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Ministry of the Word - CHRISTINITY IN MUMBAI, A BRIEF HISTORY WITH A FOCUS ON St.JOSEPH'S CHURCH. VIKHROLI
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  CHRISTINITY IN MUMBAI, A BRIEF HISTORY WITH A FOCUS ON St.JOSEPH'S CHURCH. VIKHROLI
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  Why did Jesus fold the napkin
  Halloween..All you wanted to now

CHRISTIANITY IN MUMBAI, A BRIEF HISTORY. (1550-2012)

THE BEGINNINGS

When did Christianity first come to the North Konkan? There is no definite answer to this question yet. Some hold it as a historical fact, based on documents and tradition, going back to the third century A.D., that the North Konkan was privileged to receive the Gospel in apostolic times through the teachings of St. Bartholomew, the Apostle, just as the Malabar Coast received the Gospel through the teachings of St. Thomas, the Apostle. Others hold that the first Christians in the North Konkan may be casual merchants come here from other Christian countries. Still others hold that in the 6th century, Kalyan, north-east of Bombay, had a Bishop appointed from Persia, while Chaul to the south of Bombay in the Konkan area, had Christians in the 10th century.

 

According to Rufinus of Acquileia (345-410 A. D.), a noted Church historian, when the Apostles cast lots as to the countries to which they were to carry the Good News,  (south of NE Asia) fell to the lot of Thomas, Ethiopia to Matthew and to Bartholomew, India ‘citerior’, by which ancient geographers meant the Western Coast of India – Gujarat and the North Konkan. But where did Bartholomew land on this Coast? The Menology codified by the order of the Eastern Emperor, Basil II,states that Bartholomew had gone to ‘India Felix’. (India meant India in context with North east Asia)

Some scholars hold that this must have been kalian, slightly north-east of today’s Bombay, Known and frequented in those times. ‘Kalyan’ in Sanskrit means ‘happiness”, which in Latin is ‘Felix’.

 

Salsette = the island area between the Mahim creek and the Bassein creek.

According to St. Jerome (342-420 AD), who first translated the Bible into Latin, Christian messengers from India came to Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria, where Christianity was flourishing, asking him to send someone to attend to their spiritual needs. Demetrius sent Pantaenus, a scholar in Sacred Scripture and Greek Humanities, who on arrival “found that the coming of Christ according to the Gospel of Matthew was preached by Bartholomew and preserved till then”.

an Alexandrian merchant, writes of his having seen a Christian community in Kalyan in the 6th century.

 

It is about this time that some reports of the existence of the Christian community at Sopara (Bassein) were current in Europe. Drawn by these reports, a French Dominican Friar, Jourdain de severac, accompanied by four Franciscans, (Blessed Thomas of Tolentino, James of Padua, Peter of Siena and Brother Demetrius of Tiflis) Landed at Thane at the end of 1320. These Franciscans were murdered by the Muslim Governor of Thane on 9th march, 1321. These are now known as the Martyrs of Thane. According to Jourdain, these Christians were a scattered people. He went to Sopara in Bassein, where he found a small Christian community with a Church. He baptized about 90 persons. A little later he baptized 115 persons in Broach and 35 persons between Thane and Sopara. The Indian Church, whether in the North Konkan or Malabar, witnessed a ‘dark age’ between the 9th and the beginning of the 14th century.The Christians were then reduced to “nominal Christians.”

 

This account of the early times may be concluded with the story of the martyrdoms of St. Bartholomew and St. Thomas.

 

Legends of St. Bartholomew.

TRADITION

One of the Twelve Apostles, mentioned in the Gospel list (Mathew10:3;

Many scholars, however, identify him with Nathaniel (John 1:45-51).

According to one tradition, Eusebius of Caesarea's Ecclesiastical History  states that after the Ascension of our Lord, the Apostle Bartholomew came to India to, ( Kalyan near Bombay / Kalyanpur Mangalore)   in AD 55 and preached the Gospel in the area near Kalyan,  where he left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew . and was martyred in AD 62.T” Raja Astreges (Aristakarman) ordered the Apostle to do ‘puja’ to his idol. Bartholomew refused. He was then beheaded “after the 9th of September, probably in 62 A. D.” his was also confirmed by Pantanus  in the 2nd century who reported what he was told of St Bartholomew. Who preached a region which may have been known as the ancient city Kalyan, which was the field of Saint Bartholomew's missionary activities


Other traditions record him as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthian ad Lycaonia. "India" was a name covering a very wide area, including even Arabia Felix. Bartholomew died in Armenia. Christian tradition has three stories about his death – that he was kidnapped and beaten to death, he was crucified upside down and the third that he was flayed (skinned) alive.

Another tradition says that he is said to have been martyred in Albanopolis in Armenia. According to one account, he was beheaded, but a more popular tradition holds that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward

His relics are thought by some to be preserved in the church of St. Bartholomew, at Rome.

 

According to another historian Moraes this is due to the fact that the history of Christians of Bartholomew got intermingled with that of the Thomas Christians ( the Syriac tradition is that, Saint Bartholomew preached in Armenia). According to Perumalil, Bartholomew Christians continued as a separate community till the coming of the Portuguese and got merged with the Christians of Bombay.

Thomas the Apostle. He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel. He is also believed to have crossed the largest area, which includes the Parthian Empire(The Parthian empire occupied all of modern Iran, Iraq and Armenia, parts of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and -for brief periods- territories in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine) .and India. According to The Passing of Mary, a text attributed to Joseph of Arimathaea, Thomas was the only witness of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. The other apostles were miraculously transported to Jerusalem to witness her death. Thomas was left in India, but after her first burial he was transported to her tomb, where he witnessed her bodily assumption into heaven, from which she dropped her girdle.

St. Thomas is traditionally believed to have sailed to India in 52AD to spread the Christian faith among the Jews, the Jewish diaspora present in Kerala at the time. According to Indian Christian tradition, St. Thomas landed in Kodungallur in AD 52, in the company of a Jewish merchant Hebban. There were Jewish colonies in Kodungallur since ancient times and Jews continue to reside in Kerala till today, tracing their ancient history.

Another tradition says he He landed at Muziris. He then went to Palayoor which was a Hindu priestly community at that time. He left Palayoor in AD 52 for Kerala State, where he established the Ezharappallikal, or "Seven and Half Churches".

According to tradition, St. Thomas attained martyrdom at St. Thomas Mount in Chennai and is buried on a small hillock called St. Thomas Mount, where the Apostle is said to have been killed in AD 72. Also to be found in Chennai is the Dioceses of Saint Thomas of Mylapore to which his mortal remains were supposedly transferred. No archaeological evidence support these claims though.

On the 3rd. of July, St. Thomas who was pierced with a lance in India. Today His body is at Edessa, Mesopotamia  having been brought there by the merchant Khabin. In Edessa, where his remains were venerated. Few relics are still kept in church at Mylapore, Tamil Nadu, India

According to Eusebius' record, Thomas and Bartholomew were assigned to Parthia and India. there are no circumstantial reasons why Thomas could not have visited India in the 1st century. And his visit is the most plausible explanation for the early appearance of the church there.

On 27 September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI recalled that an ancient tradition claims that Thomas first evangelized Syria and Persia (mentioned by Origen, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History then went on to Western India, from where also he finally reached Southern India.

THE PORTUGUESE MISSIONARIES

The 20th of May 1498 was a momentous day for Christianity in India. On that day, three small ships with crosses emblazoned on their sails dropped anchor at Calicut down South. They had come from Lisbon under the command of the sea-captain Vasco da Gama. Their objective: trade in pepper and the evangelization of the newly – discovered lands The city, now Old Goa, became the richest City of the East. They called it ‘Golden Goa.’ In 1534, a Latin See was erected in Goa and in 1558 Goa was raised to the rank of an Archdiocese with Suffragan Bishops in Cochin and Malacca.  That glory belongs largely to St. Francis

Xavier. He landed in Goa on the 6th May 1542

 

St. Francis Xavier, born (Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta)

(7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552) born in Spain). He was a student of  Ignatious of Loyola He led an extensive mission into Asia, mainly in the Portuguese Empire of the time. He was influential in the spreading and upkeep of Catholicism in India, but also ventured into Japan, Borneo, the Moluccas Together with Loyola and five others, he founded the Society of Jesus: on 15 August 1534, in a small chapel in Montmartre, they made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and also vowed to convert the Muslims in the Middle East. Francis went, with the rest of the members of the newly papal-approved Jesuit order, to Venice to be ordained to the priesthood, which took place on 24 June 1537.

After the return of Vasco da Gama, King Manoell of Portugal sent fleets every year to India. These fleets also carried priests, both secular and regular.

Franciscans: They were the first Portuguese missionaries to set foot on the soil of India i.e. in the year 1500 and plant the Cross there. Starting from Old Goa. they moved in about 1516 to Chaul, then to Karanja, the Konkan borders.

He reached Goa, then capital of Portuguese India's on 6 May 1542, and also visiting Vasai. There he was invited to head Saint Paul's College, a pioneer seminary for the education of secular priests that became the first jesuit headquarters in Asia, but soon departed, having spent the following three years in India.

He  also visited Sri Lanka). Dissatisfied with the results of his activity, he set his sights eastward in 1545 and planned a missionary journey to Indonesia).

As the first Jesuit in India, Francis had difficulty procuring success for his missionary trips. Focus was to restore Christianity among the Portuguese settlers. Many of the Portuguese sailors had had illegitimate relationships with Indian women Francis struggled to restore moral relations, and catechized many illegitimate children.

He returned to India in January 1548. The next 15 months were occupied with various journeys and administrative measures in India.

Burials and relics

He died at Shangchuan from a fever on 3 December 1552, while he was waiting for a boat that would agree to take him to mainland China. He was first buried on a beach at Shangchuan Island. His incorrupt body was taken from the island in February 1553 and was temporarily buried in St. Paul's church in Malacca on 22 March 1553The

His body was brought to Goa. It was kept the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa.  where it was placed in a glass container encased in a silver casket on 2 December 1637.

Within that brief span of ten years, with his simple and austere life, with his teaching and preaching, he had to his credit a stupendous achievement – Western Coast of India.

(Pic) Casket of Saint Francis Xavier in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa

The right forearm, which Xavier used to bless and baptize his converts, was detached by Pr. Gen. Claudio Acquaviva in 1614. It has been displayed since in a silver reliquary at the main Jesuit church in Rome.

Another of Xavier's arm bones moved to St. Joseph's and in 1978 to the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier on Coloane Island. More recently the relic was moved to St. Joseph's Seminary and the Sacred Art Museum.

Francis Xavier is a Catholic saint. He was beatified on 25 October 1619, and was canonized on 12 March 1622. His feast day is 3 December.

Pilgrimage Centres

Saint Francis Xavier's relics are kept in a silver casket, elevated inside the Bom Jesus Basilica and are exposed (brought at ground level) when the Archbishop of Goa e Damão decides. Generally it is every ten years. Bones of Saint Francis Xavier are also found in the Espirito Santo (Holy Spirit) Church, Margão and in (Church of St. Francis Xavier), Batpal, Canacona, Goa.

 

JURISDICTIONAL DISPUTES:    Padroado and Propaganda  1720-1794

The two Christian countries of Spain and Portugal were in dispute as to their area of operation in India. Pope Alexander VI got them into an agreements to resolve the issue.

 

DOUBLE JURISDICTION-- 1794-1886- 1928

The Bombay Catholics were not happy with the British decision of 1794. They made a counter representation to the British. The British, however, felt that the Carmelites too had substantial support. As a solution, they bifurcated the administration of the aforesaid four Bombay Churches.

 

The Gloria Church,Mazagaon, and the Salvation Church, Dadar, were claimed by the Archbishop of Goa, together with Chapel in Cavel.

 

While, Our Lady of Hope Church, Fort, and St. Michael’s Church, Mahim, went to the Carmelites, together with Chapel of St. Anne, Mazagaon, and the Sion Church. The disastrous result of this bifurcation – double jurisdiction – was the continuous interference of the British Authorities in the administration of Church activities.

 

Archbishop of Bombay

In 1st May 1928 all Churches and all people in Bombay and surrounding areas came under the single jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Bombay. The only condition was that the Archbishop should be alternately a Portuguese national and a British national. The two : Archbishops in this period were :

1) Portuguese Archbishop Joaquim R. Lima, S. J. 1928 – 1936

2) British Archbishop Thomas D. Roberts, S. J. 1937 – 1950

After years of discord. Archbishop Lima successfully brought about peace and unity among the clergy and the laity and welded together the erstwhile dioceses of Daman and Bombay. He encouraged the spread of the gospel among non-believers, He promoted Catholic life, opened new parishes and schools, churches and chapels. He encouraged indigenous clergy. Started the Diocesan Seminary at Parel in 1936, & the Retreat House.

 

Archbishop Roberts was nominated to the See of Bombay on 12th August 1937 He was interested in every aspect of Catholic life. He introduced the Catholic Medical Guild in 1938. He started the first Catholic Women’s College – the Sophia College in Bombay. The College was opened informally on 27th July 1940 and affiliated to the Bombay University on 9th February 1942. He opened the Jesuit Noviciate at Vinayalaya, Andheri (E), in April 1942 . in March 1941 and the Holy Name Church at Wodehouse Road was raised on the 24th December 1941 to the status of Pro-Cathedral. In 1943. He proposed the name of Fr. Valerian Gracias as Bishop Auxiliary of Bombay. and  was consecrated at St. Peter’s, Bandra, on 29th June 1946, as the first Indian Bishop of the Bombay Archdiocese.

 

The Portuguese and the British, the two colonial powers who came and stayed in Mumbai, gave the city its oldest churches.  Since the Catholic Portuguese preceded the Anglican British, the oldest churches were theirs.

 

The Franciscan Friary Establishment:

The actual building of St. Francis Friary, Goa took place at the earliest at the end of 1518. In any case the Friars must have realized already during the first decade, that they had come for good, that therefore they should seek permanent establishments and organize themselves in a more canonical fashion.

 

"The coming of Franciscans to Bombay"
The author writes : "Only after they had established themselves in Bassein and Salsette (The North Bombay Islands) did the Franciscans venture on Bombay-island."

The Catholic Church in India is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope and the Curia in Rome.There are over 19.9 million Catholics in India, which represents less than 4% of the total population and is the largest Christian church within India. There are 157 ecclesiastical units in India comprising 29 archdioceses and 128 dioceses. Of these, 127 are Latin Rite, 25 Syro-Malabar Rite and 5 Syro-Malankara Rite.

Saints of & from India.

St. Thomas the Apostle

St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

St. Gonsalo Garcia (1556-1597), First person with to be canonized with Indian origin.

St. John de Brito (1647-1693), The Apostle of Madurai

St. Alphonsa (1910-1946), First person of Indian origin to be canonized.

 

Beatified people

Blessed Joseph Vaz, Apostle of Ceylon (1651-1711)

Blessed Kuriakose Chavara (1805-1871)

Blessed Maria Theresa Chiramel (1876-1926)

Blessed Euphrasia Eluvathingal (1877-1952)

Blessed Thevarparampil Kunjachan (1891–1973)

Blessed Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

 

In the course of the mid 16th and the 17th centuries, the Franciscans were the first to establish several Churches and Chapels in Bombay:

 

Following are the Churches Administered by The Portuguese Franciscan Order, & the first Churches built in Bombay’s seven islands city.

St Michael’s Church- Mahim 1565

O. L of Glory (Gloria) Church – Mazagaon.1590

Salvation Church (Portuguese Church) – Dadar. 1610

The Parel Chapel (St Paul’s). (No Pictures)

O L Good Counsel – Sion (No Old pictures found)

O L of the Mount, Mazagaon or St Bernadine’s.

 

"The Expulsion of the Franciscan From Bombay"
The discord between the Portuguese (the Friars were Portuguese) and the English is highlighted through this example. An instance where the Friars seem to have voiced their protests and opinions rather loudly, occurred in 1676. A decision was taken by the English on the basis of such incidents that the Franciscans would remain expelled.

"The Return of the Franciscans to Bombay"
The author reports : "When Charles Boone, Commander General of the island and Castle of Bombay, the 13th of May 1720, signed the order expelling the Portuguese Franciscans, he could hardly have foreseen that Friars of his own nation would be the instruments in the hands of Divine Providence to re-establish the Order in Bombay. But thus it came about.
In 1925 the Franciscans of the ancient "Provincia Angliae" arrived in India. For three years they worked in Hyderabad, Deccan
.

 

 

MAROL PARISH

In 1534 the Franciscans, in general, took charge of the North-West region (Borivli-Dongri-Poinsur-Malad)and from 1549 the Jesuits took charge of the South-East from Thane-Powai-Condita-Kole-Kalyan on to Bandra.

 

A little later. The Jesuits who came to India in 1542, along with Francis Xavier worked precisely in  Marol from about 1549-50.

 

They established a Church there (Vihar Valley). As the place was too malarious, they rebuilt the Church in a more healthy locality at Powai and founded the parish of Trinidad in 1557. Then they moved to Condita, Marol, Mulgao, Gundavli, Chakala and other villages about. Then they moved to Bandra and Kurla in the south and to Kirol etc.

 

Judging from its remains, the original Church must have been an imposing building. The Church is a ruined condition. This was dependent on the Jesuit College of Holy Name at Bassein 1549.

 

The chief church of this area, which was at Thane and was built in 1582, was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. In order to avoid confusion, the name of the Condita Church was changed to St. John, the Evangelist.

Except for the short period of the Maratha take –over in 1737-1739 the Church at Condita continued as the place of Christian worship right till 1840.

The Church had to be abandoned at that time as there was a devastating epidemic in that area and its parishioners decided to shift to Marol., annually a pilgrimage was made to the Condita Church by the parishioners of Marol Church. The parishioners would go in procession, then celebrating a High Mass, the pilgrimage has been revived from 1988. On 29th May1988

 

Some Significant Dates

1498 – Vasco da Gama landed at Calicut-Southern Coast of India

1509 – Portuguese first visited the Bassein Coast

1510 – Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa from the Sultan of Bijapur on 25th November, 1510

1534 – The Islands of Bassein, Salsette, Bombay and Karanja ceded to the Portuguese by the Bahadur Shah of Cambay (Gujarat) on 23rd December

1534 – Archdiocese of Goa erected

1535 - Portuguese built their Bassein Fort

1535 – Portuguese took possession of Diu

1544 – St. Francis Xavier visited Bassein

1548 - St. Francis Xavier visited Bassein twice

1665 – Bombay Island passed from the Portuguese to the British

1720 – The British ordered the expulsion of the Portuguese Franciscans form Bombay Island in May 1720

1720 – The British invited the Italian Carmelite Bishop, Fra Mauritius, to take charge of the Catholic community in Bombay

1720 – The Carmelites took possession of the four Portuguese Franciscan Churches in Bombay

1) Esperanice 2) Salvacao 3) Gloria 4) St. Michael’s

1737-1739 – Marathas conquered Salsette, Bassein, Karanja (Uran) and Chaul (Revdanda) from the Portuguese

1774-1800 – British absorbed all the above areas

1794 – British introduced Double Jurisdiction in Bombay Island

1858 – Establishment of the Bombay- Poona Jesuit Vicariate

1886 – The new Diocese of Daman created

1886 – Bombay becomes an Archdiocese      1928 – a) Double Jurisdiction abolished b) Diocese of Daman ceased to exist

                                                                                   c) Unified Archdiocese of Bombay created

1950 – Portugal’s right of Padroado in Indian territory abrogated

1950 – Mons. Valerian Gracias appointed as first Indian Archbishop of Bombay

1952 – Archbishop Gracias appointed as India’s first Cardinal

1977 – Bishop Simon Pimenta appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Bombay

1987 – Archbishop Simon Pimenta succeeds Cardinal Gracias as Archbishop of Bombay

1988 – Archbishop Simon Pimenta created a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II

 

Dates Significant to Condita / Marol

1579 – The old Church at Condita built. Fr. Manuel Gomes, Jesuit. The Church was dedicated to St John the Baptist because on the feast of St John the Baptist. There were 500 conversions.

1588- Marol got it second mass convertion . . Because of the prominence of Marol, 13 other villages in the proximity of Marol followed, almost immediately, the example of Marol. Most of these villages exist today.Owing to the large number of conversions he effected in these parts, Fr. Gomes is known as the “Apostle of Salsette

1840 – The present Church when it was rebuilt – it was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, since the Thane Church was also dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

 

LIST OF VICARS AND ASSISTANTS

The Franciscans, the Augustinians, the Dominicans and the Jesuits were the pioneer Portuguese missionaries in the Salsette – Bassein – Thane region between the years 1534 and 1737. However, manly the Jesuits worked in the Conditim – Marol belt. The Portuguese missionaries had to leave the Salsette region after 1739, when it was captured by the Marathas. From 1739 onwards the native clergy- the seculars from Goa, Bandra, Dadar, Mahim, Chaul, Kalina, Conditim (Marol) and some other villages – were in charge of the Churches in Salsette-Bassein-

 

Franciscans 1534

Jesuits 1549

 

 

 

 

 

 

Borivli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dongri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poisar  1547

 

 

 

Marol 1579

>>>> 

Powai 1557

Kanjur 1965

Malad

Vihar Valley

POWAI 1557

Condita 1579

Mulgaon

Bandra

 

Vikhroli 1910

 

O L Amparo

Holy Trinity

St. J Baptist 1582

Gundavli

Kurla 1580

 

 

 

 

 

EPIDEMIC

Chakala

Kirol 1953

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thane 1582

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bandra 1616

 

 

 

 

 

OUR LADY OF EXPECTATIONS (NOW HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL, COLABA

 

he church was originally built in 1570 at the exact location where it seems certain that the church of O.L. of Expectation stood more or less in the center of the present Victoria Terminus stands . This is the church where the Franciscans administered up to 1720, the year they were expelled from Bombay.today.  The first altar of the church was built in 1570. There is a dispute about whether it stood on the same site as it does now or a little

 

farther off.  It remains one of the most popular basilicas.  It has been pulled down and rebuilt a number of times. One instance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

when it was pulled down was after the 1896 plague. The present building came up in

 

1904.But the chapel was demolished in 1760 to build walls around the fort and was relocated to Azad Maidan. But this chapel, too, was pulled down in the 1940s and then relocated to Bhuleshwar. The new chapel, however, was also destroyed.  Holy Name Cathedral in Colaba is looked upon as the successor of the old church

GLORIA CHURCH (Byculla Station); & O.L. of The Rosary Dockyard

Orignally called th e Nossa Senhora da Gloria (Our Lady of Glory) Church, it was built in 1590 in Mazgaon.  But disputes between the Pedroado and Propaganda, two factions  that ruled Catholic churches at the time, led to another church (Our Lady of the Rosary)  now Dockyard road being built near the original church.  The government planned to build a railway line, where the church stood, in 1913 and the building was pulled down. The government funded the  rebuilding of the church at Byculla.

 

 

 

ST MICHAEL'S CHURCH, MAHIM Year 1534.

Traveller's accounts say the church was built in the early  sixteenth century, The church, originally built in 1534, is rebuilt a number of times, the present structure dating to 1973, but documented reports say the church was in existence since 1565.  In 1854, when Bishop Hartmann lost control of the church, he raised funds and built  Our Lady of Victory Church near St Michael's.  Both churches are still in existence. The current structure of St. Michael's Church was rebuilt in 1973. St Michaels is a hotspot for devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Soccour every Wednesday, Not only Christians, but also adherents of other faiths congregate to pay their respects to the Our Blessed Virgin Mother.

ST ANDREW'S CHURCH,  BANDRA

It is one of the oldest churches in Bombay built by the Portuguese Jesuits. It was built in 1575. The 16th century wood altars carved and painted in popular Portuguese style. 16th century wood panels depicting the resurrection of the Christ and the assumption of Mary Immaculate and the 16th century pulpit are among the other interests in the church. Besides, one of the largest and oldest crosses in Mumbai is in

 its compound.

