Mangaluru: Addressing the media persons during a press meet held at Mangalore Press Club, Rev Fr Benjamin Pinto-Parish Priest and Shrine Director said, ” The Annual Feast of St Joseph Vaz will be celebrated from January 14, 15 and 16 at the St Joseph Shrine-Mudipu. St Joseph who performed miracles on the hill of Mudipu was raised to the altar of sainthood on 14 January 2015 by Pope Francis in Sri Lanka. This was for the first time that a priest from this coastal region was raised to the alter of Sainthood”
“On 14 January, there will be a solemn mass at 10.30am for the sick and disabled, offered by Rev Fr Vijay Machado-Director,DBCLC-Mangaluru. On 15 January, a solemn festal mass will be offered at 10.30 am by Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’souza-Bishop of Mangaluru. And at 2 pm a mass by Rev Fr J B Saldanha-Vicar Forane, Mangaluru South Deanery; and at 6pm by Rt Rev Dr Pius Thomas D’Souza-Bishop of Ajmer Diocese. On 16 January, a solemn mass will be offered at 10.30 am by Rev Fr Gregory D’Souza-PP, Most Holy Saviour Church- Agrar; and at 2pm by Rev Fr William Menezes-PRO, Mangaluru diocese; and at 6pm by Rev Fr Denis Moras Prabhu-Vicar General, Mangaluru Diocese” added Fr Benjamin Pinto.
He further said that a “Anna Santarpane” will be held on 10 January, with a Votive procession at 3.30pm from Mudipu Church to St Joseph Vaz Shrine at Miracle Hill. During the year 2016 on every Friday, there will be adoration, confession, and Novena prayers held from 10am -12.30pm followed by lunch for all pilgrims, said Fr Benjamin. Roshan D’souza-VP of parish council was also present on the dais during the press meet.
History of Mudipu Hill Shrine:
Mudipu which is about 8 km from Fajir Church is in between and borders Fajir, Ammembal and Vorkady parishes. Mudipu is an extensive village out of the 19 wards of Fajir Parish, 4 wards come under Mudipu Chapel. They are Pandikatta, Yermatti, Arkan and Kurnad. There are about a hundred families coming under these 4 wards.
Besides there are 25 families of Ammembal and Vorkady, who are living closer to Mudipu Chapel and later joined to Mudipu Parish made into Ira, Church, Sunangala and Kanthoor Kutatajje wards. Earlier Mudipu was a part of Panir Parish which was known as Pandikatta. Now it is divided into 4 wards. There is a hill in Mudipu which also belonged to Panir Parish. In 14.9.1937 the Pandikatta ward of Panir Parish was handed over to Fajir Parish together with the hill, the later as a donation.
Mudipu hill is a place of great importance which has a special history behind it. Rev.Fr. Joseph Vaz, born in Goa in the year 1651, April 21, worked in the Diocese of Mangalore from the year 1681 to 1684 and reached Mudipu preaching the Good News. He went house to house teaching catechism and serving the poor and the marginalized. This brought great joy to the people and was eagerly looking forward to his coming. But some people were against him and were trying to destroy him and his work. The place where they tried to harm him and kill him for his faith is marked even today upon the hill at Mudipu. Even today the faithful visit this place with great reverence and devotion. Later Fr. Joseph Vaz went to Sri Lanka and died there. For his virtues and the kind of life he led, he was made venerable in 1989 and the “Blessed” in 1995. Ten years later he is canonized as a saint and given the honor of the Altar and 14 January 2015 will be a great day for the people of Mudipu.
This inauguration and the blessing of the Mudipu Chapel were held on May 10, 1993. The day’s programme began with the formal inauguration of the chapel by Rt. Rev.Msgr.Aloysius D’Souza, the Vicar General of the Diocese. The inaugural programme followed by the concelebrated Eucharistic celebration presided over by very Rt.Rev.Basil D’Souza, The Bishop of Mangalore then. The Bishop in his message to the participants and the parish members said, “The church which is built on this holy land where Venerable Fr. Joseph Vaz himself had once walked, is dedicated to St. Joseph. May Venerable Joseph Vaz dedicated life is an inspiration to the people of this parish to grow in love of God through the service of the neighbour”.
The New Mudipu Parish was erected as parish on June 29,1997 on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul by Rt. Rev.Dr.Aloysius P. D’Souza; Fr. Alwyn D’Cunha was appointed as the First Parish Priest. The new Parish was dedicated to Blessed Joseph Vaz.The New Parish Council came into existence on Sept. 7, 1997. November 30, 1997 was a historical day in the history of Mudipu Parish. On that day a small Shrine of Blessed Joseph Vaz was inaugurated in front of the church. The life size statue of Blessed Joseph Vaz was brought in procession from Mudipu bus stand to the shrine, and was blessed Rt.Rev.Dr.Aloysius D’Souza. Nearly 3500 people took part in the event. On Aug.23,2001 the foundation stone was laid for the chapel in Mudipu Hill, and the chapel was inaugurated on Feb.12, 2004.
