1913. The earlier Church (church of the Divine Saviour) was a simpler wooden structure and it was destroyed in the 1930 Good Friday devastating fire. In August 22 1936, the Chairman of the Shillong Municipality who was the deputy commissioner of former United Khasi and Jaintia Hills Keith Cantlle approved the design of the Church and the first stone was laid down on 25th October 1936 in the feast of Christ the King. 
 
 
 
Post the declaration of the Cathedral Church as a shrine and an important pilgrimage centre by the late Reverend Hubert D Roasario in 1890... special services are held in the church every Wednesday. Every month between the 16th to 24th, Novena devotions are held for 9 whole days for the purpose of special wish fulfillment of believers. 
 
Shillong’s Cathedral of Mary Help is quite popular amongst people of other religions too as they come here to pray and seek divine interventions for their personal problems and hardships. The choir service of the Church is outstanding and try to catch the Sunday Mass... it will be an exceptional experience. The Church is flanked by majestic mountains and pine trees and its surrounding areas are good for nature watching, contemplation, meditation and photography. 
 

Open Hours

 
Open from 7.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. 
 

How to reach

 
Don Bosco Road, Laitumkhrah, Shillong. 
You can walk up to the Cathedral of Mary Help Church…it’s in the heart of Shillong. You can also take a cab from Police Bazaar….the church is 2.7 km away from the Police Bazaar via the Hopkinson Road. 
 
 
 

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