Our Lady of Salvation (Portuguese) Church. Dadar     The church was originally built in 1596 / 1610 but was rebuilt a couple of times since then. The structure, as we see it today, was designed by Charles Correa in 1973.

 

St Thomas Cathedral.(Fort)  1718.

The church opened its gates, for the first time, on Christmas day in 1718.  The same structure stands today. The construction began in the 1670's, a decade after the British acquired Mumbai.  But the construction was stalled when the city was attacked by the Siddis.  H E Cox's Story of St Thomas's Cathedral says: “The derelict building became a gathering place for badmash's and beggars.''  But construction began again at a later date and was completed by 1718.

Condita church (SEEPZ) name was changed from “St. John the Baptist”

to “St. John the Evangelist.

 

The origins of the parish of St. John the Evangelist can be traced back to two mass conversions at Marol.  Most of the Christian community in Bombay up to Bassien Rd – Vasai were of East Indian fishermen of origin. Some of the inhabitants of Marol were among the 500 people who were converted when the neighbouring church at Condita (now SEEPZ ) was opened for public worship on the feast of St. John the Baptist in the year 1579.

 

The second mass conversion took place on the eve of the feast of the Assumption in 1588 when the whole village of Marol became Catholic.  

Soon 13 other villages around Marol followed its example.  Marol and surrounding villages received the Catholic faith through the pioneering efforts of Jesuit Fr. Manuel Gomes, popularly known as “The Apostle of Salsette.” Who built the church.

 

The church at Condita escaped the ravage of the Maratha war, for it continued to have Vicars, now secular priests, appointed to it from 1739 onwards, who also looked after the remnant Christian community at Powai.  Due to the outbreak of a devastating epidemic, Fr. Jose Lourenco Paes, the Vicar of Condita at the time, having built a new church in the village of Marol in 1840, “ transferred the parish from Condita to Marol and the old church and parish house was abandoned”. Before the old church fell into disrepair, the statues, the baptismal font, the altars and a few pillars were transferred to the new church at Marol.

 

At the entrance of the present church of Marol stands a historic 4-foot statue of Our Lady with the child Jesus, known as the statue of OL of Amparo (Help).This statue was once venerated in the church of the same name that now lies submerged under the waters of the Vihar Lake.  This statue was brought to Marol between 1842-1853 when the Bombay Municipality acquired the Vihar Valley with the church in it from the Vicar of Marol for a compensation of Rs.1944.10 as. One of the Baptismal Registers of the church of OL of Amparo (1804-1832) is still preserved at Marol.

 

 

Till about the year 1973, Mass was celebrated annually at the ruined church of Condita. This practice was discontinued when the property comprising a picturesque lake and the ruined church was acquired by the Government.

 

Pictures of the ruined church at Condita now (SEEPZ)  known as “St. John the Baptist” to “St. John the Evangelist.” Built by Fr Manuel Gomes. In 1579.

After Powai, Marol was a stronghold of Christianity in this region of the seven island.  The Jesuit Report of 1669 tells us that the parish comprised 1380 Catholics in Marol, 302 in Condita, 246 in Gundowli and 219 in Chakala.

 

The original church of this parish was built in 1579 at Condita (SEEPZ) at a point north of the present village of Kondivita and northwest of the present church.  The major portion of this church is still standing. We do not know when the name of this Condita church was changed from “St. John the Baptist” to “St. John the Evangelist.    

St. John the Baptist Church is an abandoned and ruined church presently located within the SEEPZ Industrial Project, Mumbai. It was built by the Portuguese in 1579 and opened to public worship on the feast of John the Baptist that year. It also had an attached graveyard. The church was abandoned in 1840 after an epidemic hit the village. 

 

 

16TH CENTURY CHURCH OF ST BONAVENTURE at ERANGEL BEACH

 

The famous Church of St. Bonaventure, a 16th century Portuguese church built in 1540 is situated on the beach in Erangal. The annual Erangal Feast held on second Sunday of January, celebrating the Feast day of St. Bonaventure, attracts thousands of people of all faiths to this scenic spot. The Birthday Of St. Bonaventure is Celebrated on 15th of July every year.

 

 

The St. Michael's Church at Manickpur (Bassine)

( Now Bessien Rd ) This article will not be complete without the mention of the late 15th. century Church at Manickpur, also had a lot of derivatives Manickpuram, Manicpuri now popularly known as we know it as Bassien Rd,  Here The Jesuits lived in the Vasai Fort and had the parishes  of Papdy.

 

MOST HOLY TRINITY, POWAI AND  OUR LADY OF AMPARO (HELP), VIHAR Lake

Holy Trinity Powai – Year 1557. Was one of the strong hold of the Catholic church in the 16th century.

 

The Jesuits started their evangelization work in Thane in about 1549-50. Then founded a model Christian Settlement under the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity. They also erected in the valley, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. The valley was richly wooded and fertile. However, it was so malarious that the Settlement had to be transferred to a hillock in neighbouring Powai. during the Maratha invasion Portuguese wars (1737-1739) the church in Powai (Holy Trinity) was abandoned and the catholics of the villages within the parish migrated to Vikhroli, Bhandup and Kanjur & Marol . 

Subsequently two new chapels were built & were under the administration  of  Holy Trinity Church. Powai. St Xaviers Kanjur East & St. Joseph’s, Vikhroli That is why the feast of The Holy Trinity even till recent years was alternately celebrated by the parishioners of St. Francis Xavier Church & St Joseph’s Vikhroli, who were originally parishioners of Holy trinity Church.

 

In 1557 and new Church dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity was built at the same time on the hillock. The Church was still be seen. In 1846,a Chapel was built close built close by. It was renovated and extended in 1968-71.however the church that stands today as Holy Trinity Church is quite a modern church, behind it even today you find remnants of the earlier churches built there by the Franciscans.

 

In The Christian began living again in Vihar in the seventeenth century.In 1638 the Vihar Church reappears then with the name of Nossa Senhora de Amparo (Our Lady of Help). This was within the Vihar Lake area itself. In 1714 The Seculars took over the Church

 

The 4-feet Statue of Our Lady of Amparo, which is now on the small altar at the left entrance of the Church, belonged to this Vihar Church. The Statue was brought to the Marol Church by the Vihar parishioners when they migrated to Marol before the Vihar Lake was built. ( Which Moral Church ??) From 1840 onwards, Some of the Marolites link their ancestry to the parishioners of Vihar. The feast of Our Ladyof Amparo is celebrated in Marol by the Confraternity of Nossa Senhora de Amparo on the 26th December every year by a Mass, followed by a get-together.

 

èHoly Cross Kurla: Year 1580.

I don’t know when this was,  was it after 1910, or was it before 1910 that the Fathers of Holy Cross Church, Kurla were on a regular basis coming to Vikhroli to say Mass & administer the Sacraments, They used to commute on a  bicycle along with the altar boys.We have always heard that St Francis Xavier came to Kurla, is this true ? There is documentary evidence that St Francis Xavier wrote to the Holy Father to establish 2 churches in Bombay because the Catholic Population in both this places was high, One is Holy Cross Kurla the other is Our Lady of Good Counsel, Sion. or St Andrews Bandra.

( Most probably OLGC Sion ) Both were  built in the late 16th century. Did he come to Bombay, there is no documentary evidence of the same.

 

 

 

èSt. Joseph’s Church.VIKHROLI. Year 1910.

 

( It seems that the Church at Kanjurmarg was established before St. Joseph’s Church had even had an official Parish Priest, this perhaps could be because the Church at Kanjurmarg was in a Village whereas The Church at Vikhroli even though it is close to Vikhroli railway station it was surrounded by only paddy fields, the closest inhabited area was Vikhroli Village. & as known Vikhroli was called a Jungle.

 

Before Rev Fr Manuel D’souza was appointed as Parish priest here in 1955 the regular priest who came from St.Xaviers. Kanjurmarg to celebrate the Eucharist & perform all sacraments was Rev. Fr James Noronha.

 

Rev. Fr. Manuel Simon Antonio de Carmo D’souza, was appointed Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s church, Vikhroli n 1955. Till 1966 Rev Fr Manuel was not only the Parish Priest but also the administrator of the school. When he arrived here, Vikhroli was called by a common expression “ a jungle”.

 

The first Church that was built in Vikhroli was in 1910. (no one knows who built it) The first official Sacristan of St.Joseph’s Church was Mr.Kaitan Barnetto who stayed behind the church. The Choir master also stayed behind the church Mr. D’lima & Mr. Francis Fernandes the official Choir Masters. If you did not have a sharp ear for music it was difficult to distinguish his voice from the sound of the violin.

 

Sebastian Pereira who worked in the school office was one of the first students of St. Joseph’s School, who studied in our school & passed out from Holy Cross. Kurla. There may have been many others.

 

The organized graveyard & niches were constructed by Rev Fr Herculan Silveira. & The Cross in the graveyard was installed in 1911, by the Subscribers & players (band) of the Music society. (Kurla) this inscription on the cross is not clear.

 

Long ago in the year 1956, Rev. Fr. Manuel started the school with as many as seventeen students from the nearby Vikhroli village, & as I am informed the teachers used to go with a bell & ring it in the Vikhroli Village to get the students to come to school.

One of the first teachers who taught in our school was Ms Jerry Rodricks. The church used to be as the premises for the school, & when it was too hot,  the tree behind the sacristies used to give the teachers & the children shade, and thereafter the number started growing each year. Today the school has more than 3500 students.

 

Fr Manuel had big palms & students were scared of the whacking he could give, his favorite expression was ‘ I will kat (cut) your tongue & put in the maad (mud), & yes if you go through the Church registers & records you will realize that he wrote in the most smooth excellent calligraphy.

 

All our old church records before & between1910-1955  are either found at Holy Cross Kurla, St Francis Xavier Church. Kanjurmarg or  Holy Trinity Church Powai.

Rev. Fr. George Lobo was appointed the first qualified Principal of St. Joseph’s School in the year 1966. The first S.S.C Examination had twenty-one students who passed out successfully with percentage being 91.30%.  He was responsible to get our school recognition in the Archdiocese  & The Bombay Municipality, to get the required government grants. Since then our school has been showing a steady progress under the able guidance of the following Principals:

 

Principals of St. Joseph’s School from 1955.

         Rev  Fr. Manuel D’souza  (Administrator)                1955-66

 1        Rev  Fr  George Lobo     (principal)                              1966-71

2        Rev  Fr. Joseph Coutinho                                          1971-73

3        Rev. Fr. Anthony D’souza                                         1973-76

4.       Rev .Fr. Bede D’costa                                               1976-79

5        Rev. Fr. Vernon D’souza                                           1979-86

6        Rev. Fr. Felix Noronha                                              1986-87

7        Rev. Fr. Leslie Almeida                                            1987-93

8        Rev. Fr. Diago Pereira                                              1993-99

9        Mr. Stephen Pereira                                                1999-01

10      Rev. Fr. Michael Pinto                                              2001-07

11.     Rev  Fr  Simon Lopez.       2007-                                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture 1. The stage of the 007 school.

Picture 2. This building was built by Rev Fr A J D’souza & Rev Fr Bede D’costa  1974-1978.

Picture 3 This building was built by Rev Fr Vernon D’souza in 1980

Picture 4. This picture is the back of the building of picture 5.

Picture 5.This wing of the school building was built in 1958 along with the church by Rev Fr Manuel D’souza. It took almost 12 years to complete.

Picture 1. The stage of the 007 school.

Picture 2. This building was built by Rev Fr A J D’souza & Rev Fr Bede D’costa  1974-1978.

Picture 3 This building was built by Rev Fr Vernon D’souza in 1980

Picture 4. This picture is the back of the building of picture 5.

Picture 5.This wing of the school building was built in 1958 along with the church by Rev Fr Manuel D’souza. It took almost 12 years to complete.

 

 

This report will not be complete without the discipline inculcated in the school by Rev (Late) Fr Joseph Coutinho.  He usually used to get out of breath climbing the school steps, that signal was good enough to make the children & the teachers to have dead silence in class. The other was Mr Pinto (The PT Sir), he evoked the remaining discipline, the first official PT sir of the school. Some of my best teachers I still am grateful for were : Ms Joseph, Ms Lovette Dorando, Ms Reena/Soucorrine Fernande , Ms Helen (Kurla) Ms Annie D’Crasto, (Late)

 Ms Dey, Mr Pinto, Ms Shobha Shinde/Dhonde, (Late) Mr P M Chacho, Mr T J Joseph. (Mr. Stephen Pereira, Mr. P. Y. Prabhune,

Mr. Khan, Mr. Pande (who died wih his boots on), Mrs. Helen Lal, Mrs. Chaturvedi, Mrs. Kadri, Mrs. Angela Ubale, Mrs. Dorothy Attawar, Mr. Mastioli & Mrs. Ila Dey (Drawing Teachers), Mrs. Linda Fernandes (Craft), Mrs. Plantina Fernandes, Mrs. Angeline

Fernandes were few other teachers who played a significant role in the progress of the school. –by Mr Nelson D’silva Ex member of te staff St Joseph’s School.).

( that does not mean the others were not good, I experienced these teachers, this is only my point of view).

 

PRINCIPALS:

Rev. Fr George Lobo: He was my first principal, I still remember he used to teach us Geography, He never gave notes as the rest of the School staff, Our first unit test the whole class failed in Geography,we did not know what & how to study without notes, once bitten twice shy,  next test the whole class passed. We studied everything. Every time he punished & wacked a child in school he got sick, Im sure it hurt him more then the kids.

Rev (late) Fr Joseph Coutinho was the first & one of the finest Principals the school ever had. He was a principal who made sure that St. Joseph was not only a English medium school by name, but all students spoke only in English in schooll he did not spare the students nor the teachers. He was an excellent English teacher himself. I can vouch for this because, he taught me.

 

Rev.Fr Michael pinto – ( Of all the priests who came and served in our parish, Fr. Michael Pinto stands out as the priest who had the biggest influence on our school recently. He transformed the school both internally and externally.. he transformed it to a place where children would love to come rather then dread.. He encouraged parents to play a participative role in the school activities and teachers were willing to go much beyond their limitations..He started a trend of achieving 100% success at the SSC results and the same continues..He was successful in putting our school amongst the best 50 schools in Mumbai…may God bless him always,- by Peter Pires)

He was also responsible for opening the New Main Gate of the School right in next to the bank.

 

Rev Fr. Diago Pereira: I can remember Fr Diago Perriera who started the trend of 100% results in SSC and ensuring that as many students get a chance to appear for SSC without detaining them in the earlier class.—Ronald Noronha. He was 90% good Priest & 10 % administrator, many of our people took advantage of him, even some of the staff.

 

Rev Fr leslie Almeida was an excellent administrator, he made sure that the students mentained the discipline needed. He also kept the teachers on their toes.

 

Mr.Steven Pereira. Who joined the school as a Marathi teacher, subsequently thaught many other subjects, coming from Vasai on time till he retired as the school principal was remarkable.

 

Rev. Fr.Vernon D’souza. Was an Excellent priest, If my memory serves me right he was also the diocesan Inspector for Catholic Schools, Very good priest & a good friend today he is in charge of the Pastoral Centre for retired priests.

 

The Parish Priests of St Joseph’s Church – Vikhroli were:

 

1.   Rev Fr Manuel D’souza 1/9/55 – 31/5/74   Built the Church 1955, & the 

front wing of the School & the Parochial House.

 

2.    Rev Fr Cosme Rego 1/6/74 – 31/5/80

     3  Rev Fr Anthony (Tony) Mendonca 1/6/80 – 31/5/82 Gave an Impetus to   

         most Church Organizations’ specially the Legion of Mary, placed the order

         for the wooden Cross (also had painted the scenery of the crucifixion   

         before the wooden cross was installed). His generosity for all church    

         activities helped the parish to become a vibrant one.

             (During the tenure of the  Fr Tony Mendonca and Fr Michael's Goveas, the  

         parish fathers visited the parish regularly & religiously. Spent quality time to

         visit the Parishioners. The team under these 2 Parish priests was a     

         wonderful example of bonding and for the affection they showed to the

         Parishioners, which  is still talked off now. Not many people are aware of

         the generosity of all the fathers especially Fr Michael who went out of the   

         way to help the poor Parishioners.- by Ronald Noronha)

4     Rev Fr Michael Goveas 1/6/82 – 31/5/88 another pro-Legion priest. Was responsible for buying the Wooden Cross on the alter.

(Fr. Michael Goveas is now retired and stays at Andheri East but celebrates Mass at Sacred Heart church, Andheri East. He was hot tempered but used to cool down immediately and had no ego in apologizing to the concerned people at the earliest. -- By Fredrick Correa)

5     Rev Fr Herculan Silveira 1/6/88 – 31/5/94 built the Niches & the graves.

(He once passed a remark that the Legion of Mary is the only organization in the church which does quietly  active work but does not show it to others. He was at the confessional before and after every Mass on weekdays and was always available for confessions at other times as well. .—by Fredrick Correa)—by Fredrick Correa)

6     Rev Fr Theodore (Theo) Fernandes 1/6/94- 31/5 2000 Legion of Mary grew under his tenure : He was the supporter of The first Walking Pilgrimage to the Mount from St. Joseph’s Church. The Good Friday Way of the Cross in different sections in our Parish. Marian Celebration was at its peak. The Parish wise Pilgrim Statue circulation. Grand Church Decorations; Devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Confraternity of the most Holy Rosary. Church Census. Rosary centers in different areas of the parish. Most important of all he built The Blessed Sacrament Chapel even when he did not have support of some of the priests. He was also responsible for the Church premises given to the Legion of Mary to run the stall.

7     Rev Fr Gerry Fernandes 1/6/2000 – 31/5/2003 increased the size of the altar. A conscious person about environment who banned all burning of fire crackers in the church premisesRev Fr Philip Falcao 1/6/2003 – 31/5/2006

8     Rev Msgr. Alex Rebello 1/6/2006- 31/5/2009 concreted the Church premises. He made sure the Church was always kept clean, he personally supervised it. He was in charge of most of the groups in the parish.

9     Rev Fr Anthony D’souza 1/6/2009

 

Parishioners that cannot be forgotten are Mr.Valentine Saldanha (known as Mr. Saldanha, Vikh.E.) very very active in our church to raise the funds for the Church & the school, Mrs Leticia Pinto  known popularly as only Mrs Pinto (Tagore Nagar) who was the focal point of the Catholic organization in Haryali Village & Tagore Nagar;

Mr. Sylvestor D’silva the owner of Polycarp Printers (Vikh.Village), Mr Peter Sequira (Godrej Hill Side) Mr Tony D’souza (Vikh.W) Mr Francis Anthony Fernandes popularly known as Padri Anthon from Haryali Village who started a lot of devotions & active in the church. Sis Lucy & Sis Rosie who ensured that the alter linen was kept clean & the alter was well decorated with fresh flowers every Sunday for many years. This History cannot be complete with a great thanks to their contribution  to the Church. We now have Mr. Joseph Menezes (Suryanagar), Mr.Steven Pereira (Vikhroli Village), Lucy Menezes (Lok gaurav. Vik. (W) , Mr. Francis D’Cunha, Wilfred Fernandes, Christopher Veigas,  Peter Noronha has been a one man choir cannot omit Paschal and his daughter Melicia who are training the chidrens’s choir. they have served the Church for many years. (Yes this list today would go endless )

 

 

 

 

 

The picture (1) of the 1910 old St. Joseph’s Church was given by the family of  Ms B.Vincent Ramedios. Vikhroli (W)

Pic 2. St. Joseph’s Church. 1979.

Pic 3. St. Joseph’s Church. VIKHROLI 1985.

Pic 4. SJCV.2012.

Pic 5.Plaque in remembrance of Fr Herculean Silvera.

Pic 6. Cross donated by Holy Cross Church 1911. ( etching eroded )

Pic 7.The graveyard thanks to Fr Herculean.

Pic 8. The Church grotto constructed by Fr Bonney & the youth, the marble statues ordered to be installed are still missing even after 20 years.

 

If you see Our New church without the external façade, you will realize the design of the new church is the exact copy of the old Church, when it was built it even had the 2 belfry’s, this frontal design was changed after The Eucharistic Congress in Bombay, The new wings are a copy of the alter of the Eucharistic Congress, 1964.

 

About some of our Priests & Religious:

 

Rev Fr Kenneth Mendes was known for his wit. (The present cross came up due to the insistence of Fr Kenny who at the meeting of the Fathers said Give the best to the people and they would give you the best in return. His words were indeed Prophetic.- Ronald Noronha).

(Fr. Kenny's infectious sense of humor his lightening fast services and his good nature is still talked about. He did not differentiate between the rich and the poor and I remember that once at the funeral of a child from the railway track slums he ensured they got all the respect as was due to a parishioner of the church- by Ronald Noronha) (His common terminology to call a youngster was “Champion”. Also he started with the making of the host in house and also the same was being shared with the other parishes.- by Sunil D’souza)

 

Rev Fr Alex Carvalho, great artist, Started putting up the messages on the Church hoarding. .

(Fr Alex's lifestyle and preaching always endeared him to the parishioners especially the poor. The massive cribs installed by the LOM with his assistance were always socially relevant and made it to the papers next day.- Ronald Noronha)

 

Fr Alex & his team & their work at Bhiwandi during the riots May 1984,the number of weeks spent there by Fr Alex & his team of youth. His messages through slideshows, Fr Alex was ahead of his times. The messages on the Church Hoarding were also started by him, after him it was taken up by the Legion of Mary.

Fr. Alex created great sense of awareness among the people about the merciless killings of unborn babies through abortions. He also filmed the slum near the Railway station and sent it to the relevant authorities, so that they would get alternative accommodation in future. (Mr.Fredrick Correa). He also conducted a well attended Bible Class for many years. He was excellent in drawing caricature figures. & was known for his extreme patience.

 

Fr Dennis' D’souza’s ear for music and his bonding with the youth and the children was much talked about. The Legion of Mary bloomed under him, he started the Legion stall. Can you believe it that he too used to sit at the Sunday Legion Stall.

Fr. Vernon D’souza’s displinarian attitude helped the school grow in status .It was Fr Michael Goveas, Fr Kenneth Mendes and Fr Vernon who were instrumental in conducting free classes in Maths and Science for the 9 and 10th std which helped many poor children come out in flying colours and most of them are well placed now.- Ronald Noronha)

 

The team under Fr Tony Mendonca (PP 1980-82), were Fr Alex Carvalho, Fr Kenneth Mendes, & Fr Dennis Dsouza & Under Fr Michael Goveas (PP 82-88), Fr Kenneth Mendis, Fr Vernon D’souza & Fr Alex Carvelho.Fr Andrew, Fr Leslie Almeida. These 8 years of two excellent sets of Priests changed the whole parish to a blooming growing parish. The Parish was at its zenith.

 

Sis Norma & Sis. Violet of poor sisters of Our Lady PSOL (1982-88) who was for many years at Vikhroli, changed a lot of lives of the students they interacted with. They were very actively involved in all parish activities & yes closely attached to The Legion of Mary activities.

Rev Fr Felix Rebello. Gave an impetus to the Small Christian Community in Vikhroli. It was he who started the points system, where points were allotted for attending SCC meetings, activities, competitions etc.

 

There was so much Warmth & Closeness between the Parish Team itself & between the Parish Fathers & the Parishioners. Yes the parishioners & the members of the organizations could walk into the parish office, meet any priest  at any time. ( there were no barricades bells & doors to keep parishioners away, There were no timings. Some of us were always found in the parish house. I still remember my father asking me, if the priests did not have a place for me to stay. He used to say ‘Stay there only’. Fr Kenneths room was never locked, we were free to go to his room & have a wash, yes many times we could not even find a soap in his bathroom, so we bought one for him. These priests used to go for movies & dinners together. If that was not enough Fr. Michael Goveas. took all of us too with them  for Movies specially the LOM. The unity of the parishioners & the priest was unique, It never more exists, You don’t feel wanted, the Priest some how tells you, keep away, he is not interested in you or your problems (my point of view).