Rev. Fr. Andrew D’Souza took over the charge on May 21, 2004. He beautified the whole campus. He tried to build the communication between Sri Lanka and Goa. The relic of Blessed Joseph Vaz was brought from Srilanka. Counseling was started in the shrine and also on the eve of Tri-Death centenary of Blessed Joseph vaz the novena day was changed to Fridays. Foundation for the ‘Sahuardha Bhavanan’ and the dining hall was laid on April 17, 2008. 60 cents of land was bought and the grottos and entrances were constructed. Rev. Fr. Gregory D’Souza took the charge on June 01, 2011. He is committed to the progress of the shrine. ‘Friday Meals’ are still served to the devotees. There are many more projects need to be implemented under the guidance of present director.
About St Joseph Vaz:
Joseph Vaz was born on April 21, 1651 in Benovlim, Goa as the third son of Christopher Vaz and Miranda. He became a priest in 1676 and served in different parishes of Goa till 1681. Later he was sent to Canara. Fr Joseph Vaz travelled from Goa barefoot and served in Honnavar, Basrur, Kundapur, Gangoli, Mulki, Mangaluru and Ullal Panir. He survived an attempt on his life in 1684, when he was serving as the parish priest of Panir Church. His ambition was to work as a missionary in Sri Lanka.
Life of St Joseph Vaz – Apostle of Kanara and Sri Lanka:
1651 – Born in Benaulim, Goa, India, on April 21.
1676 – Is ordained a priest. Shortly after, volunteers to go to Sri Lanka where the Dutch were persecuting Catholics and had banned all priests from entering the island. The Chapter of Goa refuses his offer because the mission would have meant certain death for him.
1681 – Is sent to rescue the almost extinct mission in Kanara, present-day Karnataka in India. Rebuilds the Church in Mangalore and Kanara, establishes missions, tends to the sick, ransoms prisoners.
1684 – Returns to Goa and joins a band of native Indian priests who formed a community.
1685 – Founds a religious Congregation, the ‘Oratory of St. Philip Neri’, on September 25.
1686 – Leaves Goa secretly and sets out for Sri Lanka.
1687 – Arrives in Jaffna in the Tamil region of Sri Lanka, with a servant, John Vaz, both disguised as coolies. He works with a price on his head.
1691 – Is almost captured by the Dutch and is advised to go to Kandy. Is brought into Kandy in chains and imprisoned as a Portuguese spy by the Buddhist King, Vimaladharna Surya II.
1693 – Works a miracle of rain during a severe drought. The King releases him and gives him protection and freedom to preach in his kingdom. As in Goa and in Mangalore, is often seen in ecstasy in prayer. The people call him “Sammana Swami” or Angelic Father.
1697 – Is joined by three of his Indian Oratorians from Goa. During a small-pox epidemic in Kandy, the King and the people flee the capital. Fr. Vaz and Fr. Carvalho, tend to the dying and abandoned victims for almost two years.
1705 – Dedicates the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu.
1711 – Dies in Kandy on January 16, after 23 years of arduous missionary work in Sri Lanka.
The Work of St Joseph Vaz:
His missionary work was not colonial, not helped, authorized, associated with conquest by a colonial power. He gained the protection of a non-Christian King, Vimaladharma Surya II, a devout Buddhist. He used Inculturation as a missionary method. He founded a Catholic para-liturgy and literature using the two languages and cultures of Sri Lanka, Tamil and Sinhalese; he practiced and taught Meditation.
He educated his servant John Vaz, a member of the Indigenous tribe of Kunbis, and sent him back to Goa with a letter of recommendation to the priesthood. At that time, the Portuguese Church Councils reserved the priesthood only for the two higher castes in Goa. He rescued and expanded the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu, one of the 5 officially crowned Marian Shrines of the Church. It was crowned for its fame for miracles and for pilgrimages in 1924, even before Fatima.
He is the first non-European native in modern times to found a Mission and Church in a “Third World” country; to found a fully native Catholic Religious Congregation; and to be given the official title of “Apostle” (of Kanara and Sri Lanka) by the Church, for his work in rescuing th Church there. His Indian Oratorian Mission is the only fully native, non-European Catholic Mission of our colonial era.
The Church he re-founded in Sri Lanka was persecuted and survived isolation from Rome for 140 years: “Here is a country in which the faith was first preached, and a Church founded with great success to flourish for over a century, by missionaries who, being afterwards forced by the political failure of their nation to abandon the field, left this island for good and their converts without churches or priests and under the heel of a persecutor; and a single priest (Joseph Vaz) from another country, came here of his own accord and labouring heroically with a price upon his head, revived the faith and made many conversions in the subsequent political, social and ecclesiastical changes in the country were ever able to undo his work. It must be stated with caution and subject to correction, but no other instance of such an achievement is known in Christendom.”
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