“It was during a special service held in St. Mary\'s Cathedral on Sunday 5th September 1942, after consecrating the whole Archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart Mary, that I made, before the Faithful who filled the Cathedral to capacity, the Solemn promise to erect, soon after the war, in the city of Madras, preferably in that locality of Kilpauk or Chetpet, — a church in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as a Votive Church, asking in return, for the duration of the war and after, the protection of our Heavenly Mother and Queen over the Archdiocese and Mission.”In no time they occupied Burma and even penetrated into the province of Assam. In 1943 the Japanese Fleet sailed not far from Madras on its way to Trincomalee where it inflicted heavy damage on the British Navy. That was how the idea of a vow, and a Shrine In fulfillment of it, came to be conceived. We shall relate the story briefly in Archbishop\'s own words. “Madras was in the grip of a scare. Schools with their borders were evacuated into the interior. The exodus of people was such that Madras looked for a while like a depopulated city.
“A campaign for offering Votive Shrine was started in the New Leader. Rev. Fr. Michael Murray, S.D.B., went around collecting funds, but the response was meager. He was then sent to the U.S.A. for the specific purpose of collecting funds at our disposal. The intention was to put up the Shrine in that property and convert the large building already existing into the Archbishop\'s House which would be shifted there from Armenian Street.” “Surprise after surprise took place soon after the acquisition of Kingsford. The first was that Mr.N.T.Patel, the contractor of the Catholic Center, approached by Rev.FrJ.P.D'Souza, promised to undertake to build the Shrine without any profit on his part or that of his firm. He was pleased to help us in a work for God’s glory.