 

Priests & Religious  from Vikhroli :

Rev Fr Tony Mendonca was the first PP to give his full support to the LOM followed by Fr Kenneth Mendis, Fr Alex Carvelho, Fr Dennis D’souza this perhaps was the reason for most of the following enrolments . ….. (LOM= Legion of Mary) 

Fr. Vincent Thomas (Ex LOM); Fr Bastin Thomas (Ex LOM associate),

Fr Rogers Jones/Pinto (Ex LOM), Fr Tony Santarita, Fr Wilfred Vaz (Ex LOM), Sr  Luizinha Mascarenhas (Ex LOM), Sr Evelyn Menezes (Ex LOM),

Sr Olive D’souza, (Ex LOM), Fr Sebastin Gomes (Vikhroli Village),

Sr Shobha Serrao (Ex LOM). Sis Lourdes Martins, Sis Krupa (Leena) Fernandes.

Sr Bertha.(Near d Church) Sis Estey Colaco( Vik Village) Jannet Pinto (Ex LOM associate) Bro. Fredcrick Correa has joined the diaconate. (active member of the LOM)

 

LOM=Legion of Mary: Fr Dennis D’souza was pro Legion attend, one of the priests that was totally involved with its activities, what more he used to attend allLegion meetings in full. At one time a few years back was not only the strongest organization in the parish, it was the strongest group in Bombay.  I will not be surprised it might have been the strongest group not only in our Diocese / Legion Sanatus, but all over India. We had 3 senior Groups & 5 junior groups of a total strength of more than 125 Legionaries. The works undertaken were non-Christian contacts, Hospital Visits, Promoting Devotion to the Sacred Heart Of Jesus, Promoting The Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. Working on the Legion Stall, Marian Celebration, celebrating Mother Mary’s Birthday with a lot of activities, Organizing Open air area wise Way of the Cross, Blood Donation Drives, Walking Pilgrimage to the mount, Circulation of the Pilgrim Statue (there were 7 statues circulating at one time, till the SCC said they would do it.

 

The Legion of Mary Stall. Vikhroli.

 

 

Another feature of St. Joseph’s Church. Vikhroli was the Legion Stall that was the best well maintained & stocked stall in the central suburbs, People from Kalyan to Kurla used to patronize this stall. It stocked a variety of Bibles, Alter frames, prayer books, Catholic sacramentals. It was situated at the foot of the stained glass Cross of the school.

 

 

In the pictures is L > R Bro. Adrian Anthuraj,

Bro. Nelson Fernandes, Bro Moti Fernandes, & Bro Lawrence Rodrigues.

 

SCC : Small Christian communities

(21st February 2010, was a Red Letter day in the history of St. Joseph’s church, Vikhroli, for the first time since its inception the Small Christian Communities of the parish had a ‘RALLY’ in the school Quadrangle. All the 14 communities put up cultural items on the theme ‘SCC –A witness’ after a Parade of all the Animators of the communities. More than 900 parishioners were in attendance. The Rally was conceived, planned and carried out by the ‘Steering Committee’ ably led Mr. Mike Dias the chairperson.
12th December 2010 saw all the members and office-bearers of all the church cells and associations come together under one roof to celebrate and enhance the unity and collaboration in the Association day.
19th March 2011, Our church completed 100 years of existence. A thanksgiving Eucharist was celebrated in the School quadrangle and St. Joseph was taken to the church in a procession in a Palki. More than 1250 people were present for this Eucharistic Celebration which were led by the Bishop from Pune.—by Peter Pires)

BCS= Bombay Catholic Sabha: In recent times The BCS in Vikhroli has been very very active. They took up issued of The deaths at the Level crossing & forced The Railway authorities to close the Level Crossing & Build an additional bridge so that the people could commute with ease, however they realized that the bridge created other problems, it becomes gruesome for most people to cross over, They forced the Railways to add an escalator at Vikhroli. The Escalator is yet to be installed. At the last annual awards function of The BCS-Mumbai in 2011. The BCS got more than half a dozen awards for various activities.

 

The other groups active in the parish are:

 

Couples for Christ.

Lectors

Bible Cell. (Members of the Word Ministry).

Bible Class Group

Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

The Sodality (Konkanni)

Liturgy Team

Family cell

Sunday School Pastoral Meet

P Y A T

Pre Baptismal teaching group

Women’s Cell

Civic & Political Cell

Health Cell

Parish Council of Associations

Catholic Charismatic Renewal

Marriage Encounter

Hope & Life Movement

R C I A

Parish Youth Council

Alter Servers Sodality

Eucharistic Ministers

Tamil Catholic Association

Woman’s Alter Society

Ushers

Choir: English; Children’s; Konkani; Marathi.

 

The Archdiocese of Bombay :

 

The Archdiocese of Bombay comprises of 11 deaneries with 122 parishes. Two Hundred and eighty two (282) diocesan priests, three hundred and seventeen (317) religious priests, ninety (91) religious brothers and one thousand five hundred and eighty seven (1587) religious sisters serve the Catholic population of five hundred and twenty five thousand and seventeen (525,017) persons.

The Archdiocese of Bombay serves the lay faithful through their 6 degree Colleges, 11 junior colleges,  132 high schools,  2 middle schools,  18 primary schools, 10 national open schools and 8 schools non formal education centers.

 

St Pius the Xth Seminary. Archdiocese of Bombay – Goregaon-Mumbai.

Motto  “We are ambassadors of Christ”

 

 

The Diocesan Seminary : The Seminary in Bombay had its humble beginnings in 1770 as a one – room day-school in the Bishop’s House attached to the Fort Chapel in a rented house in Medows Street. In 1777 – 78.  closed & It reopened in1791- 1825 and stayed at the Bishop’s residence in Medows Street. From 1826 to 1836, the Seminarians were boarding in one Fr. Lourenco’s house, but going to the Bishop’s House for their classes. From 1836 to 1841, the Seminary was lodged in an independent building at the back of the Bishop’s residence in Fort. It was transferred to Salvacao Church in 1841 and moved

to ‘ Parel in 1851. In 1852, it was transferred to Surat. then to St. Peter’s Bandra, in 1855. In 1863, part went to Cavel and part remained at Bandra.then moved to St. Mary’s at Mazagaon only to be transferred to St.Xavier’s at Dhobi Talao in 1869. From there they went to the famous Kandy

Seminary in Sri Lanka or to Mangalore.

Archbishop Lima opened the Seminary at Parel on 13th June 1936, The Seminary began to grow and in June 1953 some of the students were at

Bandra and some others at Parel. Finally, Cardinal Gracias secured the present site at Goregaon

(E). On the 5th October 1960, A personal achievement of Cardinal Gracias.

 

As far back as 1770, a first attempt to train local clergy in Bombay was made by its Apostolic Vicar. From that time until 1930, teething troubles, interruptions, changes of location, administration and Staff marred subsequent attempts. Finally, Archbishop Joaquim Lima decreed  the establishment of a Seminary for Bombay in Parel under the patronage of St Anthony of Lisbon and St Francis Xavier and entrusted it to the Jesuits. He inaugurated it on 13th June, 1936. This milestone marks the inception of a stable and flourishing Diocesan Seminary. Within two decades, the number of seminarians swelled so rapidly that the existing facilities became woefully inadequate. In 1953, the ‘Pilgrim House’ at Mount Mary’s Bandra was converted into a ‘Theological College’ for the Seminary, an interim measure.

In July 1960, renamed as ‘St Pius the Tenth College’, the Seminary’s large new campus in Goregaon East became operational. The official inauguration was held on 5th October 1960, in the presence of high ecclesiastical and civil dignitaries and a large multitude of clergy, religious and laity. The Seminary and the Archdiocese owe a debt of eternal gratitude to Valerian Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay from 1950-1978 for bringing to well planned and executed fruition .

Bishop Agnelo Gracias has been recalled to be the Rector of the seminary. He is handling both his pastoral ministry as a bishop and also does his job as a Rector in the seminary. Bishop Emeritus Percy Fernandez is residing in the seminary. Bishop Emeritus Bosco Penha is still active and resides at Salvation church building, Dadar.  Cardinal Oswald Gracias is at Wodehouse, Colaba who takes  active interest in the happenings of the seminary. The seminary caters to the nuns from various congregations who come to study theology. There are also a few lay people who study philosophy and theology. Besides there are 7 candidates for the permanent diaconates The seminary also conducts a number of short courses on week ends and on Sundays besides long courses for one & two years.

 

Rev. Fr Leslie J Ratus initiated the first 2 year extensive Bible study program at the Seminary called “The Word Ministry” in 1990, This course today is successfully carried out by Fr Roland Fialho, Fr Jude Ferreira, & Fr John & a host of Professors, Theologians at the Mumbai Seminary.

‘The Ministry of The Word’ as on today has 474 candidates who have completed this 2 year courses every Sunday for 100 weeks in a row, with three live in programmers, They are from 74 parishes , they are active. & another 80-90 doing their training right now & about 35 are doing their internship, ie compiling their Dossiers & give their 6 initial talks allocated to them. I had an opportunity to complete this course. Every Word Minister is expected to spend monthly time in his parish to spread the word.

 

The Small Christian Communities:

This is the Brain Child of Bishop Bosco Penha He is the Director of Small Christian Communities (SSC) in the Archdiocese. The work began in a systematic manner in June 1984; and over the last 25 years it has grown in strength and stature. As a result almost every parish in the archdiocese is now structured into SCCs. There are approximately 1800 communities and 12,000 animators.

 

The Role of the Church in establishing Schools.

The British acquired Bombay in 1665 and Salsette (Marol – Bessine) in 1774. Hence, the language of gradually became English. Schools teaching in the English medium began to be established in Bombay Island by lay effort – the first was the John Baretto Charity School at Cavel in about 1778. This School was originally founded to teach “Latin, Portuguese and English however in 1888 English alone continued. The Antonio de Souza School at Gloria church (1797). St. Theresa’s School, Girgaum (1844), St. Xavier’s, Dhobi Talao,(1869)  & St. Xavier’s Collage (1869). Antonio D’Silva School, Dadar, (1875). The Nuns of Jesus and Mary started a convent in Fort in 1855 (transferred to Wodehouse Road in 1904), However, there were no English medium teaching schools in Salsette and Bassein,. The Association of the East Indian community established  in 1887 after which immediately English medium Schools at Papdi, Amboli, Orlem, Malwani,Uttan and Thane.

 

Valarian Cardinal Gracious:

 

A towering personality, physically and intellectually, great organizer, eloquent speaker, one who could mingle easily and equally with kings and commons Born on 23 October 1900, Karachi, Died on 11 September 1978, Bombay, India) He served as Indias first Indian Archbishop of Bombay from 1/12/1950 until his death, On 16 May 1946, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, promoted him to Archbishop of Bombay on 4 December 1950,and was elevated to the cardinalate in 12th. Jan. 1953. Cardinal Gracias died from cancer in Bombay, at age 77. He was buried in Holy Name Cathedral.

He was awarded the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award on January 26, 1966.

 

ARCHBISHOP SIMON PIMENTA   1978-  (Cardinal from 28th June 1988- 31st May 1988) Bombay’s second Cardinal.During this period, the following were ordained as Auxiliary Bishops of Bombay:

Bishop Ferdinand Fonseca - 29th June, 1980

Bishop Bosco Penha -8th August, 1987

Bishop Longinus Pereira retired on 3rd December 1986 after over thirty-one years as Auxiliary

Bishop of Bombay. He continued as the Rector of Mount Mary’s Basilica, Bandra, but retired.

 

The 38th International Congress was held in Bombay from 28th November to 6th December 1964at the Oval Maidan (later renamed as Pope Paul VI Maidan  Xavier Chapel in Middle Colaba where the blessed Sacrament is kept exposed.

The following were ordained as Auxiliary Bishops of Bombay during the Cardinal’s ministry :

1. Bishop Longinus Pereiara 1955-1986

2. Bishop William Gomes 1961-1967 (since serving in other dioceses)

3. Bishop Winnibald Menezes 1968-1977 (retired)

4. Bishop Simon Pimenta 1971-1977

 

Cardinals of Bombay

Valerian Gracias † (4 Dec 1950 Appointed - 11 Sep 1978 Died)

Simon Ignatius Pimenta (11 Sep 1978 Succeeded - 8 Nov 1996 Retired)

Ivan Dias (8 Nov 1996 Appointed - 20 May 2006 Appointed, Prefect of the  

     Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples)

Oswald Gracias (14 Oct 2006 Appointed - )

The Calendar dates when the Churches in Bombay were built:

(Please many of the dates mentioned will not even match in the said article because the sources are different & the same Church was rebuilt many a times, Im certainly not an authority on these dates, Ive compiled most of the data – sorry for the discrepancies’)

 

1547 : Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, also called Mt.Poinsur Church, Mandeshwar Church Borivli. After Heritage site the caves  & A part of the Church  (revived in 1912)

1557 : Most Holy Trinity, Powai ( The 2nd oldest Christian community in Mumbai)  Revived in 1912.

1560-1945 :St.Thomas, Goregaon East
1575-1578 : Our Lady of Nazareth, Bhayandar West
1570 -  Our Lady of Expectation. This Church stood exactly where today we have The Victoria Terminus (VT)

1579 : St.John the Baptist/Evangelist, Condita (Marol)
1582 : St.John the Baptist, Thane
1585 : St.Michael, Mahim; St.Anthony of Lisbon, Mankhurd;        Our Lady of the Purification, Uran
1585-1589 : St.Blaise, Amboli

1580 built during the Portuguese era by the Jesuits in 1588  : 1848, Now recently rebuilt, Holy Cross, Kurla

1591 : Our Lady of Remedy, Poinsur
1595 : Our Lady of Glory, Mazagaon/Byculla
1595-1602 : Holy Magi, Gorai
1595-1602/1975 : St.Jerome, Kashimira
1595-1610 : Our Lady of Salvation, (Portuguese Church)
Nossa Senhora de Salvação   Dadar West

1606-1609 : Our Lady of Egypt, Kalina

1613 : Our Lady of Bethlehem, Dongri

1616 : St.Andrew, Bandra

1630 : St.Sebastian, Marouli

1630-1642/1835 : St.Anthony, Malwani

1634-1642 : Our Lady of Health, Versova;       Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Manori;    

                   Our Lady of the Sea, Uttan

1713 :          Our Lady of Mt.Carmel, Korlai

1794 : Our Lady of Health, Cavel;         Our Lady of the Rosary, Mazagaon

1850 : St.Francis Xavier, Vile Parle

1853 : St.Peter, Bandra; St.Joseph, Juhu; St.Joseph, Colaba

1855 : Our Lady of Victories, Mahim

1861 : Our Lady of the Assumption, Kandivli

1872 : St.Francis Xavier, Dabul

1887 : St.Anne, Mazagaon

1894 : Our Lady of Mt.Carmel, Bandra

1904 : Holy Cross, Lower Parel; Our Lady of Health, Sahar

1905 : Holy Name, Fort (after Our Lady of Mt.Carmel, the parish church in the Fort was closed down); ………….Our Lady of the Sea, Madh

1910 : St.Joseph, Vikhroli ( The new Church was built in 1955 )

1913 : St.Ignatius, Jacob Circle

1916 : Our Lady of Lourdes, Orlem, Malad West

1928 : Sacred Heart, Santa Cruz

1932 : Our Lady of Lourdes, Kalyan

1936 : Our Lady of Fatima, Karjat

1941 : Our Lady of Dolours, Sonapur;    Our Lady of Dolours, Wadala;  St.Joseph, Umerkhadi; St.Teresa, Girgaum; ………..St.Paul, Dadar East

1943 : Holy Family, Chakala; St.Anne, Bandra;     St.Vincent de Paul, Khar

1945 : St.Anthony, Vakola

1946 : St.Theresa, Bandra

1948 : St.Stephen, Cumballa Hill

1949 : St.John the Evangelist, Fort

1950 : Our Lady of Good Counsel, Sion

1951 : Our Lady of Fatima, Ambernath; Our Lady of Lourdes, Uttan-Pali

1953 : Our Lady of Fatima, Kirol

1954 : Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Chembur

1955 : St.Ignatius, Mandvi

1956 : St.Francis Xavier, Kanjur

1959 : Holy Cross, Juhu-Tara; Our Lady of Fatima, Sewri

1960 : St.Joseph the Worker, Bandra East

1961 : Sacred Heart, Worli

1967 : Christ the King, Oshiwara, Jogeshwari West

1968 : St.Joseph, Kurla

1969 : Our Lady of Lourdes, Kalyan East; Our Lady of the Rosary, Goregaon West

1971 : St.Jude, Malad East

1972 : St.Jude, Jeri-Meri

1974 : Infant Jesus, Jogeshwari St.Francis Xavier, Parksite

1975 : St.Anthony, Saki Naka

1976 : Our Lady of Lourdes, Sion; St.Pius the Tenth, Mulund

1978 : Our Lady of Velankanni, Irla

1981 : St.Dominic Savio, Wadala East; St.Vincent Pallotti, Marol

1982 : Holy Family, Pestom Sagar; St.Francis of Assisi, Bandra

1983 : Infant Jesus, Ghatkopar East

1985 : Good Shepherd, Andheri; Holy Redeemer, Khopoli

1986 : Our Lady of Mercy, Pokhran

1987 : Sacred Heart, Andheri East

1988 : St.Joseph, Goregaon East

1990 : St.Francis Xavier, Panvel

1991 : Our Lady of the Forsaken, Malwani Colony

1992 : Our Lady of Fatima, Majiwada; Our Lady of the Forsaken, Ghansoli; St.Anthony of Padua, Kalwa

1993 : Sacred Heart, Vashi; Christ the King, Borivli East;     Nativity of Our Lord, Kandivli East;        Christ the King, Shivaji Nagar;        St.Anthony, Tembipada

1996 : Our Lady of the Visitation, Nerul; Holy Spirit, Kalamboli; Sacred Heart, Roha; St.Francis Xavier, Mahad

1999 : St.Theresa of the Child Jesus, Airoli; Christ the King, Rasayani

2000 : St.Anthony, Dharavi

2001 : St.John Bosco, Borivli; St.Francis de Sales, Koparkhairane

2002 : St.Andrew, Chowk; Infant Jesus, Dombivli;       St.Joseph, Mira Road;     St.Lawrence, Wagle Estate;  …..

Divine Mercy, Bhayandar East; ……… Mary of Nazareth, Alibag

2003 : St.Louis, Dahisar

2004 : Good Shepherd, Sanpada

2005 : St.Joseph, Belapur-CBD

2007 : St.Francis Xavier, Badlapur

2008 : St.Joseph the Worker, Mumbra

2009 : Divya Kripa, Kharghar

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Venerable Fr. Agnelo Gustavo D'Souza - the Servant of God.

Archbishop Patriark Raul Gonsalves told the packed gathering that Fr. Agnelo will be declared a Saint if God wants and when He wants. He said that our attention should not be on the miracle required for his beatification but on the saintly example he has left for us to imitate. Ven. Agnelo was born at Anjuna, Goa on 21 st January 1869, He had a very holy death on 20 th November 1927, One of his famous sayings "Each time we go to confession, we should consider it to be the last in our life." 10 th Nov. 1986, Pope John Paul II declared Fr. Agnelo Venerable.

 

We are familiar with St. Gonzalo Garcia O.F.M. who was martyred at Nagasaki (Japan) on 5th February 1597, and being an Indian and a Franciscan Friar, the saint deserves a life sketch for the benefit of readers. The author reports: "On the day of the Martyrdom, Gonzalo Garcia was forty years old. This means that he was born, either towards the end of 1556 or in the beginning of 1557."

"He was born in Bassein, and in his own words was "the son of a Portuguese gentleman and a lady of that place. For fifteen or sixteen years he lived with his parents at Bassein. During that period he was a pupil of the Jesuit school, and it was probably shortly after 1568 that the first seeds of a religious vocation were planted in his soul by Fr. Sebastian Gonsalves. "He was crucified on the wind-swept hill overlooking Nagasaki and won the Martyr's crown on February 5th 1597.

 

Saint Alphonsa Muttathupadathu, F.C.C., or Saint Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception (19 August 1910 in Kerala– 28 July 1946 at age 35 ) First canonized Indian Catholic saint , Beatified 8 February 1986, Feast on 28 July, Patronage against illness.

 

Yes I have Collected, collated & Redacted the data (where I was qualified to do so), there still might be errors, please keep me informed. ALL ITALICS ARE MINE.

                                                                                                                                

A grateful thanks to the Parishioners of Vikhroli Village, Kurla Village, Mulund St Pius Parish who spoke of the History of Our Church. Thanks to Mr Anthony Pereira (Vikhroli Village), & contributors to the article Mr. Peter Pires ( Legion Of Mary LOM now in Goa),  Mr. Ronald Noronha (LOM Thane curia President), Mr. Fredrick Correa (Ex President of Sion Curia.

 

A grateful thanks to the Parishioners of Vikhroli Village, Kurla Village, Mulund St Pius Parish who spoke of the History of Our Church. Thanks to Mr Anthony Pereira (Vikhroli Village), & contributors to the article Mr. Peter Pires ( Legion Of Mary LOM now in Goa),  Mr. Ronald Noronha (LOM Thane curia President), Mr. Fredrick Correa (Ex President of Sion Curia. LOM) Mr. Nelson D’silva.( Ex member of St Joseph’s Staff.). Mr Roque Lobo Ex president of LOM Vikhroli now in Mulund. Mr Sunil D’souza (Ex President LOM). Rev Fr. Roland Fialho (Seminary MOW), Elaine D’souza Ministry of the Word (MOW).

 

No claim is made to any original research while preparing this document. However, the historical account and the statistics have been compiled and collated from well documented publications, the more important of which have been mentioned at the end. Some part of the information pertaining to this Parish is from my personal knowledge.

 

p.s. As Fredrick Correa says ‘ Since human memory has limitations, we might have not mentioned a number of people who have given their best services to the church but have not been included in the article, their absence in this article is unintentional.

 

’YES. THE ADDITIONS to THIS ARTICLE ARE ALWAYS WELCOME, WE WILL UPDATE THESE RECORDS. as  an when required’ .

Acknowledgement:

http://archdioceseofbombay.org/year.html

http://oldphotosbombay.blogspot.in/2011_09_25_archive.html

http://www.olgcchurch.com/parishhistory.asp

http://www.archdioceseofbombay.org/statistics.html

http://www.udri.org/udri/MumbaiReader09/25%20Sidh%20Losa%20Mendiratta%20-%20Uncovering%20Portuguese%20Histories%20Within%20Mumbai%E2%80%99s%20Urban%20History.pdf

https://sites.google.com/site/stpiusxcollege/_/rsrc/1286772366020/about-us/history/seminary.jpg

http://www.mangalorean.com/browsearticles.php?arttype=Travelogue&articleid=900

http://stjohnmarol.com/st.john.pdf

http://fragnelpilar.in/programNovena.htm

http://konkanicatholics.blogspot.in/2006/08/st-bartholomews-india-connection.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_the_Apostle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Xavier

 

 

 

by Tony DIAS                                                 

St.Joseph’s Church. VIKHROLI.

8th. SEPTEMBER 2012

9821342681- tony@dias.co

 

CHRISTIANITY IN MUMBAI, A BRIEF HISTORY. (1550-2012)

THE BEGINNINGS

When did Christianity first come to the North Konkan? There is no definite answer to this question yet. Some hold it as a historical fact, based on documents and tradition, going back to the third century A.D., that the North Konkan was privileged to receive the Gospel in apostolic times through the teachings of St. Bartholomew, the Apostle, just as the Malabar Coast received the Gospel through the teachings of St. Thomas, the Apostle. Others hold that the first Christians in the North Konkan may be casual merchants come here from other Christian countries. Still others hold that in the 6th century, Kalyan, north-east of Bombay, had a Bishop appointed from Persia, while Chaul to the south of Bombay in the Konkan area, had Christians in the 10th century.

 

According to Rufinus of Acquileia (345-410 A. D.), a noted Church historian, when the Apostles cast lots as to the countries to which they were to carry the Good News,  (south of NE Asia) fell to the lot of Thomas, Ethiopia to Matthew and to Bartholomew, India ‘citerior’, by which ancient geographers meant the Western Coast of India – Gujarat and the North Konkan. But where did Bartholomew land on this Coast? The Menology codified by the order of the Eastern Emperor, Basil II,states that Bartholomew had gone to ‘India Felix’. (India meant India in context with North east Asia)

Some scholars hold that this must have been kalian, slightly north-east of today’s Bombay, Known and frequented in those times. ‘Kalyan’ in Sanskrit means ‘happiness”, which in Latin is ‘Felix’.

 

Salsette = the island area between the Mahim creek and the Bassein creek.

According to St. Jerome (342-420 AD), who first translated the Bible into Latin, Christian messengers from India came to Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria, where Christianity was flourishing, asking him to send someone to attend to their spiritual needs. Demetrius sent Pantaenus, a scholar in Sacred Scripture and Greek Humanities, who on arrival “found that the coming of Christ according to the Gospel of Matthew was preached by Bartholomew and preserved till then”.

an Alexandrian merchant, writes of his having seen a Christian community in Kalyan in the 6th century.

 

It is about this time that some reports of the existence of the Christian community at Sopara (Bassein) were current in Europe. Drawn by these reports, a French Dominican Friar, Jourdain de severac, accompanied by four Franciscans, (Blessed Thomas of Tolentino, James of Padua, Peter of Siena and Brother Demetrius of Tiflis) Landed at Thane at the end of 1320. These Franciscans were murdered by the Muslim Governor of Thane on 9th march, 1321. These are now known as the Martyrs of Thane. According to Jourdain, these Christians were a scattered people. He went to Sopara in Bassein, where he found a small Christian community with a Church. He baptized about 90 persons. A little later he baptized 115 persons in Broach and 35 persons between Thane and Sopara. The Indian Church, whether in the North Konkan or Malabar, witnessed a ‘dark age’ between the 9th and the beginning of the 14th century.The Christians were then reduced to “nominal Christians.”

 

This account of the early times may be concluded with the story of the martyrdoms of St. Bartholomew and St. Thomas.

 

Legends of St. Bartholomew.

TRADITION

One of the Twelve Apostles, mentioned in the Gospel list (Mathew10:3;

Many scholars, however, identify him with Nathaniel (John 1:45-51).

According to one tradition, Eusebius of Caesarea's Ecclesiastical History  states that after the Ascension of our Lord, the Apostle Bartholomew came to India to, ( Kalyan near Bombay / Kalyanpur Mangalore)   in AD 55 and preached the Gospel in the area near Kalyan,  where he left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew . and was martyred in AD 62.T” Raja Astreges (Aristakarman) ordered the Apostle to do ‘puja’ to his idol. Bartholomew refused. He was then beheaded “after the 9th of September, probably in 62 A. D.” his was also confirmed by Pantanus  in the 2nd century who reported what he was told of St Bartholomew. Who preached a region which may have been known as the ancient city Kalyan, which was the field of Saint Bartholomew's missionary activities


Other traditions record him as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthian ad Lycaonia. "India" was a name covering a very wide area, including even Arabia Felix. Bartholomew died in Armenia. Christian tradition has three stories about his death – that he was kidnapped and beaten to death, he was crucified upside down and the third that he was flayed (skinned) alive.

Another tradition says that he is said to have been martyred in Albanopolis in Armenia. According to one account, he was beheaded, but a more popular tradition holds that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward

His relics are thought by some to be preserved in the church of St. Bartholomew, at Rome.

 

According to another historian Moraes this is due to the fact that the history of Christians of Bartholomew got intermingled with that of the Thomas Christians ( the Syriac tradition is that, Saint Bartholomew preached in Armenia). According to Perumalil, Bartholomew Christians continued as a separate community till the coming of the Portuguese and got merged with the Christians of Bombay.

Thomas the Apostle. He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel. He is also believed to have crossed the largest area, which includes the Parthian Empire(The Parthian empire occupied all of modern Iran, Iraq and Armenia, parts of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and -for brief periods- territories in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine) .and India. According to The Passing of Mary, a text attributed to Joseph of Arimathaea, Thomas was the only witness of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. The other apostles were miraculously transported to Jerusalem to witness her death. Thomas was left in India, but after her first burial he was transported to her tomb, where he witnessed her bodily assumption into heaven, from which she dropped her girdle.

St. Thomas is traditionally believed to have sailed to India in 52AD to spread the Christian faith among the Jews, the Jewish diaspora present in Kerala at the time. According to Indian Christian tradition, St. Thomas landed in Kodungallur in AD 52, in the company of a Jewish merchant Hebban. There were Jewish colonies in Kodungallur since ancient times and Jews continue to reside in Kerala till today, tracing their ancient history.

Another tradition says he He landed at Muziris. He then went to Palayoor which was a Hindu priestly community at that time. He left Palayoor in AD 52 for Kerala State, where he established the Ezharappallikal, or "Seven and Half Churches".

According to tradition, St. Thomas attained martyrdom at St. Thomas Mount in Chennai and is buried on a small hillock called St. Thomas Mount, where the Apostle is said to have been killed in AD 72. Also to be found in Chennai is the Dioceses of Saint Thomas of Mylapore to which his mortal remains were supposedly transferred. No archaeological evidence support these claims though.

On the 3rd. of July, St. Thomas who was pierced with a lance in India. Today His body is at Edessa, Mesopotamia  having been brought there by the merchant Khabin. In Edessa, where his remains were venerated. Few relics are still kept in church at Mylapore, Tamil Nadu, India

According to Eusebius' record, Thomas and Bartholomew were assigned to Parthia and India. there are no circumstantial reasons why Thomas could not have visited India in the 1st century. And his visit is the most plausible explanation for the early appearance of the church there.

On 27 September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI recalled that an ancient tradition claims that Thomas first evangelized Syria and Persia (mentioned by Origen, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History then went on to Western India, from where also he finally reached Southern India.

THE PORTUGUESE MISSIONARIES

The 20th of May 1498 was a momentous day for Christianity in India. On that day, three small ships with crosses emblazoned on their sails dropped anchor at Calicut down South. They had come from Lisbon under the command of the sea-captain Vasco da Gama. Their objective: trade in pepper and the evangelization of the newly – discovered lands The city, now Old Goa, became the richest City of the East. They called it ‘Golden Goa.’ In 1534, a Latin See was erected in Goa and in 1558 Goa was raised to the rank of an Archdiocese with Suffragan Bishops in Cochin and Malacca.  That glory belongs largely to St. Francis

Xavier. He landed in Goa on the 6th May 1542

 

St. Francis Xavier, born (Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta)

(7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552) born in Spain). He was a student of  Ignatious of Loyola He led an extensive mission into Asia, mainly in the Portuguese Empire of the time. He was influential in the spreading and upkeep of Catholicism in India, but also ventured into Japan, Borneo, the Moluccas Together with Loyola and five others, he founded the Society of Jesus: on 15 August 1534, in a small chapel in Montmartre, they made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and also vowed to convert the Muslims in the Middle East. Francis went, with the rest of the members of the newly papal-approved Jesuit order, to Venice to be ordained to the priesthood, which took place on 24 June 1537.

After the return of Vasco da Gama, King Manoell of Portugal sent fleets every year to India. These fleets also carried priests, both secular and regular.

Franciscans: They were the first Portuguese missionaries to set foot on the soil of India i.e. in the year 1500 and plant the Cross there. Starting from Old Goa. they moved in about 1516 to Chaul, then to Karanja, the Konkan borders.

He reached Goa, then capital of Portuguese India's on 6 May 1542, and also visiting Vasai. There he was invited to head Saint Paul's College, a pioneer seminary for the education of secular priests that became the first jesuit headquarters in Asia, but soon departed, having spent the following three years in India.

He  also visited Sri Lanka). Dissatisfied with the results of his activity, he set his sights eastward in 1545 and planned a missionary journey to Indonesia).

As the first Jesuit in India, Francis had difficulty procuring success for his missionary trips. Focus was to restore Christianity among the Portuguese settlers. Many of the Portuguese sailors had had illegitimate relationships with Indian women Francis struggled to restore moral relations, and catechized many illegitimate children.

He returned to India in January 1548. The next 15 months were occupied with various journeys and administrative measures in India.

Burials and relics

He died at Shangchuan from a fever on 3 December 1552, while he was waiting for a boat that would agree to take him to mainland China. He was first buried on a beach at Shangchuan Island. His incorrupt body was taken from the island in February 1553 and was temporarily buried in St. Paul's church in Malacca on 22 March 1553The

His body was brought to Goa. It was kept the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa.  where it was placed in a glass container encased in a silver casket on 2 December 1637.

Within that brief span of ten years, with his simple and austere life, with his teaching and preaching, he had to his credit a stupendous achievement – Western Coast of India.

(Pic) Casket of Saint Francis Xavier in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa

The right forearm, which Xavier used to bless and baptize his converts, was detached by Pr. Gen. Claudio Acquaviva in 1614. It has been displayed since in a silver reliquary at the main Jesuit church in Rome.

Another of Xavier's arm bones moved to St. Joseph's and in 1978 to the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier on Coloane Island. More recently the relic was moved to St. Joseph's Seminary and the Sacred Art Museum.

Francis Xavier is a Catholic saint. He was beatified on 25 October 1619, and was canonized on 12 March 1622. His feast day is 3 December.

Pilgrimage Centres

Saint Francis Xavier's relics are kept in a silver casket, elevated inside the Bom Jesus Basilica and are exposed (brought at ground level) when the Archbishop of Goa e Damão decides. Generally it is every ten years. Bones of Saint Francis Xavier are also found in the Espirito Santo (Holy Spirit) Church, Margão and in (Church of St. Francis Xavier), Batpal, Canacona, Goa.

 

JURISDICTIONAL DISPUTES:    Padroado and Propaganda  1720-1794

The two Christian countries of Spain and Portugal were in dispute as to their area of operation in India. Pope Alexander VI got them into an agreements to resolve the issue.

 

DOUBLE JURISDICTION-- 1794-1886- 1928

The Bombay Catholics were not happy with the British decision of 1794. They made a counter representation to the British. The British, however, felt that the Carmelites too had substantial support. As a solution, they bifurcated the administration of the aforesaid four Bombay Churches.

 

The Gloria Church,Mazagaon, and the Salvation Church, Dadar, were claimed by the Archbishop of Goa, together with Chapel in Cavel.

 

While, Our Lady of Hope Church, Fort, and St. Michael’s Church, Mahim, went to the Carmelites, together with Chapel of St. Anne, Mazagaon, and the Sion Church. The disastrous result of this bifurcation – double jurisdiction – was the continuous interference of the British Authorities in the administration of Church activities.

 

Archbishop of Bombay

In 1st May 1928 all Churches and all people in Bombay and surrounding areas came under the single jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Bombay. The only condition was that the Archbishop should be alternately a Portuguese national and a British national. The two : Archbishops in this period were :

1) Portuguese Archbishop Joaquim R. Lima, S. J. 1928 – 1936

2) British Archbishop Thomas D. Roberts, S. J. 1937 – 1950

After years of discord. Archbishop Lima successfully brought about peace and unity among the clergy and the laity and welded together the erstwhile dioceses of Daman and Bombay. He encouraged the spread of the gospel among non-believers, He promoted Catholic life, opened new parishes and schools, churches and chapels. He encouraged indigenous clergy. Started the Diocesan Seminary at Parel in 1936, & the Retreat House.

 

Archbishop Roberts was nominated to the See of Bombay on 12th August 1937 He was interested in every aspect of Catholic life. He introduced the Catholic Medical Guild in 1938. He started the first Catholic Women’s College – the Sophia College in Bombay. The College was opened informally on 27th July 1940 and affiliated to the Bombay University on 9th February 1942. He opened the Jesuit Noviciate at Vinayalaya, Andheri (E), in April 1942 . in March 1941 and the Holy Name Church at Wodehouse Road was raised on the 24th December 1941 to the status of Pro-Cathedral. In 1943. He proposed the name of Fr. Valerian Gracias as Bishop Auxiliary of Bombay. and  was consecrated at St. Peter’s, Bandra, on 29th June 1946, as the first Indian Bishop of the Bombay Archdiocese.

 

The Portuguese and the British, the two colonial powers who came and stayed in Mumbai, gave the city its oldest churches.  Since the Catholic Portuguese preceded the Anglican British, the oldest churches were theirs.

 

The Franciscan Friary Establishment:

The actual building of St. Francis Friary, Goa took place at the earliest at the end of 1518. In any case the Friars must have realized already during the first decade, that they had come for good, that therefore they should seek permanent establishments and organize themselves in a more canonical fashion.

 

"The coming of Franciscans to Bombay"
The author writes : "Only after they had established themselves in Bassein and Salsette (The North Bombay Islands) did the Franciscans venture on Bombay-island."

The Catholic Church in India is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope and the Curia in Rome.There are over 19.9 million Catholics in India, which represents less than 4% of the total population and is the largest Christian church within India. There are 157 ecclesiastical units in India comprising 29 archdioceses and 128 dioceses. Of these, 127 are Latin Rite, 25 Syro-Malabar Rite and 5 Syro-Malankara Rite.

Saints of & from India.

St. Thomas the Apostle

St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

St. Gonsalo Garcia (1556-1597), First person with to be canonized with Indian origin.

St. John de Brito (1647-1693), The Apostle of Madurai

St. Alphonsa (1910-1946), First person of Indian origin to be canonized.

 

Beatified people

Blessed Joseph Vaz, Apostle of Ceylon (1651-1711)

Blessed Kuriakose Chavara (1805-1871)

Blessed Maria Theresa Chiramel (1876-1926)

Blessed Euphrasia Eluvathingal (1877-1952)

Blessed Thevarparampil Kunjachan (1891–1973)

Blessed Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

 

In the course of the mid 16th and the 17th centuries, the Franciscans were the first to establish several Churches and Chapels in Bombay:

 

Following are the Churches Administered by The Portuguese Franciscan Order, & the first Churches built in Bombay’s seven islands city.

St Michael’s Church- Mahim 1565

O. L of Glory (Gloria) Church – Mazagaon.1590

Salvation Church (Portuguese Church) – Dadar. 1610

The Parel Chapel (St Paul’s). (No Pictures)

O L Good Counsel – Sion (No Old pictures found)

O L of the Mount, Mazagaon or St Bernadine’s.

 

"The Expulsion of the Franciscan From Bombay"
The discord between the Portuguese (the Friars were Portuguese) and the English is highlighted through this example. An instance where the Friars seem to have voiced their protests and opinions rather loudly, occurred in 1676. A decision was taken by the English on the basis of such incidents that the Franciscans would remain expelled.

"The Return of the Franciscans to Bombay"
The author reports : "When Charles Boone, Commander General of the island and Castle of Bombay, the 13th of May 1720, signed the order expelling the Portuguese Franciscans, he could hardly have foreseen that Friars of his own nation would be the instruments in the hands of Divine Providence to re-establish the Order in Bombay. But thus it came about.
In 1925 the Franciscans of the ancient "Provincia Angliae" arrived in India. For three years they worked in Hyderabad, Deccan
.

 

 

MAROL PARISH

In 1534 the Franciscans, in general, took charge of the North-West region (Borivli-Dongri-Poinsur-Malad)and from 1549 the Jesuits took charge of the South-East from Thane-Powai-Condita-Kole-Kalyan on to Bandra.

 

A little later. The Jesuits who came to India in 1542, along with Francis Xavier worked precisely in  Marol from about 1549-50.

 

They established a Church there (Vihar Valley). As the place was too malarious, they rebuilt the Church in a more healthy locality at Powai and founded the parish of Trinidad in 1557. Then they moved to Condita, Marol, Mulgao, Gundavli, Chakala and other villages about. Then they moved to Bandra and Kurla in the south and to Kirol etc.

 

Judging from its remains, the original Church must have been an imposing building. The Church is a ruined condition. This was dependent on the Jesuit College of Holy Name at Bassein 1549.

 

The chief church of this area, which was at Thane and was built in 1582, was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. In order to avoid confusion, the name of the Condita Church was changed to St. John, the Evangelist.

Except for the short period of the Maratha take –over in 1737-1739 the Church at Condita continued as the place of Christian worship right till 1840.

The Church had to be abandoned at that time as there was a devastating epidemic in that area and its parishioners decided to shift to Marol., annually a pilgrimage was made to the Condita Church by the parishioners of Marol Church. The parishioners would go in procession, then celebrating a High Mass, the pilgrimage has been revived from 1988. On 29th May1988

 

Some Significant Dates

1498 – Vasco da Gama landed at Calicut-Southern Coast of India

1509 – Portuguese first visited the Bassein Coast

1510 – Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa from the Sultan of Bijapur on 25th November, 1510

1534 – The Islands of Bassein, Salsette, Bombay and Karanja ceded to the Portuguese by the Bahadur Shah of Cambay (Gujarat) on 23rd December

1534 – Archdiocese of Goa erected

1535 - Portuguese built their Bassein Fort

1535 – Portuguese took possession of Diu

1544 – St. Francis Xavier visited Bassein

1548 - St. Francis Xavier visited Bassein twice

1665 – Bombay Island passed from the Portuguese to the British

1720 – The British ordered the expulsion of the Portuguese Franciscans form Bombay Island in May 1720

1720 – The British invited the Italian Carmelite Bishop, Fra Mauritius, to take charge of the Catholic community in Bombay

1720 – The Carmelites took possession of the four Portuguese Franciscan Churches in Bombay

1) Esperanice 2) Salvacao 3) Gloria 4) St. Michael’s

1737-1739 – Marathas conquered Salsette, Bassein, Karanja (Uran) and Chaul (Revdanda) from the Portuguese

1774-1800 – British absorbed all the above areas

1794 – British introduced Double Jurisdiction in Bombay Island

1858 – Establishment of the Bombay- Poona Jesuit Vicariate

1886 – The new Diocese of Daman created

1886 – Bombay becomes an Archdiocese      1928 – a) Double Jurisdiction abolished b) Diocese of Daman ceased to exist

                                                                                   c) Unified Archdiocese of Bombay created

1950 – Portugal’s right of Padroado in Indian territory abrogated

1950 – Mons. Valerian Gracias appointed as first Indian Archbishop of Bombay

1952 – Archbishop Gracias appointed as India’s first Cardinal

1977 – Bishop Simon Pimenta appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Bombay

1987 – Archbishop Simon Pimenta succeeds Cardinal Gracias as Archbishop of Bombay

1988 – Archbishop Simon Pimenta created a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II

 

Dates Significant to Condita / Marol

1579 – The old Church at Condita built. Fr. Manuel Gomes, Jesuit. The Church was dedicated to St John the Baptist because on the feast of St John the Baptist. There were 500 conversions.

1588- Marol got it second mass convertion . . Because of the prominence of Marol, 13 other villages in the proximity of Marol followed, almost immediately, the example of Marol. Most of these villages exist today.Owing to the large number of conversions he effected in these parts, Fr. Gomes is known as the “Apostle of Salsette

1840 – The present Church when it was rebuilt – it was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, since the Thane Church was also dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

 

LIST OF VICARS AND ASSISTANTS

The Franciscans, the Augustinians, the Dominicans and the Jesuits were the pioneer Portuguese missionaries in the Salsette – Bassein – Thane region between the years 1534 and 1737. However, manly the Jesuits worked in the Conditim – Marol belt. The Portuguese missionaries had to leave the Salsette region after 1739, when it was captured by the Marathas. From 1739 onwards the native clergy- the seculars from Goa, Bandra, Dadar, Mahim, Chaul, Kalina, Conditim (Marol) and some other villages – were in charge of the Churches in Salsette-Bassein-

 

Franciscans 1534

Jesuits 1549

 

 

 

 

 

 

Borivli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dongri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poisar  1547

 

 

 

Marol 1579

>>>> 

Powai 1557

Kanjur 1965

Malad

Vihar Valley

POWAI 1557

Condita 1579

Mulgaon

Bandra

 

Vikhroli 1910

 

O L Amparo

Holy Trinity

St. J Baptist 1582

Gundavli

Kurla 1580

 

 

 

 

 

EPIDEMIC

Chakala

Kirol 1953

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thane 1582

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bandra 1616

 

 

 

 

 

OUR LADY OF EXPECTATIONS (NOW HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL, COLABA

 

he church was originally built in 1570 at the exact location where it seems certain that the church of O.L. of Expectation stood more or less in the center of the present Victoria Terminus stands . This is the church where the Franciscans administered up to 1720, the year they were expelled from Bombay.today.  The first altar of the church was built in 1570. There is a dispute about whether it stood on the same site as it does now or a little

 

farther off.  It remains one of the most popular basilicas.  It has been pulled down and rebuilt a number of times. One instance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

when it was pulled down was after the 1896 plague. The present building came up in

 

1904.But the chapel was demolished in 1760 to build walls around the fort and was relocated to Azad Maidan. But this chapel, too, was pulled down in the 1940s and then relocated to Bhuleshwar. The new chapel, however, was also destroyed.  Holy Name Cathedral in Colaba is looked upon as the successor of the old church

GLORIA CHURCH (Byculla Station); & O.L. of The Rosary Dockyard

Orignally called th e Nossa Senhora da Gloria (Our Lady of Glory) Church, it was built in 1590 in Mazgaon.  But disputes between the Pedroado and Propaganda, two factions  that ruled Catholic churches at the time, led to another church (Our Lady of the Rosary)  now Dockyard road being built near the original church.  The government planned to build a railway line, where the church stood, in 1913 and the building was pulled down. The government funded the  rebuilding of the church at Byculla.

 

 

 

ST MICHAEL'S CHURCH, MAHIM Year 1534.

Traveller's accounts say the church was built in the early  sixteenth century, The church, originally built in 1534, is rebuilt a number of times, the present structure dating to 1973, but documented reports say the church was in existence since 1565.  In 1854, when Bishop Hartmann lost control of the church, he raised funds and built  Our Lady of Victory Church near St Michael's.  Both churches are still in existence. The current structure of St. Michael's Church was rebuilt in 1973. St Michaels is a hotspot for devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Soccour every Wednesday, Not only Christians, but also adherents of other faiths congregate to pay their respects to the Our Blessed Virgin Mother.

ST ANDREW'S CHURCH,  BANDRA

It is one of the oldest churches in Bombay built by the Portuguese Jesuits. It was built in 1575. The 16th century wood altars carved and painted in popular Portuguese style. 16th century wood panels depicting the resurrection of the Christ and the assumption of Mary Immaculate and the 16th century pulpit are among the other interests in the church. Besides, one of the largest and oldest crosses in Mumbai is in

 its compound.

Our Lady of Salvation (Portuguese) Church. Dadar     The church was originally built in 1596 / 1610 but was rebuilt a couple of times since then. The structure, as we see it today, was designed by Charles Correa in 1973.

 

St Thomas Cathedral.(Fort)  1718.

The church opened its gates, for the first time, on Christmas day in 1718.  The same structure stands today. The construction began in the 1670's, a decade after the British acquired Mumbai.  But the construction was stalled when the city was attacked by the Siddis.  H E Cox's Story of St Thomas's Cathedral says: “The derelict building became a gathering place for badmash's and beggars.''  But construction began again at a later date and was completed by 1718.

Condita church (SEEPZ) name was changed from “St. John the Baptist”

to “St. John the Evangelist.

 

The origins of the parish of St. John the Evangelist can be traced back to two mass conversions at Marol.  Most of the Christian community in Bombay up to Bassien Rd – Vasai were of East Indian fishermen of origin. Some of the inhabitants of Marol were among the 500 people who were converted when the neighbouring church at Condita (now SEEPZ ) was opened for public worship on the feast of St. John the Baptist in the year 1579.

 

The second mass conversion took place on the eve of the feast of the Assumption in 1588 when the whole village of Marol became Catholic.  

Soon 13 other villages around Marol followed its example.  Marol and surrounding villages received the Catholic faith through the pioneering efforts of Jesuit Fr. Manuel Gomes, popularly known as “The Apostle of Salsette.” Who built the church.

 

The church at Condita escaped the ravage of the Maratha war, for it continued to have Vicars, now secular priests, appointed to it from 1739 onwards, who also looked after the remnant Christian community at Powai.  Due to the outbreak of a devastating epidemic, Fr. Jose Lourenco Paes, the Vicar of Condita at the time, having built a new church in the village of Marol in 1840, “ transferred the parish from Condita to Marol and the old church and parish house was abandoned”. Before the old church fell into disrepair, the statues, the baptismal font, the altars and a few pillars were transferred to the new church at Marol.

 

At the entrance of the present church of Marol stands a historic 4-foot statue of Our Lady with the child Jesus, known as the statue of OL of Amparo (Help).This statue was once venerated in the church of the same name that now lies submerged under the waters of the Vihar Lake.  This statue was brought to Marol between 1842-1853 when the Bombay Municipality acquired the Vihar Valley with the church in it from the Vicar of Marol for a compensation of Rs.1944.10 as. One of the Baptismal Registers of the church of OL of Amparo (1804-1832) is still preserved at Marol.

 

 

Till about the year 1973, Mass was celebrated annually at the ruined church of Condita. This practice was discontinued when the property comprising a picturesque lake and the ruined church was acquired by the Government.

 

Pictures of the ruined church at Condita now (SEEPZ)  known as “St. John the Baptist” to “St. John the Evangelist.” Built by Fr Manuel Gomes. In 1579.

After Powai, Marol was a stronghold of Christianity in this region of the seven island.  The Jesuit Report of 1669 tells us that the parish comprised 1380 Catholics in Marol, 302 in Condita, 246 in Gundowli and 219 in Chakala.

 

The original church of this parish was built in 1579 at Condita (SEEPZ) at a point north of the present village of Kondivita and northwest of the present church.  The major portion of this church is still standing. We do not know when the name of this Condita church was changed from “St. John the Baptist” to “St. John the Evangelist.    

St. John the Baptist Church is an abandoned and ruined church presently located within the SEEPZ Industrial Project, Mumbai. It was built by the Portuguese in 1579 and opened to public worship on the feast of John the Baptist that year. It also had an attached graveyard. The church was abandoned in 1840 after an epidemic hit the village. 

 

 

16TH CENTURY CHURCH OF ST BONAVENTURE at ERANGEL BEACH

 

The famous Church of St. Bonaventure, a 16th century Portuguese church built in 1540 is situated on the beach in Erangal. The annual Erangal Feast held on second Sunday of January, celebrating the Feast day of St. Bonaventure, attracts thousands of people of all faiths to this scenic spot. The Birthday Of St. Bonaventure is Celebrated on 15th of July every year.

 

 

The St. Michael's Church at Manickpur (Bassine)

( Now Bessien Rd ) This article will not be complete without the mention of the late 15th. century Church at Manickpur, also had a lot of derivatives Manickpuram, Manicpuri now popularly known as we know it as Bassien Rd,  Here The Jesuits lived in the Vasai Fort and had the parishes  of Papdy.

 

MOST HOLY TRINITY, POWAI AND  OUR LADY OF AMPARO (HELP), VIHAR Lake

Holy Trinity Powai – Year 1557. Was one of the strong hold of the Catholic church in the 16th century.

 

The Jesuits started their evangelization work in Thane in about 1549-50. Then founded a model Christian Settlement under the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity. They also erected in the valley, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. The valley was richly wooded and fertile. However, it was so malarious that the Settlement had to be transferred to a hillock in neighbouring Powai. during the Maratha invasion Portuguese wars (1737-1739) the church in Powai (Holy Trinity) was abandoned and the catholics of the villages within the parish migrated to Vikhroli, Bhandup and Kanjur & Marol . 

Subsequently two new chapels were built & were under the administration  of  Holy Trinity Church. Powai. St Xaviers Kanjur East & St. Joseph’s, Vikhroli That is why the feast of The Holy Trinity even till recent years was alternately celebrated by the parishioners of St. Francis Xavier Church & St Joseph’s Vikhroli, who were originally parishioners of Holy trinity Church.

 

In 1557 and new Church dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity was built at the same time on the hillock. The Church was still be seen. In 1846,a Chapel was built close built close by. It was renovated and extended in 1968-71.however the church that stands today as Holy Trinity Church is quite a modern church, behind it even today you find remnants of the earlier churches built there by the Franciscans.

 

In The Christian began living again in Vihar in the seventeenth century.In 1638 the Vihar Church reappears then with the name of Nossa Senhora de Amparo (Our Lady of Help). This was within the Vihar Lake area itself. In 1714 The Seculars took over the Church

 

The 4-feet Statue of Our Lady of Amparo, which is now on the small altar at the left entrance of the Church, belonged to this Vihar Church. The Statue was brought to the Marol Church by the Vihar parishioners when they migrated to Marol before the Vihar Lake was built. ( Which Moral Church ??) From 1840 onwards, Some of the Marolites link their ancestry to the parishioners of Vihar. The feast of Our Ladyof Amparo is celebrated in Marol by the Confraternity of Nossa Senhora de Amparo on the 26th December every year by a Mass, followed by a get-together.

 

èHoly Cross Kurla: Year 1580.

I don’t know when this was,  was it after 1910, or was it before 1910 that the Fathers of Holy Cross Church, Kurla were on a regular basis coming to Vikhroli to say Mass & administer the Sacraments, They used to commute on a  bicycle along with the altar boys.We have always heard that St Francis Xavier came to Kurla, is this true ? There is documentary evidence that St Francis Xavier wrote to the Holy Father to establish 2 churches in Bombay because the Catholic Population in both this places was high, One is Holy Cross Kurla the other is Our Lady of Good Counsel, Sion. or St Andrews Bandra.

( Most probably OLGC Sion ) Both were  built in the late 16th century. Did he come to Bombay, there is no documentary evidence of the same.

 

 

 

èSt. Joseph’s Church.VIKHROLI. Year 1910.

 

( It seems that the Church at Kanjurmarg was established before St. Joseph’s Church had even had an official Parish Priest, this perhaps could be because the Church at Kanjurmarg was in a Village whereas The Church at Vikhroli even though it is close to Vikhroli railway station it was surrounded by only paddy fields, the closest inhabited area was Vikhroli Village. & as known Vikhroli was called a Jungle.

 

Before Rev Fr Manuel D’souza was appointed as Parish priest here in 1955 the regular priest who came from St.Xaviers. Kanjurmarg to celebrate the Eucharist & perform all sacraments was Rev. Fr James Noronha.

 

Rev. Fr. Manuel Simon Antonio de Carmo D’souza, was appointed Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s church, Vikhroli n 1955. Till 1966 Rev Fr Manuel was not only the Parish Priest but also the administrator of the school. When he arrived here, Vikhroli was called by a common expression “ a jungle”.

 

The first Church that was built in Vikhroli was in 1910. (no one knows who built it) The first official Sacristan of St.Joseph’s Church was Mr.Kaitan Barnetto who stayed behind the church. The Choir master also stayed behind the church Mr. D’lima & Mr. Francis Fernandes the official Choir Masters. If you did not have a sharp ear for music it was difficult to distinguish his voice from the sound of the violin.

 

Sebastian Pereira who worked in the school office was one of the first students of St. Joseph’s School, who studied in our school & passed out from Holy Cross. Kurla. There may have been many others.

 

The organized graveyard & niches were constructed by Rev Fr Herculan Silveira. & The Cross in the graveyard was installed in 1911, by the Subscribers & players (band) of the Music society. (Kurla) this inscription on the cross is not clear.

 

Long ago in the year 1956, Rev. Fr. Manuel started the school with as many as seventeen students from the nearby Vikhroli village, & as I am informed the teachers used to go with a bell & ring it in the Vikhroli Village to get the students to come to school.

One of the first teachers who taught in our school was Ms Jerry Rodricks. The church used to be as the premises for the school, & when it was too hot,  the tree behind the sacristies used to give the teachers & the children shade, and thereafter the number started growing each year. Today the school has more than 3500 students.

 

Fr Manuel had big palms & students were scared of the whacking he could give, his favorite expression was ‘ I will kat (cut) your tongue & put in the maad (mud), & yes if you go through the Church registers & records you will realize that he wrote in the most smooth excellent calligraphy.

 

All our old church records before & between1910-1955  are either found at Holy Cross Kurla, St Francis Xavier Church. Kanjurmarg or  Holy Trinity Church Powai.

Rev. Fr. George Lobo was appointed the first qualified Principal of St. Joseph’s School in the year 1966. The first S.S.C Examination had twenty-one students who passed out successfully with percentage being 91.30%.  He was responsible to get our school recognition in the Archdiocese  & The Bombay Municipality, to get the required government grants. Since then our school has been showing a steady progress under the able guidance of the following Principals:

 

Principals of St. Joseph’s School from 1955.

         Rev  Fr. Manuel D’souza  (Administrator)                1955-66

 1        Rev  Fr  George Lobo     (principal)                              1966-71

2        Rev  Fr. Joseph Coutinho                                          1971-73

3        Rev. Fr. Anthony D’souza                                         1973-76

4.       Rev .Fr. Bede D’costa                                               1976-79

5        Rev. Fr. Vernon D’souza                                           1979-86

6        Rev. Fr. Felix Noronha                                              1986-87

7        Rev. Fr. Leslie Almeida                                            1987-93

8        Rev. Fr. Diago Pereira                                              1993-99

9        Mr. Stephen Pereira                                                1999-01

10      Rev. Fr. Michael Pinto                                              2001-07

11.     Rev  Fr  Simon Lopez.       2007-                                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture 1. The stage of the 007 school.

Picture 2. This building was built by Rev Fr A J D’souza & Rev Fr Bede D’costa  1974-1978.

Picture 3 This building was built by Rev Fr Vernon D’souza in 1980

Picture 4. This picture is the back of the building of picture 5.

Picture 5.This wing of the school building was built in 1958 along with the church by Rev Fr Manuel D’souza. It took almost 12 years to complete.

Picture 1. The stage of the 007 school.

Picture 2. This building was built by Rev Fr A J D’souza & Rev Fr Bede D’costa  1974-1978.

Picture 3 This building was built by Rev Fr Vernon D’souza in 1980

Picture 4. This picture is the back of the building of picture 5.

Picture 5.This wing of the school building was built in 1958 along with the church by Rev Fr Manuel D’souza. It took almost 12 years to complete.

 

 

This report will not be complete without the discipline inculcated in the school by Rev (Late) Fr Joseph Coutinho.  He usually used to get out of breath climbing the school steps, that signal was good enough to make the children & the teachers to have dead silence in class. The other was Mr Pinto (The PT Sir), he evoked the remaining discipline, the first official PT sir of the school. Some of my best teachers I still am grateful for were : Ms Joseph, Ms Lovette Dorando, Ms Reena/Soucorrine Fernande , Ms Helen (Kurla) Ms Annie D’Crasto, (Late)

 Ms Dey, Mr Pinto, Ms Shobha Shinde/Dhonde, (Late) Mr P M Chacho, Mr T J Joseph. (Mr. Stephen Pereira, Mr. P. Y. Prabhune,

Mr. Khan, Mr. Pande (who died wih his boots on), Mrs. Helen Lal, Mrs. Chaturvedi, Mrs. Kadri, Mrs. Angela Ubale, Mrs. Dorothy Attawar, Mr. Mastioli & Mrs. Ila Dey (Drawing Teachers), Mrs. Linda Fernandes (Craft), Mrs. Plantina Fernandes, Mrs. Angeline

Fernandes were few other teachers who played a significant role in the progress of the school. –by Mr Nelson D’silva Ex member of te staff St Joseph’s School.).

( that does not mean the others were not good, I experienced these teachers, this is only my point of view).

 

PRINCIPALS:

Rev. Fr George Lobo: He was my first principal, I still remember he used to teach us Geography, He never gave notes as the rest of the School staff, Our first unit test the whole class failed in Geography,we did not know what & how to study without notes, once bitten twice shy,  next test the whole class passed. We studied everything. Every time he punished & wacked a child in school he got sick, Im sure it hurt him more then the kids.

Rev (late) Fr Joseph Coutinho was the first & one of the finest Principals the school ever had. He was a principal who made sure that St. Joseph was not only a English medium school by name, but all students spoke only in English in schooll he did not spare the students nor the teachers. He was an excellent English teacher himself. I can vouch for this because, he taught me.

 

Rev.Fr Michael pinto – ( Of all the priests who came and served in our parish, Fr. Michael Pinto stands out as the priest who had the biggest influence on our school recently. He transformed the school both internally and externally.. he transformed it to a place where children would love to come rather then dread.. He encouraged parents to play a participative role in the school activities and teachers were willing to go much beyond their limitations..He started a trend of achieving 100% success at the SSC results and the same continues..He was successful in putting our school amongst the best 50 schools in Mumbai…may God bless him always,- by Peter Pires)

He was also responsible for opening the New Main Gate of the School right in next to the bank.

 

Rev Fr. Diago Pereira: I can remember Fr Diago Perriera who started the trend of 100% results in SSC and ensuring that as many students get a chance to appear for SSC without detaining them in the earlier class.—Ronald Noronha. He was 90% good Priest & 10 % administrator, many of our people took advantage of him, even some of the staff.

 

Rev Fr leslie Almeida was an excellent administrator, he made sure that the students mentained the discipline needed. He also kept the teachers on their toes.

 

Mr.Steven Pereira. Who joined the school as a Marathi teacher, subsequently thaught many other subjects, coming from Vasai on time till he retired as the school principal was remarkable.

 

Rev. Fr.Vernon D’souza. Was an Excellent priest, If my memory serves me right he was also the diocesan Inspector for Catholic Schools, Very good priest & a good friend today he is in charge of the Pastoral Centre for retired priests.

 

The Parish Priests of St Joseph’s Church – Vikhroli were:

 

1.   Rev Fr Manuel D’souza 1/9/55 – 31/5/74   Built the Church 1955, & the 

front wing of the School & the Parochial House.

 

2.    Rev Fr Cosme Rego 1/6/74 – 31/5/80

     3  Rev Fr Anthony (Tony) Mendonca 1/6/80 – 31/5/82 Gave an Impetus to   

         most Church Organizations’ specially the Legion of Mary, placed the order

         for the wooden Cross (also had painted the scenery of the crucifixion   

         before the wooden cross was installed). His generosity for all church    

         activities helped the parish to become a vibrant one.

             (During the tenure of the  Fr Tony Mendonca and Fr Michael's Goveas, the  

         parish fathers visited the parish regularly & religiously. Spent quality time to

         visit the Parishioners. The team under these 2 Parish priests was a     

         wonderful example of bonding and for the affection they showed to the

         Parishioners, which  is still talked off now. Not many people are aware of

         the generosity of all the fathers especially Fr Michael who went out of the   

         way to help the poor Parishioners.- by Ronald Noronha)

4     Rev Fr Michael Goveas 1/6/82 – 31/5/88 another pro-Legion priest. Was responsible for buying the Wooden Cross on the alter.

(Fr. Michael Goveas is now retired and stays at Andheri East but celebrates Mass at Sacred Heart church, Andheri East. He was hot tempered but used to cool down immediately and had no ego in apologizing to the concerned people at the earliest. -- By Fredrick Correa)

5     Rev Fr Herculan Silveira 1/6/88 – 31/5/94 built the Niches & the graves.

(He once passed a remark that the Legion of Mary is the only organization in the church which does quietly  active work but does not show it to others. He was at the confessional before and after every Mass on weekdays and was always available for confessions at other times as well. .—by Fredrick Correa)—by Fredrick Correa)

6     Rev Fr Theodore (Theo) Fernandes 1/6/94- 31/5 2000 Legion of Mary grew under his tenure : He was the supporter of The first Walking Pilgrimage to the Mount from St. Joseph’s Church. The Good Friday Way of the Cross in different sections in our Parish. Marian Celebration was at its peak. The Parish wise Pilgrim Statue circulation. Grand Church Decorations; Devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Confraternity of the most Holy Rosary. Church Census. Rosary centers in different areas of the parish. Most important of all he built The Blessed Sacrament Chapel even when he did not have support of some of the priests. He was also responsible for the Church premises given to the Legion of Mary to run the stall.

7     Rev Fr Gerry Fernandes 1/6/2000 – 31/5/2003 increased the size of the altar. A conscious person about environment who banned all burning of fire crackers in the church premisesRev Fr Philip Falcao 1/6/2003 – 31/5/2006

8     Rev Msgr. Alex Rebello 1/6/2006- 31/5/2009 concreted the Church premises. He made sure the Church was always kept clean, he personally supervised it. He was in charge of most of the groups in the parish.

9     Rev Fr Anthony D’souza 1/6/2009

 

Parishioners that cannot be forgotten are Mr.Valentine Saldanha (known as Mr. Saldanha, Vikh.E.) very very active in our church to raise the funds for the Church & the school, Mrs Leticia Pinto  known popularly as only Mrs Pinto (Tagore Nagar) who was the focal point of the Catholic organization in Haryali Village & Tagore Nagar;

Mr. Sylvestor D’silva the owner of Polycarp Printers (Vikh.Village), Mr Peter Sequira (Godrej Hill Side) Mr Tony D’souza (Vikh.W) Mr Francis Anthony Fernandes popularly known as Padri Anthon from Haryali Village who started a lot of devotions & active in the church. Sis Lucy & Sis Rosie who ensured that the alter linen was kept clean & the alter was well decorated with fresh flowers every Sunday for many years. This History cannot be complete with a great thanks to their contribution  to the Church. We now have Mr. Joseph Menezes (Suryanagar), Mr.Steven Pereira (Vikhroli Village), Lucy Menezes (Lok gaurav. Vik. (W) , Mr. Francis D’Cunha, Wilfred Fernandes, Christopher Veigas,  Peter Noronha has been a one man choir cannot omit Paschal and his daughter Melicia who are training the chidrens’s choir. they have served the Church for many years. (Yes this list today would go endless )

 

 

 

 

 

The picture (1) of the 1910 old St. Joseph’s Church was given by the family of  Ms B.Vincent Ramedios. Vikhroli (W)

Pic 2. St. Joseph’s Church. 1979.

Pic 3. St. Joseph’s Church. VIKHROLI 1985.

Pic 4. SJCV.2012.

Pic 5.Plaque in remembrance of Fr Herculean Silvera.

Pic 6. Cross donated by Holy Cross Church 1911. ( etching eroded )

Pic 7.The graveyard thanks to Fr Herculean.

Pic 8. The Church grotto constructed by Fr Bonney & the youth, the marble statues ordered to be installed are still missing even after 20 years.

 

If you see Our New church without the external façade, you will realize the design of the new church is the exact copy of the old Church, when it was built it even had the 2 belfry’s, this frontal design was changed after The Eucharistic Congress in Bombay, The new wings are a copy of the alter of the Eucharistic Congress, 1964.

 

About some of our Priests & Religious:

 

Rev Fr Kenneth Mendes was known for his wit. (The present cross came up due to the insistence of Fr Kenny who at the meeting of the Fathers said Give the best to the people and they would give you the best in return. His words were indeed Prophetic.- Ronald Noronha).

(Fr. Kenny's infectious sense of humor his lightening fast services and his good nature is still talked about. He did not differentiate between the rich and the poor and I remember that once at the funeral of a child from the railway track slums he ensured they got all the respect as was due to a parishioner of the church- by Ronald Noronha) (His common terminology to call a youngster was “Champion”. Also he started with the making of the host in house and also the same was being shared with the other parishes.- by Sunil D’souza)

 

Rev Fr Alex Carvalho, great artist, Started putting up the messages on the Church hoarding. .

(Fr Alex's lifestyle and preaching always endeared him to the parishioners especially the poor. The massive cribs installed by the LOM with his assistance were always socially relevant and made it to the papers next day.- Ronald Noronha)

 

Fr Alex & his team & their work at Bhiwandi during the riots May 1984,the number of weeks spent there by Fr Alex & his team of youth. His messages through slideshows, Fr Alex was ahead of his times. The messages on the Church Hoarding were also started by him, after him it was taken up by the Legion of Mary.

Fr. Alex created great sense of awareness among the people about the merciless killings of unborn babies through abortions. He also filmed the slum near the Railway station and sent it to the relevant authorities, so that they would get alternative accommodation in future. (Mr.Fredrick Correa). He also conducted a well attended Bible Class for many years. He was excellent in drawing caricature figures. & was known for his extreme patience.

 

Fr Dennis' D’souza’s ear for music and his bonding with the youth and the children was much talked about. The Legion of Mary bloomed under him, he started the Legion stall. Can you believe it that he too used to sit at the Sunday Legion Stall.

Fr. Vernon D’souza’s displinarian attitude helped the school grow in status .It was Fr Michael Goveas, Fr Kenneth Mendes and Fr Vernon who were instrumental in conducting free classes in Maths and Science for the 9 and 10th std which helped many poor children come out in flying colours and most of them are well placed now.- Ronald Noronha)

 

The team under Fr Tony Mendonca (PP 1980-82), were Fr Alex Carvalho, Fr Kenneth Mendes, & Fr Dennis Dsouza & Under Fr Michael Goveas (PP 82-88), Fr Kenneth Mendis, Fr Vernon D’souza & Fr Alex Carvelho.Fr Andrew, Fr Leslie Almeida. These 8 years of two excellent sets of Priests changed the whole parish to a blooming growing parish. The Parish was at its zenith.

 

Sis Norma & Sis. Violet of poor sisters of Our Lady PSOL (1982-88) who was for many years at Vikhroli, changed a lot of lives of the students they interacted with. They were very actively involved in all parish activities & yes closely attached to The Legion of Mary activities.

Rev Fr Felix Rebello. Gave an impetus to the Small Christian Community in Vikhroli. It was he who started the points system, where points were allotted for attending SCC meetings, activities, competitions etc.

 

There was so much Warmth & Closeness between the Parish Team itself & between the Parish Fathers & the Parishioners. Yes the parishioners & the members of the organizations could walk into the parish office, meet any priest  at any time. ( there were no barricades bells & doors to keep parishioners away, There were no timings. Some of us were always found in the parish house. I still remember my father asking me, if the priests did not have a place for me to stay. He used to say ‘Stay there only’. Fr Kenneths room was never locked, we were free to go to his room & have a wash, yes many times we could not even find a soap in his bathroom, so we bought one for him. These priests used to go for movies & dinners together. If that was not enough Fr. Michael Goveas. took all of us too with them  for Movies specially the LOM. The unity of the parishioners & the priest was unique, It never more exists, You don’t feel wanted, the Priest some how tells you, keep away, he is not interested in you or your problems (my point of view).

 

Priests & Religious  from Vikhroli :

Rev Fr Tony Mendonca was the first PP to give his full support to the LOM followed by Fr Kenneth Mendis, Fr Alex Carvelho, Fr Dennis D’souza this perhaps was the reason for most of the following enrolments . ….. (LOM= Legion of Mary) 

Fr. Vincent Thomas (Ex LOM); Fr Bastin Thomas (Ex LOM associate),

Fr Rogers Jones/Pinto (Ex LOM), Fr Tony Santarita, Fr Wilfred Vaz (Ex LOM), Sr  Luizinha Mascarenhas (Ex LOM), Sr Evelyn Menezes (Ex LOM),

Sr Olive D’souza, (Ex LOM), Fr Sebastin Gomes (Vikhroli Village),

Sr Shobha Serrao (Ex LOM). Sis Lourdes Martins, Sis Krupa (Leena) Fernandes.

Sr Bertha.(Near d Church) Sis Estey Colaco( Vik Village) Jannet Pinto (Ex LOM associate) Bro. Fredcrick Correa has joined the diaconate. (active member of the LOM)

 

LOM=Legion of Mary: Fr Dennis D’souza was pro Legion attend, one of the priests that was totally involved with its activities, what more he used to attend allLegion meetings in full. At one time a few years back was not only the strongest organization in the parish, it was the strongest group in Bombay.  I will not be surprised it might have been the strongest group not only in our Diocese / Legion Sanatus, but all over India. We had 3 senior Groups & 5 junior groups of a total strength of more than 125 Legionaries. The works undertaken were non-Christian contacts, Hospital Visits, Promoting Devotion to the Sacred Heart Of Jesus, Promoting The Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. Working on the Legion Stall, Marian Celebration, celebrating Mother Mary’s Birthday with a lot of activities, Organizing Open air area wise Way of the Cross, Blood Donation Drives, Walking Pilgrimage to the mount, Circulation of the Pilgrim Statue (there were 7 statues circulating at one time, till the SCC said they would do it.

 

The Legion of Mary Stall. Vikhroli.

 

 

Another feature of St. Joseph’s Church. Vikhroli was the Legion Stall that was the best well maintained & stocked stall in the central suburbs, People from Kalyan to Kurla used to patronize this stall. It stocked a variety of Bibles, Alter frames, prayer books, Catholic sacramentals. It was situated at the foot of the stained glass Cross of the school.

 

 

In the pictures is L > R Bro. Adrian Anthuraj,

Bro. Nelson Fernandes, Bro Moti Fernandes, & Bro Lawrence Rodrigues.

 

SCC : Small Christian communities

(21st February 2010, was a Red Letter day in the history of St. Joseph’s church, Vikhroli, for the first time since its inception the Small Christian Communities of the parish had a ‘RALLY’ in the school Quadrangle. All the 14 communities put up cultural items on the theme ‘SCC –A witness’ after a Parade of all the Animators of the communities. More than 900 parishioners were in attendance. The Rally was conceived, planned and carried out by the ‘Steering Committee’ ably led Mr. Mike Dias the chairperson.
12th December 2010 saw all the members and office-bearers of all the church cells and associations come together under one roof to celebrate and enhance the unity and collaboration in the Association day.
19th March 2011, Our church completed 100 years of existence. A thanksgiving Eucharist was celebrated in the School quadrangle and St. Joseph was taken to the church in a procession in a Palki. More than 1250 people were present for this Eucharistic Celebration which were led by the Bishop from Pune.—by Peter Pires)

BCS= Bombay Catholic Sabha: In recent times The BCS in Vikhroli has been very very active. They took up issued of The deaths at the Level crossing & forced The Railway authorities to close the Level Crossing & Build an additional bridge so that the people could commute with ease, however they realized that the bridge created other problems, it becomes gruesome for most people to cross over, They forced the Railways to add an escalator at Vikhroli. The Escalator is yet to be installed. At the last annual awards function of The BCS-Mumbai in 2011. The BCS got more than half a dozen awards for various activities.

 

The other groups active in the parish are:

 

Couples for Christ.

Lectors

Bible Cell. (Members of the Word Ministry).

Bible Class Group

Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

The Sodality (Konkanni)

Liturgy Team

Family cell

Sunday School Pastoral Meet

P Y A T

Pre Baptismal teaching group

Women’s Cell

Civic & Political Cell

Health Cell

Parish Council of Associations

Catholic Charismatic Renewal

Marriage Encounter

Hope & Life Movement

R C I A

Parish Youth Council

Alter Servers Sodality

Eucharistic Ministers

Tamil Catholic Association

Woman’s Alter Society

Ushers

Choir: English; Children’s; Konkani; Marathi.

 

The Archdiocese of Bombay :

 

The Archdiocese of Bombay comprises of 11 deaneries with 122 parishes. Two Hundred and eighty two (282) diocesan priests, three hundred and seventeen (317) religious priests, ninety (91) religious brothers and one thousand five hundred and eighty seven (1587) religious sisters serve the Catholic population of five hundred and twenty five thousand and seventeen (525,017) persons.

The Archdiocese of Bombay serves the lay faithful through their 6 degree Colleges, 11 junior colleges,  132 high schools,  2 middle schools,  18 primary schools, 10 national open schools and 8 schools non formal education centers.

 

St Pius the Xth Seminary. Archdiocese of Bombay – Goregaon-Mumbai.

Motto  “We are ambassadors of Christ”

 

 

The Diocesan Seminary : The Seminary in Bombay had its humble beginnings in 1770 as a one – room day-school in the Bishop’s House attached to the Fort Chapel in a rented house in Medows Street. In 1777 – 78.  closed & It reopened in1791- 1825 and stayed at the Bishop’s residence in Medows Street. From 1826 to 1836, the Seminarians were boarding in one Fr. Lourenco’s house, but going to the Bishop’s House for their classes. From 1836 to 1841, the Seminary was lodged in an independent building at the back of the Bishop’s residence in Fort. It was transferred to Salvacao Church in 1841 and moved

to ‘ Parel in 1851. In 1852, it was transferred to Surat. then to St. Peter’s Bandra, in 1855. In 1863, part went to Cavel and part remained at Bandra.then moved to St. Mary’s at Mazagaon only to be transferred to St.Xavier’s at Dhobi Talao in 1869. From there they went to the famous Kandy

Seminary in Sri Lanka or to Mangalore.

Archbishop Lima opened the Seminary at Parel on 13th June 1936, The Seminary began to grow and in June 1953 some of the students were at

Bandra and some others at Parel. Finally, Cardinal Gracias secured the present site at Goregaon

(E). On the 5th October 1960, A personal achievement of Cardinal Gracias.

 

As far back as 1770, a first attempt to train local clergy in Bombay was made by its Apostolic Vicar. From that time until 1930, teething troubles, interruptions, changes of location, administration and Staff marred subsequent attempts. Finally, Archbishop Joaquim Lima decreed  the establishment of a Seminary for Bombay in Parel under the patronage of St Anthony of Lisbon and St Francis Xavier and entrusted it to the Jesuits. He inaugurated it on 13th June, 1936. This milestone marks the inception of a stable and flourishing Diocesan Seminary. Within two decades, the number of seminarians swelled so rapidly that the existing facilities became woefully inadequate. In 1953, the ‘Pilgrim House’ at Mount Mary’s Bandra was converted into a ‘Theological College’ for the Seminary, an interim measure.

In July 1960, renamed as ‘St Pius the Tenth College’, the Seminary’s large new campus in Goregaon East became operational. The official inauguration was held on 5th October 1960, in the presence of high ecclesiastical and civil dignitaries and a large multitude of clergy, religious and laity. The Seminary and the Archdiocese owe a debt of eternal gratitude to Valerian Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay from 1950-1978 for bringing to well planned and executed fruition .

Bishop Agnelo Gracias has been recalled to be the Rector of the seminary. He is handling both his pastoral ministry as a bishop and also does his job as a Rector in the seminary. Bishop Emeritus Percy Fernandez is residing in the seminary. Bishop Emeritus Bosco Penha is still active and resides at Salvation church building, Dadar.  Cardinal Oswald Gracias is at Wodehouse, Colaba who takes  active interest in the happenings of the seminary. The seminary caters to the nuns from various congregations who come to study theology. There are also a few lay people who study philosophy and theology. Besides there are 7 candidates for the permanent diaconates The seminary also conducts a number of short courses on week ends and on Sundays besides long courses for one & two years.

 

Rev. Fr Leslie J Ratus initiated the first 2 year extensive Bible study program at the Seminary called “The Word Ministry” in 1990, This course today is successfully carried out by Fr Roland Fialho, Fr Jude Ferreira, & Fr John & a host of Professors, Theologians at the Mumbai Seminary.

‘The Ministry of The Word’ as on today has 474 candidates who have completed this 2 year courses every Sunday for 100 weeks in a row, with three live in programmers, They are from 74 parishes , they are active. & another 80-90 doing their training right now & about 35 are doing their internship, ie compiling their Dossiers & give their 6 initial talks allocated to them. I had an opportunity to complete this course. Every Word Minister is expected to spend monthly time in his parish to spread the word.

 

The Small Christian Communities:

This is the Brain Child of Bishop Bosco Penha He is the Director of Small Christian Communities (SSC) in the Archdiocese. The work began in a systematic manner in June 1984; and over the last 25 years it has grown in strength and stature. As a result almost every parish in the archdiocese is now structured into SCCs. There are approximately 1800 communities and 12,000 animators.

 

The Role of the Church in establishing Schools.

The British acquired Bombay in 1665 and Salsette (Marol – Bessine) in 1774. Hence, the language of gradually became English. Schools teaching in the English medium began to be established in Bombay Island by lay effort – the first was the John Baretto Charity School at Cavel in about 1778. This School was originally founded to teach “Latin, Portuguese and English however in 1888 English alone continued. The Antonio de Souza School at Gloria church (1797). St. Theresa’s School, Girgaum (1844), St. Xavier’s, Dhobi Talao,(1869)  & St. Xavier’s Collage (1869). Antonio D’Silva School, Dadar, (1875). The Nuns of Jesus and Mary started a convent in Fort in 1855 (transferred to Wodehouse Road in 1904), However, there were no English medium teaching schools in Salsette and Bassein,. The Association of the East Indian community established  in 1887 after which immediately English medium Schools at Papdi, Amboli, Orlem, Malwani,Uttan and Thane.

 

Valarian Cardinal Gracious:

 

A towering personality, physically and intellectually, great organizer, eloquent speaker, one who could mingle easily and equally with kings and commons Born on 23 October 1900, Karachi, Died on 11 September 1978, Bombay, India) He served as Indias first Indian Archbishop of Bombay from 1/12/1950 until his death, On 16 May 1946, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, promoted him to Archbishop of Bombay on 4 December 1950,and was elevated to the cardinalate in 12th. Jan. 1953. Cardinal Gracias died from cancer in Bombay, at age 77. He was buried in Holy Name Cathedral.

He was awarded the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award on January 26, 1966.

 

ARCHBISHOP SIMON PIMENTA   1978-  (Cardinal from 28th June 1988- 31st May 1988) Bombay’s second Cardinal.During this period, the following were ordained as Auxiliary Bishops of Bombay:

Bishop Ferdinand Fonseca - 29th June, 1980

Bishop Bosco Penha -8th August, 1987

Bishop Longinus Pereira retired on 3rd December 1986 after over thirty-one years as Auxiliary

Bishop of Bombay. He continued as the Rector of Mount Mary’s Basilica, Bandra, but retired.

 

The 38th International Congress was held in Bombay from 28th November to 6th December 1964at the Oval Maidan (later renamed as Pope Paul VI Maidan  Xavier Chapel in Middle Colaba where the blessed Sacrament is kept exposed.

The following were ordained as Auxiliary Bishops of Bombay during the Cardinal’s ministry :

1. Bishop Longinus Pereiara 1955-1986

2. Bishop William Gomes 1961-1967 (since serving in other dioceses)

3. Bishop Winnibald Menezes 1968-1977 (retired)

4. Bishop Simon Pimenta 1971-1977

 

Cardinals of Bombay

Valerian Gracias † (4 Dec 1950 Appointed - 11 Sep 1978 Died)

Simon Ignatius Pimenta (11 Sep 1978 Succeeded - 8 Nov 1996 Retired)

Ivan Dias (8 Nov 1996 Appointed - 20 May 2006 Appointed, Prefect of the  

     Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples)

Oswald Gracias (14 Oct 2006 Appointed - )

The Calendar dates when the Churches in Bombay were built:

(Please many of the dates mentioned will not even match in the said article because the sources are different & the same Church was rebuilt many a times, Im certainly not an authority on these dates, Ive compiled most of the data – sorry for the discrepancies’)

 

1547 : Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, also called Mt.Poinsur Church, Mandeshwar Church Borivli. After Heritage site the caves  & A part of the Church  (revived in 1912)

1557 : Most Holy Trinity, Powai ( The 2nd oldest Christian community in Mumbai)  Revived in 1912.

1560-1945 :St.Thomas, Goregaon East
1575-1578 : Our Lady of Nazareth, Bhayandar West
1570 -  Our Lady of Expectation. This Church stood exactly where today we have The Victoria Terminus (VT)

1579 : St.John the Baptist/Evangelist, Condita (Marol)
1582 : St.John the Baptist, Thane
1585 : St.Michael, Mahim; St.Anthony of Lisbon, Mankhurd;        Our Lady of the Purification, Uran
1585-1589 : St.Blaise, Amboli

1580 built during the Portuguese era by the Jesuits in 1588  : 1848, Now recently rebuilt, Holy Cross, Kurla

1591 : Our Lady of Remedy, Poinsur
1595 : Our Lady of Glory, Mazagaon/Byculla
1595-1602 : Holy Magi, Gorai
1595-1602/1975 : St.Jerome, Kashimira
1595-1610 : Our Lady of Salvation, (Portuguese Church)
Nossa Senhora de Salvação   Dadar West

1606-1609 : Our Lady of Egypt, Kalina

1613 : Our Lady of Bethlehem, Dongri

1616 : St.Andrew, Bandra

1630 : St.Sebastian, Marouli

1630-1642/1835 : St.Anthony, Malwani

1634-1642 : Our Lady of Health, Versova;       Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Manori;    

                   Our Lady of the Sea, Uttan

1713 :          Our Lady of Mt.Carmel, Korlai

1794 : Our Lady of Health, Cavel;         Our Lady of the Rosary, Mazagaon

1850 : St.Francis Xavier, Vile Parle

1853 : St.Peter, Bandra; St.Joseph, Juhu; St.Joseph, Colaba

1855 : Our Lady of Victories, Mahim

1861 : Our Lady of the Assumption, Kandivli

1872 : St.Francis Xavier, Dabul

1887 : St.Anne, Mazagaon

1894 : Our Lady of Mt.Carmel, Bandra

1904 : Holy Cross, Lower Parel; Our Lady of Health, Sahar

1905 : Holy Name, Fort (after Our Lady of Mt.Carmel, the parish church in the Fort was closed down); ………….Our Lady of the Sea, Madh

1910 : St.Joseph, Vikhroli ( The new Church was built in 1955 )

1913 : St.Ignatius, Jacob Circle

1916 : Our Lady of Lourdes, Orlem, Malad West

1928 : Sacred Heart, Santa Cruz

1932 : Our Lady of Lourdes, Kalyan

1936 : Our Lady of Fatima, Karjat

1941 : Our Lady of Dolours, Sonapur;    Our Lady of Dolours, Wadala;  St.Joseph, Umerkhadi; St.Teresa, Girgaum; ………..St.Paul, Dadar East

1943 : Holy Family, Chakala; St.Anne, Bandra;     St.Vincent de Paul, Khar

1945 : St.Anthony, Vakola

1946 : St.Theresa, Bandra

1948 : St.Stephen, Cumballa Hill

1949 : St.John the Evangelist, Fort

1950 : Our Lady of Good Counsel, Sion

1951 : Our Lady of Fatima, Ambernath; Our Lady of Lourdes, Uttan-Pali

1953 : Our Lady of Fatima, Kirol

1954 : Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Chembur

1955 : St.Ignatius, Mandvi

1956 : St.Francis Xavier, Kanjur

1959 : Holy Cross, Juhu-Tara; Our Lady of Fatima, Sewri

1960 : St.Joseph the Worker, Bandra East

1961 : Sacred Heart, Worli

1967 : Christ the King, Oshiwara, Jogeshwari West

1968 : St.Joseph, Kurla

1969 : Our Lady of Lourdes, Kalyan East; Our Lady of the Rosary, Goregaon West

1971 : St.Jude, Malad East

1972 : St.Jude, Jeri-Meri

1974 : Infant Jesus, Jogeshwari St.Francis Xavier, Parksite

1975 : St.Anthony, Saki Naka

1976 : Our Lady of Lourdes, Sion; St.Pius the Tenth, Mulund

1978 : Our Lady of Velankanni, Irla

1981 : St.Dominic Savio, Wadala East; St.Vincent Pallotti, Marol

1982 : Holy Family, Pestom Sagar; St.Francis of Assisi, Bandra

1983 : Infant Jesus, Ghatkopar East

1985 : Good Shepherd, Andheri; Holy Redeemer, Khopoli

1986 : Our Lady of Mercy, Pokhran

1987 : Sacred Heart, Andheri East

1988 : St.Joseph, Goregaon East

1990 : St.Francis Xavier, Panvel

1991 : Our Lady of the Forsaken, Malwani Colony

1992 : Our Lady of Fatima, Majiwada; Our Lady of the Forsaken, Ghansoli; St.Anthony of Padua, Kalwa

1993 : Sacred Heart, Vashi; Christ the King, Borivli East;     Nativity of Our Lord, Kandivli East;        Christ the King, Shivaji Nagar;        St.Anthony, Tembipada

1996 : Our Lady of the Visitation, Nerul; Holy Spirit, Kalamboli; Sacred Heart, Roha; St.Francis Xavier, Mahad

1999 : St.Theresa of the Child Jesus, Airoli; Christ the King, Rasayani

2000 : St.Anthony, Dharavi

2001 : St.John Bosco, Borivli; St.Francis de Sales, Koparkhairane

2002 : St.Andrew, Chowk; Infant Jesus, Dombivli;       St.Joseph, Mira Road;     St.Lawrence, Wagle Estate;  …..

Divine Mercy, Bhayandar East; ……… Mary of Nazareth, Alibag

2003 : St.Louis, Dahisar

2004 : Good Shepherd, Sanpada

2005 : St.Joseph, Belapur-CBD

2007 : St.Francis Xavier, Badlapur

2008 : St.Joseph the Worker, Mumbra

2009 : Divya Kripa, Kharghar

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Venerable Fr. Agnelo Gustavo D'Souza - the Servant of God.

Archbishop Patriark Raul Gonsalves told the packed gathering that Fr. Agnelo will be declared a Saint if God wants and when He wants. He said that our attention should not be on the miracle required for his beatification but on the saintly example he has left for us to imitate. Ven. Agnelo was born at Anjuna, Goa on 21 st January 1869, He had a very holy death on 20 th November 1927, One of his famous sayings "Each time we go to confession, we should consider it to be the last in our life." 10 th Nov. 1986, Pope John Paul II declared Fr. Agnelo Venerable.

 

We are familiar with St. Gonzalo Garcia O.F.M. who was martyred at Nagasaki (Japan) on 5th February 1597, and being an Indian and a Franciscan Friar, the saint deserves a life sketch for the benefit of readers. The author reports: "On the day of the Martyrdom, Gonzalo Garcia was forty years old. This means that he was born, either towards the end of 1556 or in the beginning of 1557."

"He was born in Bassein, and in his own words was "the son of a Portuguese gentleman and a lady of that place. For fifteen or sixteen years he lived with his parents at Bassein. During that period he was a pupil of the Jesuit school, and it was probably shortly after 1568 that the first seeds of a religious vocation were planted in his soul by Fr. Sebastian Gonsalves. "He was crucified on the wind-swept hill overlooking Nagasaki and won the Martyr's crown on February 5th 1597.

 

Saint Alphonsa Muttathupadathu, F.C.C., or Saint Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception (19 August 1910 in Kerala– 28 July 1946 at age 35 ) First canonized Indian Catholic saint , Beatified 8 February 1986, Feast on 28 July, Patronage against illness.

 

Yes I have Collected, collated & Redacted the data (where I was qualified to do so), there still might be errors, please keep me informed. ALL ITALICS ARE MINE.

                                                                                                                                

A grateful thanks to the Parishioners of Vikhroli Village, Kurla Village, Mulund St Pius Parish who spoke of the History of Our Church. Thanks to Mr Anthony Pereira (Vikhroli Village), & contributors to the article Mr. Peter Pires ( Legion Of Mary LOM now in Goa),  Mr. Ronald Noronha (LOM Thane curia President), Mr. Fredrick Correa (Ex President of Sion Curia.

 

A grateful thanks to the Parishioners of Vikhroli Village, Kurla Village, Mulund St Pius Parish who spoke of the History of Our Church. Thanks to Mr Anthony Pereira (Vikhroli Village), & contributors to the article Mr. Peter Pires ( Legion Of Mary LOM now in Goa),  Mr. Ronald Noronha (LOM Thane curia President), Mr. Fredrick Correa (Ex President of Sion Curia. LOM) Mr. Nelson D’silva.( Ex member of St Joseph’s Staff.). Mr Roque Lobo Ex president of LOM Vikhroli now in Mulund. Mr Sunil D’souza (Ex President LOM). Rev Fr. Roland Fialho (Seminary MOW), Elaine D’souza Ministry of the Word (MOW).

 

No claim is made to any original research while preparing this document. However, the historical account and the statistics have been compiled and collated from well documented publications, the more important of which have been mentioned at the end. Some part of the information pertaining to this Parish is from my personal knowledge.

 

p.s. As Fredrick Correa says ‘ Since human memory has limitations, we might have not mentioned a number of people who have given their best services to the church but have not been included in the article, their absence in this article is unintentional.

 

’YES. THE ADDITIONS to THIS ARTICLE ARE ALWAYS WELCOME, WE WILL UPDATE THESE RECORDS. as  an when required’ .

Acknowledgement:

http://archdioceseofbombay.org/year.html

http://oldphotosbombay.blogspot.in/2011_09_25_archive.html

http://www.olgcchurch.com/parishhistory.asp

http://www.archdioceseofbombay.org/statistics.html

http://www.udri.org/udri/MumbaiReader09/25%20Sidh%20Losa%20Mendiratta%20-%20Uncovering%20Portuguese%20Histories%20Within%20Mumbai%E2%80%99s%20Urban%20History.pdf

https://sites.google.com/site/stpiusxcollege/_/rsrc/1286772366020/about-us/history/seminary.jpg

http://www.mangalorean.com/browsearticles.php?arttype=Travelogue&articleid=900

http://stjohnmarol.com/st.john.pdf

http://fragnelpilar.in/programNovena.htm

http://konkanicatholics.blogspot.in/2006/08/st-bartholomews-india-connection.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_the_Apostle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Xavier

 

 

 

by Tony DIAS                                                 

St.Joseph’s Church. VIKHROLI.

8th. SEPTEMBER 2012

9821342681- tony@dias.co

 

CHRISTIANITY IN MUMBAI, A BRIEF HISTORY. (1550-2012)

THE BEGINNINGS

When did Christianity first come to the North Konkan? There is no definite answer to this question yet. Some hold it as a historical fact, based on documents and tradition, going back to the third century A.D., that the North Konkan was privileged to receive the Gospel in apostolic times through the teachings of St. Bartholomew, the Apostle, just as the Malabar Coast received the Gospel through the teachings of St. Thomas, the Apostle. Others hold that the first Christians in the North Konkan may be casual merchants come here from other Christian countries. Still others hold that in the 6th century, Kalyan, north-east of Bombay, had a Bishop appointed from Persia, while Chaul to the south of Bombay in the Konkan area, had Christians in the 10th century.

 

According to Rufinus of Acquileia (345-410 A. D.), a noted Church historian, when the Apostles cast lots as to the countries to which they were to carry the Good News,  (south of NE Asia) fell to the lot of Thomas, Ethiopia to Matthew and to Bartholomew, India ‘citerior’, by which ancient geographers meant the Western Coast of India – Gujarat and the North Konkan. But where did Bartholomew land on this Coast? The Menology codified by the order of the Eastern Emperor, Basil II,states that Bartholomew had gone to ‘India Felix’. (India meant India in context with North east Asia)

Some scholars hold that this must have been kalian, slightly north-east of today’s Bombay, Known and frequented in those times. ‘Kalyan’ in Sanskrit means ‘happiness”, which in Latin is ‘Felix’.

 

Salsette = the island area between the Mahim creek and the Bassein creek.

According to St. Jerome (342-420 AD), who first translated the Bible into Latin, Christian messengers from India came to Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria, where Christianity was flourishing, asking him to send someone to attend to their spiritual needs. Demetrius sent Pantaenus, a scholar in Sacred Scripture and Greek Humanities, who on arrival “found that the coming of Christ according to the Gospel of Matthew was preached by Bartholomew and preserved till then”.

an Alexandrian merchant, writes of his having seen a Christian community in Kalyan in the 6th century.

 

It is about this time that some reports of the existence of the Christian community at Sopara (Bassein) were current in Europe. Drawn by these reports, a French Dominican Friar, Jourdain de severac, accompanied by four Franciscans, (Blessed Thomas of Tolentino, James of Padua, Peter of Siena and Brother Demetrius of Tiflis) Landed at Thane at the end of 1320. These Franciscans were murdered by the Muslim Governor of Thane on 9th march, 1321. These are now known as the Martyrs of Thane. According to Jourdain, these Christians were a scattered people. He went to Sopara in Bassein, where he found a small Christian community with a Church. He baptized about 90 persons. A little later he baptized 115 persons in Broach and 35 persons between Thane and Sopara. The Indian Church, whether in the North Konkan or Malabar, witnessed a ‘dark age’ between the 9th and the beginning of the 14th century.The Christians were then reduced to “nominal Christians.”

 

This account of the early times may be concluded with the story of the martyrdoms of St. Bartholomew and St. Thomas.

 

Legends of St. Bartholomew.

TRADITION

One of the Twelve Apostles, mentioned in the Gospel list (Mathew10:3;

Many scholars, however, identify him with Nathaniel (John 1:45-51).

According to one tradition, Eusebius of Caesarea's Ecclesiastical History  states that after the Ascension of our Lord, the Apostle Bartholomew came to India to, ( Kalyan near Bombay / Kalyanpur Mangalore)   in AD 55 and preached the Gospel in the area near Kalyan,  where he left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew . and was martyred in AD 62.T” Raja Astreges (Aristakarman) ordered the Apostle to do ‘puja’ to his idol. Bartholomew refused. He was then beheaded “after the 9th of September, probably in 62 A. D.” his was also confirmed by Pantanus  in the 2nd century who reported what he was told of St Bartholomew. Who preached a region which may have been known as the ancient city Kalyan, which was the field of Saint Bartholomew's missionary activities


Other traditions record him as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthian ad Lycaonia. "India" was a name covering a very wide area, including even Arabia Felix. Bartholomew died in Armenia. Christian tradition has three stories about his death – that he was kidnapped and beaten to death, he was crucified upside down and the third that he was flayed (skinned) alive.

Another tradition says that he is said to have been martyred in Albanopolis in Armenia. According to one account, he was beheaded, but a more popular tradition holds that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward

His relics are thought by some to be preserved in the church of St. Bartholomew, at Rome.

 

According to another historian Moraes this is due to the fact that the history of Christians of Bartholomew got intermingled with that of the Thomas Christians ( the Syriac tradition is that, Saint Bartholomew preached in Armenia). According to Perumalil, Bartholomew Christians continued as a separate community till the coming of the Portuguese and got merged with the Christians of Bombay.

Thomas the Apostle. He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel. He is also believed to have crossed the largest area, which includes the Parthian Empire(The Parthian empire occupied all of modern Iran, Iraq and Armenia, parts of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and -for brief periods- territories in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine) .and India. According to The Passing of Mary, a text attributed to Joseph of Arimathaea, Thomas was the only witness of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. The other apostles were miraculously transported to Jerusalem to witness her death. Thomas was left in India, but after her first burial he was transported to her tomb, where he witnessed her bodily assumption into heaven, from which she dropped her girdle.

St. Thomas is traditionally believed to have sailed to India in 52AD to spread the Christian faith among the Jews, the Jewish diaspora present in Kerala at the time. According to Indian Christian tradition, St. Thomas landed in Kodungallur in AD 52, in the company of a Jewish merchant Hebban. There were Jewish colonies in Kodungallur since ancient times and Jews continue to reside in Kerala till today, tracing their ancient history.

Another tradition says he He landed at Muziris. He then went to Palayoor which was a Hindu priestly community at that time. He left Palayoor in AD 52 for Kerala State, where he established the Ezharappallikal, or "Seven and Half Churches".

According to tradition, St. Thomas attained martyrdom at St. Thomas Mount in Chennai and is buried on a small hillock called St. Thomas Mount, where the Apostle is said to have been killed in AD 72. Also to be found in Chennai is the Dioceses of Saint Thomas of Mylapore to which his mortal remains were supposedly transferred. No archaeological evidence support these claims though.

On the 3rd. of July, St. Thomas who was pierced with a lance in India. Today His body is at Edessa, Mesopotamia  having been brought there by the merchant Khabin. In Edessa, where his remains were venerated. Few relics are still kept in church at Mylapore, Tamil Nadu, India

According to Eusebius' record, Thomas and Bartholomew were assigned to Parthia and India. there are no circumstantial reasons why Thomas could not have visited India in the 1st century. And his visit is the most plausible explanation for the early appearance of the church there.

On 27 September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI recalled that an ancient tradition claims that Thomas first evangelized Syria and Persia (mentioned by Origen, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History then went on to Western India, from where also he finally reached Southern India.

THE PORTUGUESE MISSIONARIES

The 20th of May 1498 was a momentous day for Christianity in India. On that day, three small ships with crosses emblazoned on their sails dropped anchor at Calicut down South. They had come from Lisbon under the command of the sea-captain Vasco da Gama. Their objective: trade in pepper and the evangelization of the newly – discovered lands The city, now Old Goa, became the richest City of the East. They called it ‘Golden Goa.’ In 1534, a Latin See was erected in Goa and in 1558 Goa was raised to the rank of an Archdiocese with Suffragan Bishops in Cochin and Malacca.  That glory belongs largely to St. Francis

Xavier. He landed in Goa on the 6th May 1542

 

St. Francis Xavier, born (Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta)

(7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552) born in Spain). He was a student of  Ignatious of Loyola He led an extensive mission into Asia, mainly in the Portuguese Empire of the time. He was influential in the spreading and upkeep of Catholicism in India, but also ventured into Japan, Borneo, the Moluccas Together with Loyola and five others, he founded the Society of Jesus: on 15 August 1534, in a small chapel in Montmartre, they made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and also vowed to convert the Muslims in the Middle East. Francis went, with the rest of the members of the newly papal-approved Jesuit order, to Venice to be ordained to the priesthood, which took place on 24 June 1537.

After the return of Vasco da Gama, King Manoell of Portugal sent fleets every year to India. These fleets also carried priests, both secular and regular.

Franciscans: They were the first Portuguese missionaries to set foot on the soil of India i.e. in the year 1500 and plant the Cross there. Starting from Old Goa. they moved in about 1516 to Chaul, then to Karanja, the Konkan borders.

He reached Goa, then capital of Portuguese India's on 6 May 1542, and also visiting Vasai. There he was invited to head Saint Paul's College, a pioneer seminary for the education of secular priests that became the first jesuit headquarters in Asia, but soon departed, having spent the following three years in India.

He  also visited Sri Lanka). Dissatisfied with the results of his activity, he set his sights eastward in 1545 and planned a missionary journey to Indonesia).

As the first Jesuit in India, Francis had difficulty procuring success for his missionary trips. Focus was to restore Christianity among the Portuguese settlers. Many of the Portuguese sailors had had illegitimate relationships with Indian women Francis struggled to restore moral relations, and catechized many illegitimate children.

He returned to India in January 1548. The next 15 months were occupied with various journeys and administrative measures in India.

Burials and relics

He died at Shangchuan from a fever on 3 December 1552, while he was waiting for a boat that would agree to take him to mainland China. He was first buried on a beach at Shangchuan Island. His incorrupt body was taken from the island in February 1553 and was temporarily buried in St. Paul's church in Malacca on 22 March 1553The

His body was brought to Goa. It was kept the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa.  where it was placed in a glass container encased in a silver casket on 2 December 1637.

Within that brief span of ten years, with his simple and austere life, with his teaching and preaching, he had to his credit a stupendous achievement – Western Coast of India.

(Pic) Casket of Saint Francis Xavier in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa

The right forearm, which Xavier used to bless and baptize his converts, was detached by Pr. Gen. Claudio Acquaviva in 1614. It has been displayed since in a silver reliquary at the main Jesuit church in Rome.

Another of Xavier's arm bones moved to St. Joseph's and in 1978 to the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier on Coloane Island. More recently the relic was moved to St. Joseph's Seminary and the Sacred Art Museum.

Francis Xavier is a Catholic saint. He was beatified on 25 October 1619, and was canonized on 12 March 1622. His feast day is 3 December.

Pilgrimage Centres

Saint Francis Xavier's relics are kept in a silver casket, elevated inside the Bom Jesus Basilica and are exposed (brought at ground level) when the Archbishop of Goa e Damão decides. Generally it is every ten years. Bones of Saint Francis Xavier are also found in the Espirito Santo (Holy Spirit) Church, Margão and in (Church of St. Francis Xavier), Batpal, Canacona, Goa.

 

JURISDICTIONAL DISPUTES:    Padroado and Propaganda  1720-1794

The two Christian countries of Spain and Portugal were in dispute as to their area of operation in India. Pope Alexander VI got them into an agreements to resolve the issue.

 

DOUBLE JURISDICTION-- 1794-1886- 1928

The Bombay Catholics were not happy with the British decision of 1794. They made a counter representation to the British. The British, however, felt that the Carmelites too had substantial support. As a solution, they bifurcated the administration of the aforesaid four Bombay Churches.

 

The Gloria Church,Mazagaon, and the Salvation Church, Dadar, were claimed by the Archbishop of Goa, together with Chapel in Cavel.

 

While, Our Lady of Hope Church, Fort, and St. Michael’s Church, Mahim, went to the Carmelites, together with Chapel of St. Anne, Mazagaon, and the Sion Church. The disastrous result of this bifurcation – double jurisdiction – was the continuous interference of the British Authorities in the administration of Church activities.

 

Archbishop of Bombay

In 1st May 1928 all Churches and all people in Bombay and surrounding areas came under the single jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Bombay. The only condition was that the Archbishop should be alternately a Portuguese national and a British national. The two : Archbishops in this period were :

1) Portuguese Archbishop Joaquim R. Lima, S. J. 1928 – 1936

2) British Archbishop Thomas D. Roberts, S. J. 1937 – 1950

After years of discord. Archbishop Lima successfully brought about peace and unity among the clergy and the laity and welded together the erstwhile dioceses of Daman and Bombay. He encouraged the spread of the gospel among non-believers, He promoted Catholic life, opened new parishes and schools, churches and chapels. He encouraged indigenous clergy. Started the Diocesan Seminary at Parel in 1936, & the Retreat House.

 

Archbishop Roberts was nominated to the See of Bombay on 12th August 1937 He was interested in every aspect of Catholic life. He introduced the Catholic Medical Guild in 1938. He started the first Catholic Women’s College – the Sophia College in Bombay. The College was opened informally on 27th July 1940 and affiliated to the Bombay University on 9th February 1942. He opened the Jesuit Noviciate at Vinayalaya, Andheri (E), in April 1942 . in March 1941 and the Holy Name Church at Wodehouse Road was raised on the 24th December 1941 to the status of Pro-Cathedral. In 1943. He proposed the name of Fr. Valerian Gracias as Bishop Auxiliary of Bombay. and  was consecrated at St. Peter’s, Bandra, on 29th June 1946, as the first Indian Bishop of the Bombay Archdiocese.

 

The Portuguese and the British, the two colonial powers who came and stayed in Mumbai, gave the city its oldest churches.  Since the Catholic Portuguese preceded the Anglican British, the oldest churches were theirs.

 

The Franciscan Friary Establishment:

The actual building of St. Francis Friary, Goa took place at the earliest at the end of 1518. In any case the Friars must have realized already during the first decade, that they had come for good, that therefore they should seek permanent establishments and organize themselves in a more canonical fashion.

 

"The coming of Franciscans to Bombay"
The author writes : "Only after they had established themselves in Bassein and Salsette (The North Bombay Islands) did the Franciscans venture on Bombay-island."

The Catholic Church in India is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope and the Curia in Rome.There are over 19.9 million Catholics in India, which represents less than 4% of the total population and is the largest Christian church within India. There are 157 ecclesiastical units in India comprising 29 archdioceses and 128 dioceses. Of these, 127 are Latin Rite, 25 Syro-Malabar Rite and 5 Syro-Malankara Rite.

Saints of & from India.

St. Thomas the Apostle

St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

St. Gonsalo Garcia (1556-1597), First person with to be canonized with Indian origin.

St. John de Brito (1647-1693), The Apostle of Madurai

St. Alphonsa (1910-1946), First person of Indian origin to be canonized.

 

Beatified people

Blessed Joseph Vaz, Apostle of Ceylon (1651-1711)

Blessed Kuriakose Chavara (1805-1871)

Blessed Maria Theresa Chiramel (1876-1926)

Blessed Euphrasia Eluvathingal (1877-1952)

Blessed Thevarparampil Kunjachan (1891–1973)

Blessed Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

 

In the course of the mid 16th and the 17th centuries, the Franciscans were the first to establish several Churches and Chapels in Bombay:

 

Following are the Churches Administered by The Portuguese Franciscan Order, & the first Churches built in Bombay’s seven islands city.

St Michael’s Church- Mahim 1565

O. L of Glory (Gloria) Church – Mazagaon.1590

Salvation Church (Portuguese Church) – Dadar. 1610

The Parel Chapel (St Paul’s). (No Pictures)

O L Good Counsel – Sion (No Old pictures found)

O L of the Mount, Mazagaon or St Bernadine’s.

 

"The Expulsion of the Franciscan From Bombay"
The discord between the Portuguese (the Friars were Portuguese) and the English is highlighted through this example. An instance where the Friars seem to have voiced their protests and opinions rather loudly, occurred in 1676. A decision was taken by the English on the basis of such incidents that the Franciscans would remain expelled.

"The Return of the Franciscans to Bombay"
The author reports : "When Charles Boone, Commander General of the island and Castle of Bombay, the 13th of May 1720, signed the order expelling the Portuguese Franciscans, he could hardly have foreseen that Friars of his own nation would be the instruments in the hands of Divine Providence to re-establish the Order in Bombay. But thus it came about.
In 1925 the Franciscans of the ancient "Provincia Angliae" arrived in India. For three years they worked in Hyderabad, Deccan
.

 

 

MAROL PARISH

In 1534 the Franciscans, in general, took charge of the North-West region (Borivli-Dongri-Poinsur-Malad)and from 1549 the Jesuits took charge of the South-East from Thane-Powai-Condita-Kole-Kalyan on to Bandra.

 

A little later. The Jesuits who came to India in 1542, along with Francis Xavier worked precisely in  Marol from about 1549-50.

 

They established a Church there (Vihar Valley). As the place was too malarious, they rebuilt the Church in a more healthy locality at Powai and founded the parish of Trinidad in 1557. Then they moved to Condita, Marol, Mulgao, Gundavli, Chakala and other villages about. Then they moved to Bandra and Kurla in the south and to Kirol etc.

 

Judging from its remains, the original Church must have been an imposing building. The Church is a ruined condition. This was dependent on the Jesuit College of Holy Name at Bassein 1549.

 

The chief church of this area, which was at Thane and was built in 1582, was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. In order to avoid confusion, the name of the Condita Church was changed to St. John, the Evangelist.

Except for the short period of the Maratha take –over in 1737-1739 the Church at Condita continued as the place of Christian worship right till 1840.

The Church had to be abandoned at that time as there was a devastating epidemic in that area and its parishioners decided to shift to Marol., annually a pilgrimage was made to the Condita Church by the parishioners of Marol Church. The parishioners would go in procession, then celebrating a High Mass, the pilgrimage has been revived from 1988. On 29th May1988

 

Some Significant Dates

1498 – Vasco da Gama landed at Calicut-Southern Coast of India

1509 – Portuguese first visited the Bassein Coast

1510 – Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa from the Sultan of Bijapur on 25th November, 1510

1534 – The Islands of Bassein, Salsette, Bombay and Karanja ceded to the Portuguese by the Bahadur Shah of Cambay (Gujarat) on 23rd December

1534 – Archdiocese of Goa erected

1535 - Portuguese built their Bassein Fort

1535 – Portuguese took possession of Diu

1544 – St. Francis Xavier visited Bassein

1548 - St. Francis Xavier visited Bassein twice

1665 – Bombay Island passed from the Portuguese to the British

1720 – The British ordered the expulsion of the Portuguese Franciscans form Bombay Island in May 1720

1720 – The British invited the Italian Carmelite Bishop, Fra Mauritius, to take charge of the Catholic community in Bombay

1720 – The Carmelites took possession of the four Portuguese Franciscan Churches in Bombay

1) Esperanice 2) Salvacao 3) Gloria 4) St. Michael’s

1737-1739 – Marathas conquered Salsette, Bassein, Karanja (Uran) and Chaul (Revdanda) from the Portuguese

1774-1800 – British absorbed all the above areas

1794 – British introduced Double Jurisdiction in Bombay Island

1858 – Establishment of the Bombay- Poona Jesuit Vicariate

1886 – The new Diocese of Daman created

1886 – Bombay becomes an Archdiocese      1928 – a) Double Jurisdiction abolished b) Diocese of Daman ceased to exist

                                                                                   c) Unified Archdiocese of Bombay created

1950 – Portugal’s right of Padroado in Indian territory abrogated

1950 – Mons. Valerian Gracias appointed as first Indian Archbishop of Bombay

1952 – Archbishop Gracias appointed as India’s first Cardinal

1977 – Bishop Simon Pimenta appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Bombay

1987 – Archbishop Simon Pimenta succeeds Cardinal Gracias as Archbishop of Bombay

1988 – Archbishop Simon Pimenta created a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II

 

Dates Significant to Condita / Marol

1579 – The old Church at Condita built. Fr. Manuel Gomes, Jesuit. The Church was dedicated to St John the Baptist because on the feast of St John the Baptist. There were 500 conversions.

1588- Marol got it second mass convertion . . Because of the prominence of Marol, 13 other villages in the proximity of Marol followed, almost immediately, the example of Marol. Most of these villages exist today.Owing to the large number of conversions he effected in these parts, Fr. Gomes is known as the “Apostle of Salsette

1840 – The present Church when it was rebuilt – it was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, since the Thane Church was also dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

 

LIST OF VICARS AND ASSISTANTS

The Franciscans, the Augustinians, the Dominicans and the Jesuits were the pioneer Portuguese missionaries in the Salsette – Bassein – Thane region between the years 1534 and 1737. However, manly the Jesuits worked in the Conditim – Marol belt. The Portuguese missionaries had to leave the Salsette region after 1739, when it was captured by the Marathas. From 1739 onwards the native clergy- the seculars from Goa, Bandra, Dadar, Mahim, Chaul, Kalina, Conditim (Marol) and some other villages – were in charge of the Churches in Salsette-Bassein-

 

Franciscans 1534

Jesuits 1549

 

 

 

 

 

 

Borivli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dongri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poisar  1547

 

 

 

Marol 1579

>>>> 

Powai 1557

Kanjur 1965

Malad

Vihar Valley

POWAI 1557

Condita 1579

Mulgaon

Bandra

 

Vikhroli 1910

 

O L Amparo

Holy Trinity

St. J Baptist 1582

Gundavli

Kurla 1580

 

 

 

 

 

EPIDEMIC

Chakala

Kirol 1953

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thane 1582

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bandra 1616

 

 

 

 

 

OUR LADY OF EXPECTATIONS (NOW HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL, COLABA

 

he church was originally built in 1570 at the exact location where it seems certain that the church of O.L. of Expectation stood more or less in the center of the present Victoria Terminus stands . This is the church where the Franciscans administered up to 1720, the year they were expelled from Bombay.today.  The first altar of the church was built in 1570. There is a dispute about whether it stood on the same site as it does now or a little

 

farther off.  It remains one of the most popular basilicas.  It has been pulled down and rebuilt a number of times. One instance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

when it was pulled down was after the 1896 plague. The present building came up in

 

1904.But the chapel was demolished in 1760 to build walls around the fort and was relocated to Azad Maidan. But this chapel, too, was pulled down in the 1940s and then relocated to Bhuleshwar. The new chapel, however, was also destroyed.  Holy Name Cathedral in Colaba is looked upon as the successor of the old church

GLORIA CHURCH (Byculla Station); & O.L. of The Rosary Dockyard

Orignally called th e Nossa Senhora da Gloria (Our Lady of Glory) Church, it was built in 1590 in Mazgaon.  But disputes between the Pedroado and Propaganda, two factions  that ruled Catholic churches at the time, led to another church (Our Lady of the Rosary)  now Dockyard road being built near the original church.  The government planned to build a railway line, where the church stood, in 1913 and the building was pulled down. The government funded the  rebuilding of the church at Byculla.

 

 

 

ST MICHAEL'S CHURCH, MAHIM Year 1534.

Traveller's accounts say the church was built in the early  sixteenth century, The church, originally built in 1534, is rebuilt a number of times, the present structure dating to 1973, but documented reports say the church was in existence since 1565.  In 1854, when Bishop Hartmann lost control of the church, he raised funds and built  Our Lady of Victory Church near St Michael's.  Both churches are still in existence. The current structure of St. Michael's Church was rebuilt in 1973. St Michaels is a hotspot for devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Soccour every Wednesday, Not only Christians, but also adherents of other faiths congregate to pay their respects to the Our Blessed Virgin Mother.

ST ANDREW'S CHURCH,  BANDRA

It is one of the oldest churches in Bombay built by the Portuguese Jesuits. It was built in 1575. The 16th century wood altars carved and painted in popular Portuguese style. 16th century wood panels depicting the resurrection of the Christ and the assumption of Mary Immaculate and the 16th century pulpit are among the other interests in the church. Besides, one of the largest and oldest crosses in Mumbai is in

 its compound.

Our Lady of Salvation (Portuguese) Church. Dadar     The church was originally built in 1596 / 1610 but was rebuilt a couple of times since then. The structure, as we see it today, was designed by Charles Correa in 1973.

 

St Thomas Cathedral.(Fort)  1718.

The church opened its gates, for the first time, on Christmas day in 1718.  The same structure stands today. The construction began in the 1670's, a decade after the British acquired Mumbai.  But the construction was stalled when the city was attacked by the Siddis.  H E Cox's Story of St Thomas's Cathedral says: “The derelict building became a gathering place for badmash's and beggars.''  But construction began again at a later date and was completed by 1718.

Condita church (SEEPZ) name was changed from “St. John the Baptist”

to “St. John the Evangelist.

 

The origins of the parish of St. John the Evangelist can be traced back to two mass conversions at Marol.  Most of the Christian community in Bombay up to Bassien Rd – Vasai were of East Indian fishermen of origin. Some of the inhabitants of Marol were among the 500 people who were converted when the neighbouring church at Condita (now SEEPZ ) was opened for public worship on the feast of St. John the Baptist in the year 1579.

 

The second mass conversion took place on the eve of the feast of the Assumption in 1588 when the whole village of Marol became Catholic.  

Soon 13 other villages around Marol followed its example.  Marol and surrounding villages received the Catholic faith through the pioneering efforts of Jesuit Fr. Manuel Gomes, popularly known as “The Apostle of Salsette.” Who built the church.

 

The church at Condita escaped the ravage of the Maratha war, for it continued to have Vicars, now secular priests, appointed to it from 1739 onwards, who also looked after the remnant Christian community at Powai.  Due to the outbreak of a devastating epidemic, Fr. Jose Lourenco Paes, the Vicar of Condita at the time, having built a new church in the village of Marol in 1840, “ transferred the parish from Condita to Marol and the old church and parish house was abandoned”. Before the old church fell into disrepair, the statues, the baptismal font, the altars and a few pillars were transferred to the new church at Marol.

 

At the entrance of the present church of Marol stands a historic 4-foot statue of Our Lady with the child Jesus, known as the statue of OL of Amparo (Help).This statue was once venerated in the church of the same name that now lies submerged under the waters of the Vihar Lake.  This statue was brought to Marol between 1842-1853 when the Bombay Municipality acquired the Vihar Valley with the church in it from the Vicar of Marol for a compensation of Rs.1944.10 as. One of the Baptismal Registers of the church of OL of Amparo (1804-1832) is still preserved at Marol.

 

 

Till about the year 1973, Mass was celebrated annually at the ruined church of Condita. This practice was discontinued when the property comprising a picturesque lake and the ruined church was acquired by the Government.

 

Pictures of the ruined church at Condita now (SEEPZ)  known as “St. John the Baptist” to “St. John the Evangelist.” Built by Fr Manuel Gomes. In 1579.

After Powai, Marol was a stronghold of Christianity in this region of the seven island.  The Jesuit Report of 1669 tells us that the parish comprised 1380 Catholics in Marol, 302 in Condita, 246 in Gundowli and 219 in Chakala.

 

The original church of this parish was built in 1579 at Condita (SEEPZ) at a point north of the present village of Kondivita and northwest of the present church.  The major portion of this church is still standing. We do not know when the name of this Condita church was changed from “St. John the Baptist” to “St. John the Evangelist.    

St. John the Baptist Church is an abandoned and ruined church presently located within the SEEPZ Industrial Project, Mumbai. It was built by the Portuguese in 1579 and opened to public worship on the feast of John the Baptist that year. It also had an attached graveyard. The church was abandoned in 1840 after an epidemic hit the village. 

 

 

16TH CENTURY CHURCH OF ST BONAVENTURE at ERANGEL BEACH

 

The famous Church of St. Bonaventure, a 16th century Portuguese church built in 1540 is situated on the beach in Erangal. The annual Erangal Feast held on second Sunday of January, celebrating the Feast day of St. Bonaventure, attracts thousands of people of all faiths to this scenic spot. The Birthday Of St. Bonaventure is Celebrated on 15th of July every year.

 

 

The St. Michael's Church at Manickpur (Bassine)

( Now Bessien Rd ) This article will not be complete without the mention of the late 15th. century Church at Manickpur, also had a lot of derivatives Manickpuram, Manicpuri now popularly known as we know it as Bassien Rd,  Here The Jesuits lived in the Vasai Fort and had the parishes  of Papdy.

 

MOST HOLY TRINITY, POWAI AND  OUR LADY OF AMPARO (HELP), VIHAR Lake

Holy Trinity Powai – Year 1557. Was one of the strong hold of the Catholic church in the 16th century.

 

The Jesuits started their evangelization work in Thane in about 1549-50. Then founded a model Christian Settlement under the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity. They also erected in the valley, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. The valley was richly wooded and fertile. However, it was so malarious that the Settlement had to be transferred to a hillock in neighbouring Powai. during the Maratha invasion Portuguese wars (1737-1739) the church in Powai (Holy Trinity) was abandoned and the catholics of the villages within the parish migrated to Vikhroli, Bhandup and Kanjur & Marol . 

Subsequently two new chapels were built & were under the administration  of  Holy Trinity Church. Powai. St Xaviers Kanjur East & St. Joseph’s, Vikhroli That is why the feast of The Holy Trinity even till recent years was alternately celebrated by the parishioners of St. Francis Xavier Church & St Joseph’s Vikhroli, who were originally parishioners of Holy trinity Church.

 

In 1557 and new Church dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity was built at the same time on the hillock. The Church was still be seen. In 1846,a Chapel was built close built close by. It was renovated and extended in 1968-71.however the church that stands today as Holy Trinity Church is quite a modern church, behind it even today you find remnants of the earlier churches built there by the Franciscans.

 

In The Christian began living again in Vihar in the seventeenth century.In 1638 the Vihar Church reappears then with the name of Nossa Senhora de Amparo (Our Lady of Help). This was within the Vihar Lake area itself. In 1714 The Seculars took over the Church

 

The 4-feet Statue of Our Lady of Amparo, which is now on the small altar at the left entrance of the Church, belonged to this Vihar Church. The Statue was brought to the Marol Church by the Vihar parishioners when they migrated to Marol before the Vihar Lake was built. ( Which Moral Church ??) From 1840 onwards, Some of the Marolites link their ancestry to the parishioners of Vihar. The feast of Our Ladyof Amparo is celebrated in Marol by the Confraternity of Nossa Senhora de Amparo on the 26th December every year by a Mass, followed by a get-together.

 

èHoly Cross Kurla: Year 1580.

I don’t know when this was,  was it after 1910, or was it before 1910 that the Fathers of Holy Cross Church, Kurla were on a regular basis coming to Vikhroli to say Mass & administer the Sacraments, They used to commute on a  bicycle along with the altar boys.We have always heard that St Francis Xavier came to Kurla, is this true ? There is documentary evidence that St Francis Xavier wrote to the Holy Father to establish 2 churches in Bombay because the Catholic Population in both this places was high, One is Holy Cross Kurla the other is Our Lady of Good Counsel, Sion. or St Andrews Bandra.

( Most probably OLGC Sion ) Both were  built in the late 16th century. Did he come to Bombay, there is no documentary evidence of the same.

 

 

 

èSt. Joseph’s Church.VIKHROLI. Year 1910.

 

( It seems that the Church at Kanjurmarg was established before St. Joseph’s Church had even had an official Parish Priest, this perhaps could be because the Church at Kanjurmarg was in a Village whereas The Church at Vikhroli even though it is close to Vikhroli railway station it was surrounded by only paddy fields, the closest inhabited area was Vikhroli Village. & as known Vikhroli was called a Jungle.

 

Before Rev Fr Manuel D’souza was appointed as Parish priest here in 1955 the regular priest who came from St.Xaviers. Kanjurmarg to celebrate the Eucharist & perform all sacraments was Rev. Fr James Noronha.

 

Rev. Fr. Manuel Simon Antonio de Carmo D’souza, was appointed Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s church, Vikhroli n 1955. Till 1966 Rev Fr Manuel was not only the Parish Priest but also the administrator of the school. When he arrived here, Vikhroli was called by a common expression “ a jungle”.

 

The first Church that was built in Vikhroli was in 1910. (no one knows who built it) The first official Sacristan of St.Joseph’s Church was Mr.Kaitan Barnetto who stayed behind the church. The Choir master also stayed behind the church Mr. D’lima & Mr. Francis Fernandes the official Choir Masters. If you did not have a sharp ear for music it was difficult to distinguish his voice from the sound of the violin.

 

Sebastian Pereira who worked in the school office was one of the first students of St. Joseph’s School, who studied in our school & passed out from Holy Cross. Kurla. There may have been many others.

 

The organized graveyard & niches were constructed by Rev Fr Herculan Silveira. & The Cross in the graveyard was installed in 1911, by the Subscribers & players (band) of the Music society. (Kurla) this inscription on the cross is not clear.

 

Long ago in the year 1956, Rev. Fr. Manuel started the school with as many as seventeen students from the nearby Vikhroli village, & as I am informed the teachers used to go with a bell & ring it in the Vikhroli Village to get the students to come to school.

One of the first teachers who taught in our school was Ms Jerry Rodricks. The church used to be as the premises for the school, & when it was too hot,  the tree behind the sacristies used to give the teachers & the children shade, and thereafter the number started growing each year. Today the school has more than 3500 students.

 

Fr Manuel had big palms & students were scared of the whacking he could give, his favorite expression was ‘ I will kat (cut) your tongue & put in the maad (mud), & yes if you go through the Church registers & records you will realize that he wrote in the most smooth excellent calligraphy.

 

All our old church records before & between1910-1955  are either found at Holy Cross Kurla, St Francis Xavier Church. Kanjurmarg or  Holy Trinity Church Powai.

Rev. Fr. George Lobo was appointed the first qualified Principal of St. Joseph’s School in the year 1966. The first S.S.C Examination had twenty-one students who passed out successfully with percentage being 91.30%.  He was responsible to get our school recognition in the Archdiocese  & The Bombay Municipality, to get the required government grants. Since then our school has been showing a steady progress under the able guidance of the following Principals:

 

Principals of St. Joseph’s School from 1955.

         Rev  Fr. Manuel D’souza  (Administrator)                1955-66

 1        Rev  Fr  George Lobo     (principal)                              1966-71

2        Rev  Fr. Joseph Coutinho                                          1971-73

3        Rev. Fr. Anthony D’souza                                         1973-76

4.       Rev .Fr. Bede D’costa                                               1976-79

5        Rev. Fr. Vernon D’souza                                           1979-86

6        Rev. Fr. Felix Noronha                                              1986-87

7        Rev. Fr. Leslie Almeida                                            1987-93

8        Rev. Fr. Diago Pereira                                              1993-99

9        Mr. Stephen Pereira                                                1999-01

10      Rev. Fr. Michael Pinto                                              2001-07

11.     Rev  Fr  Simon Lopez.       2007-                                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture 1. The stage of the 007 school.

Picture 2. This building was built by Rev Fr A J D’souza & Rev Fr Bede D’costa  1974-1978.

Picture 3 This building was built by Rev Fr Vernon D’souza in 1980

Picture 4. This picture is the back of the building of picture 5.

Picture 5.This wing of the school building was built in 1958 along with the church by Rev Fr Manuel D’souza. It took almost 12 years to complete.

Picture 1. The stage of the 007 school.

Picture 2. This building was built by Rev Fr A J D’souza & Rev Fr Bede D’costa  1974-1978.

Picture 3 This building was built by Rev Fr Vernon D’souza in 1980

Picture 4. This picture is the back of the building of picture 5.

Picture 5.This wing of the school building was built in 1958 along with the church by Rev Fr Manuel D’souza. It took almost 12 years to complete.

 

 

This report will not be complete without the discipline inculcated in the school by Rev (Late) Fr Joseph Coutinho.  He usually used to get out of breath climbing the school steps, that signal was good enough to make the children & the teachers to have dead silence in class. The other was Mr Pinto (The PT Sir), he evoked the remaining discipline, the first official PT sir of the school. Some of my best teachers I still am grateful for were : Ms Joseph, Ms Lovette Dorando, Ms Reena/Soucorrine Fernande , Ms Helen (Kurla) Ms Annie D’Crasto, (Late)

 Ms Dey, Mr Pinto, Ms Shobha Shinde/Dhonde, (Late) Mr P M Chacho, Mr T J Joseph. (Mr. Stephen Pereira, Mr. P. Y. Prabhune,

Mr. Khan, Mr. Pande (who died wih his boots on), Mrs. Helen Lal, Mrs. Chaturvedi, Mrs. Kadri, Mrs. Angela Ubale, Mrs. Dorothy Attawar, Mr. Mastioli & Mrs. Ila Dey (Drawing Teachers), Mrs. Linda Fernandes (Craft), Mrs. Plantina Fernandes, Mrs. Angeline

Fernandes were few other teachers who played a significant role in the progress of the school. –by Mr Nelson D’silva Ex member of te staff St Joseph’s School.).

( that does not mean the others were not good, I experienced these teachers, this is only my point of view).

 

PRINCIPALS:

Rev. Fr George Lobo: He was my first principal, I still remember he used to teach us Geography, He never gave notes as the rest of the School staff, Our first unit test the whole class failed in Geography,we did not know what & how to study without notes, once bitten twice shy,  next test the whole class passed. We studied everything. Every time he punished & wacked a child in school he got sick, Im sure it hurt him more then the kids.

Rev (late) Fr Joseph Coutinho was the first & one of the finest Principals the school ever had. He was a principal who made sure that St. Joseph was not only a English medium school by name, but all students spoke only in English in schooll he did not spare the students nor the teachers. He was an excellent English teacher himself. I can vouch for this because, he taught me.

 

Rev.Fr Michael pinto – ( Of all the priests who came and served in our parish, Fr. Michael Pinto stands out as the priest who had the biggest influence on our school recently. He transformed the school both internally and externally.. he transformed it to a place where children would love to come rather then dread.. He encouraged parents to play a participative role in the school activities and teachers were willing to go much beyond their limitations..He started a trend of achieving 100% success at the SSC results and the same continues..He was successful in putting our school amongst the best 50 schools in Mumbai…may God bless him always,- by Peter Pires)

He was also responsible for opening the New Main Gate of the School right in next to the bank.

 

Rev Fr. Diago Pereira: I can remember Fr Diago Perriera who started the trend of 100% results in SSC and ensuring that as many students get a chance to appear for SSC without detaining them in the earlier class.—Ronald Noronha. He was 90% good Priest & 10 % administrator, many of our people took advantage of him, even some of the staff.

 

Rev Fr leslie Almeida was an excellent administrator, he made sure that the students mentained the discipline needed. He also kept the teachers on their toes.

 

Mr.Steven Pereira. Who joined the school as a Marathi teacher, subsequently thaught many other subjects, coming from Vasai on time till he retired as the school principal was remarkable.

 

Rev. Fr.Vernon D’souza. Was an Excellent priest, If my memory serves me right he was also the diocesan Inspector for Catholic Schools, Very good priest & a good friend today he is in charge of the Pastoral Centre for retired priests.

 

The Parish Priests of St Joseph’s Church – Vikhroli were:

 

1.   Rev Fr Manuel D’souza 1/9/55 – 31/5/74   Built the Church 1955, & the 

front wing of the School & the Parochial House.

 

2.    Rev Fr Cosme Rego 1/6/74 – 31/5/80

     3  Rev Fr Anthony (Tony) Mendonca 1/6/80 – 31/5/82 Gave an Impetus to   

         most Church Organizations’ specially the Legion of Mary, placed the order

         for the wooden Cross (also had painted the scenery of the crucifixion   

         before the wooden cross was installed). His generosity for all church    

         activities helped the parish to become a vibrant one.

             (During the tenure of the  Fr Tony Mendonca and Fr Michael's Goveas, the  

         parish fathers visited the parish regularly & religiously. Spent quality time to

         visit the Parishioners. The team under these 2 Parish priests was a     

         wonderful example of bonding and for the affection they showed to the

         Parishioners, which  is still talked off now. Not many people are aware of

         the generosity of all the fathers especially Fr Michael who went out of the   

         way to help the poor Parishioners.- by Ronald Noronha)

4     Rev Fr Michael Goveas 1/6/82 – 31/5/88 another pro-Legion priest. Was responsible for buying the Wooden Cross on the alter.

(Fr. Michael Goveas is now retired and stays at Andheri East but celebrates Mass at Sacred Heart church, Andheri East. He was hot tempered but used to cool down immediately and had no ego in apologizing to the concerned people at the earliest. -- By Fredrick Correa)

5     Rev Fr Herculan Silveira 1/6/88 – 31/5/94 built the Niches & the graves.

(He once passed a remark that the Legion of Mary is the only organization in the church which does quietly  active work but does not show it to others. He was at the confessional before and after every Mass on weekdays and was always available for confessions at other times as well. .—by Fredrick Correa)—by Fredrick Correa)

6     Rev Fr Theodore (Theo) Fernandes 1/6/94- 31/5 2000 Legion of Mary grew under his tenure : He was the supporter of The first Walking Pilgrimage to the Mount from St. Joseph’s Church. The Good Friday Way of the Cross in different sections in our Parish. Marian Celebration was at its peak. The Parish wise Pilgrim Statue circulation. Grand Church Decorations; Devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Confraternity of the most Holy Rosary. Church Census. Rosary centers in different areas of the parish. Most important of all he built The Blessed Sacrament Chapel even when he did not have support of some of the priests. He was also responsible for the Church premises given to the Legion of Mary to run the stall.

7     Rev Fr Gerry Fernandes 1/6/2000 – 31/5/2003 increased the size of the altar. A conscious person about environment who banned all burning of fire crackers in the church premisesRev Fr Philip Falcao 1/6/2003 – 31/5/2006

8     Rev Msgr. Alex Rebello 1/6/2006- 31/5/2009 concreted the Church premises. He made sure the Church was always kept clean, he personally supervised it. He was in charge of most of the groups in the parish.

9     Rev Fr Anthony D’souza 1/6/2009

 

Parishioners that cannot be forgotten are Mr.Valentine Saldanha (known as Mr. Saldanha, Vikh.E.) very very active in our church to raise the funds for the Church & the school, Mrs Leticia Pinto  known popularly as only Mrs Pinto (Tagore Nagar) who was the focal point of the Catholic organization in Haryali Village & Tagore Nagar;

Mr. Sylvestor D’silva the owner of Polycarp Printers (Vikh.Village), Mr Peter Sequira (Godrej Hill Side) Mr Tony D’souza (Vikh.W) Mr Francis Anthony Fernandes popularly known as Padri Anthon from Haryali Village who started a lot of devotions & active in the church. Sis Lucy & Sis Rosie who ensured that the alter linen was kept clean & the alter was well decorated with fresh flowers every Sunday for many years. This History cannot be complete with a great thanks to their contribution  to the Church. We now have Mr. Joseph Menezes (Suryanagar), Mr.Steven Pereira (Vikhroli Village), Lucy Menezes (Lok gaurav. Vik. (W) , Mr. Francis D’Cunha, Wilfred Fernandes, Christopher Veigas,  Peter Noronha has been a one man choir cannot omit Paschal and his daughter Melicia who are training the chidrens’s choir. they have served the Church for many years. (Yes this list today would go endless )

 

 

 

 

 

The picture (1) of the 1910 old St. Joseph’s Church was given by the family of  Ms B.Vincent Ramedios. Vikhroli (W)

Pic 2. St. Joseph’s Church. 1979.

Pic 3. St. Joseph’s Church. VIKHROLI 1985.

Pic 4. SJCV.2012.

Pic 5.Plaque in remembrance of Fr Herculean Silvera.

Pic 6. Cross donated by Holy Cross Church 1911. ( etching eroded )

Pic 7.The graveyard thanks to Fr Herculean.

Pic 8. The Church grotto constructed by Fr Bonney & the youth, the marble statues ordered to be installed are still missing even after 20 years.

 

If you see Our New church without the external façade, you will realize the design of the new church is the exact copy of the old Church, when it was built it even had the 2 belfry’s, this frontal design was changed after The Eucharistic Congress in Bombay, The new wings are a copy of the alter of the Eucharistic Congress, 1964.

 

About some of our Priests & Religious:

 

Rev Fr Kenneth Mendes was known for his wit. (The present cross came up due to the insistence of Fr Kenny who at the meeting of the Fathers said Give the best to the people and they would give you the best in return. His words were indeed Prophetic.- Ronald Noronha).

(Fr. Kenny's infectious sense of humor his lightening fast services and his good nature is still talked about. He did not differentiate between the rich and the poor and I remember that once at the funeral of a child from the railway track slums he ensured they got all the respect as was due to a parishioner of the church- by Ronald Noronha) (His common terminology to call a youngster was “Champion”. Also he started with the making of the host in house and also the same was being shared with the other parishes.- by Sunil D’souza)

 

Rev Fr Alex Carvalho, great artist, Started putting up the messages on the Church hoarding. .

(Fr Alex's lifestyle and preaching always endeared him to the parishioners especially the poor. The massive cribs installed by the LOM with his assistance were always socially relevant and made it to the papers next day.- Ronald Noronha)

 

Fr Alex & his team & their work at Bhiwandi during the riots May 1984,the number of weeks spent there by Fr Alex & his team of youth. His messages through slideshows, Fr Alex was ahead of his times. The messages on the Church Hoarding were also started by him, after him it was taken up by the Legion of Mary.

Fr. Alex created great sense of awareness among the people about the merciless killings of unborn babies through abortions. He also filmed the slum near the Railway station and sent it to the relevant authorities, so that they would get alternative accommodation in future. (Mr.Fredrick Correa). He also conducted a well attended Bible Class for many years. He was excellent in drawing caricature figures. & was known for his extreme patience.

 

Fr Dennis' D’souza’s ear for music and his bonding with the youth and the children was much talked about. The Legion of Mary bloomed under him, he started the Legion stall. Can you believe it that he too used to sit at the Sunday Legion Stall.

Fr. Vernon D’souza’s displinarian attitude helped the school grow in status .It was Fr Michael Goveas, Fr Kenneth Mendes and Fr Vernon who were instrumental in conducting free classes in Maths and Science for the 9 and 10th std which helped many poor children come out in flying colours and most of them are well placed now.- Ronald Noronha)

 

The team under Fr Tony Mendonca (PP 1980-82), were Fr Alex Carvalho, Fr Kenneth Mendes, & Fr Dennis Dsouza & Under Fr Michael Goveas (PP 82-88), Fr Kenneth Mendis, Fr Vernon D’souza & Fr Alex Carvelho.Fr Andrew, Fr Leslie Almeida. These 8 years of two excellent sets of Priests changed the whole parish to a blooming growing parish. The Parish was at its zenith.

 

Sis Norma & Sis. Violet of poor sisters of Our Lady PSOL (1982-88) who was for many years at Vikhroli, changed a lot of lives of the students they interacted with. They were very actively involved in all parish activities & yes closely attached to The Legion of Mary activities.

Rev Fr Felix Rebello. Gave an impetus to the Small Christian Community in Vikhroli. It was he who started the points system, where points were allotted for attending SCC meetings, activities, competitions etc.

 

There was so much Warmth & Closeness between the Parish Team itself & between the Parish Fathers & the Parishioners. Yes the parishioners & the members of the organizations could walk into the parish office, meet any priest  at any time. ( there were no barricades bells & doors to keep parishioners away, There were no timings. Some of us were always found in the parish house. I still remember my father asking me, if the priests did not have a place for me to stay. He used to say ‘Stay there only’. Fr Kenneths room was never locked, we were free to go to his room & have a wash, yes many times we could not even find a soap in his bathroom, so we bought one for him. These priests used to go for movies & dinners together. If that was not enough Fr. Michael Goveas. took all of us too with them  for Movies specially the LOM. The unity of the parishioners & the priest was unique, It never more exists, You don’t feel wanted, the Priest some how tells you, keep away, he is not interested in you or your problems (my point of view).

 

Priests & Religious  from Vikhroli :

Rev Fr Tony Mendonca was the first PP to give his full support to the LOM followed by Fr Kenneth Mendis, Fr Alex Carvelho, Fr Dennis D’souza this perhaps was the reason for most of the following enrolments . ….. (LOM= Legion of Mary) 

Fr. Vincent Thomas (Ex LOM); Fr Bastin Thomas (Ex LOM associate),

Fr Rogers Jones/Pinto (Ex LOM), Fr Tony Santarita, Fr Wilfred Vaz (Ex LOM), Sr  Luizinha Mascarenhas (Ex LOM), Sr Evelyn Menezes (Ex LOM),

Sr Olive D’souza, (Ex LOM), Fr Sebastin Gomes (Vikhroli Village),

Sr Shobha Serrao (Ex LOM). Sis Lourdes Martins, Sis Krupa (Leena) Fernandes.

Sr Bertha.(Near d Church) Sis Estey Colaco( Vik Village) Jannet Pinto (Ex LOM associate) Bro. Fredcrick Correa has joined the diaconate. (active member of the LOM)

 

LOM=Legion of Mary: Fr Dennis D’souza was pro Legion attend, one of the priests that was totally involved with its activities, what more he used to attend allLegion meetings in full. At one time a few years back was not only the strongest organization in the parish, it was the strongest group in Bombay.  I will not be surprised it might have been the strongest group not only in our Diocese / Legion Sanatus, but all over India. We had 3 senior Groups & 5 junior groups of a total strength of more than 125 Legionaries. The works undertaken were non-Christian contacts, Hospital Visits, Promoting Devotion to the Sacred Heart Of Jesus, Promoting The Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. Working on the Legion Stall, Marian Celebration, celebrating Mother Mary’s Birthday with a lot of activities, Organizing Open air area wise Way of the Cross, Blood Donation Drives, Walking Pilgrimage to the mount, Circulation of the Pilgrim Statue (there were 7 statues circulating at one time, till the SCC said they would do it.

 

The Legion of Mary Stall. Vikhroli.

 

 

Another feature of