St Francis Xavier Church Udyavar all set for Inauguration on April 28

Udupi: The newly built St Francis Xavier Church Udyavar is all set to be inaugurated on Thursday, April 28, at 9:00 am said Fr Dr Roque D’Souza parish priest of the Church.

Addressing the media persons on April 20 at the Church premises Fr Roque said that Native of Udyavar and also the Bishop of Jabalpur diocese Most Dr Gerald D’Almeida, will inaugurate the new Church by opening the main carved door. Bishop of Udupi Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo will conduct the rite of blessing of the new Church along with the Holy Mass. Besides these two Bishops, Dr Robert Miranda, Bishop of Gulburga will preach and concelebrate the mass. Many Priests both from Udupi and Mangalore dioceses and from outside will also participate. We expect more than 5,000 people on that day.

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The new Church has gained public attention, as the media reported the installation of the all-weather fiberglass statue of Christ the Redeemer on the top of the 105 feet dome. There are a few more special features inside: the niches above windows and doors are decorated with beautiful stained glass depicting many Biblical motifs, 14 Stations of the Cross and 20 Mysteries of the Rosary. Two large oil paintings in the front of the side aisle depict the life and the mission of St Francis Xavier, the Patron of the Church. The main Altar of the former Church with its Corinthian columns is finely fitted into the new Sanctuary of the Church. The whole Church nave has a single fan and the walls are mounted with wooden panels for better sound effects. With the “U” shaped balcony, the whole Church has 900 seats with pews for worshippers. Engineer-Professors from MIT Dany Pinto, Yogesh Chandra and Gopalkrishna Bhat have designed and directed this new Gothic style Church with the Dome and Bell Tower; and contractor Marshal Rodrigues has executed the work.

After the inauguration and Blessing ceremony of the Church, a public stage programme will commence at 11:30 am. Eminent local leaders, both religious and secular have assured their participation.

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Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo Bishop of Udupi Diocese will be presiding over the function. Dr Gerald Almeida Bishop of Jabalpur Diocese and Dr Robert Miranda Bishop of Gulbarga Diocese will grace the occasion.

Fr Fred Mascarenhas Dean of Udupi Deanery, Shobha Karandlaje MP Udupi-Chikkamagaluru, Oscar Fernandes MP Rajya Sabha, Vinay Kumar Sorake MLA Kaup, Minister for Urban Development and district minister in-charge, Pramod Madhwaraj MLA Udupi, J R Lobo MLA Mangalore South, Ivan D’Souza MLC, U T Khader MLA Ullal and Minster for Health and family welfare government of Karnataka, Veronica Cornelio Chairperson Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Ltd, Sugandhi Shekar president Udyavar Grama Panchayat, Antony Fernandes of Minority Cell, George Castelino Nakre member of Karnataka State Christian Development Board, Archaka Sri Ranganath Bhat, Moulana Abdul Rasheed Rehamani, Haji Abdul Jaleel Saheb Halima Sabju Auditorium Udyavar, Jerry Vincent Dias and Udyavaraites Dubai founder President Gerald Pereira Bolje will be present.

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As the work started in May 2014, much of it was a renovation work. The Govt. of Karnataka has considered favorably our application for aid from the allocation marked for Church renovation and has sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for the work. We remain grateful to the Minority Dept. of the Govt. of Karnataka. The building project has been fully supported by generous contributions from the local people, Catholics, and non-Catholics. [Gone are the days when Churches were supported from funds of the Western Churches. Hence, we wish to celebrate the inauguration and blessing Programme with our friends and benefactors and all the people of Udyavar, irrespective of caste and creed. To translate this aspiration, two events Hore Kanike and Inter-Religious Meet are marked in the afternoon of Sunday, 24 April 2016. Everybody is welcome on 28.04.2016 for the Inauguration. A fellowship meal at 1:30 pm will be served to all attending the programme. The Building Committee and the Inauguration Committee have galvanized the people for the upcoming events.

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Historical Background

The new Church stands in the same location of the previous one. Udyavar Parish has a history of 150 years. Thanks to the initiatives of two Udyavarites late Domingo G.Pereira and late Louis Lobo who secured from Goan Archbishop the sanctioning of the new Church in Udyavar. Till then the Christians of the area belonged to Milagres Church of Kallianpur. The first Church in Udyavar was built in 1866 at Melpete near the rock temple where the present English medium school is now located. Due to the nature of the site, Venerable Monsignor RFC Mascarenhas shifted the location to Guddeangady and built a new Church there which was blessed on January 6, 1909. It was a beautiful Gothic Church but became too small for the growing community in recent years. As Msgr RFC Mascarenhas is on the way to be elevated to the honour of Blessedness, much caution was exercised to discern the nature of the new Church. During the tenure of two former Parish Priests Fr Charles Noronha and Fr Cyprian Pinto the churning went on. Finally, a consensus emerged in April 2014. It was agreed upon by all stakeholders to build a new Church on the same site by preserving the main altar (Garbhagudi) of the last Church and extending the structure as wide and as long as possible while paying attention to the Gothic elements. Hence, the new structure has many arches and a Dome to crown the Sanctuary. This Dome imitates the features of the dome of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The Dome is a miniature sky above the earth and symbolizes the communication between humans on earth with God in heaven. The present Parish Priest Fr Dr Roque D’Souza having done in Germany his doctoral studies in theology, and having taught theology in Mangalore Seminary has given expressions to the above features in this new Church. But he says that it is not the work of one man. Being in touch with all the parishioners, he has taken into confidence the Parish consultative bodies and formed the Church Building Committee. From among them, 12 were chosen to form the Core Committee which steered the entire work. All have supported the work with one heart and one mind.

As the work started in May 2014, much of it was a renovation work. The Govt. of Karnataka has considered favorably our application for aid from the allocation marked for Church renovation and has sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for the work. We remain grateful to the Minority Dept. of the Govt. of Karnataka. The building project has been fully supported by generous contributions from the local people, Catholics, and non-Catholics. [Gone are the days when Churches were supported from funds of the Western Churches. Hence, we wish to celebrate the inauguration and blessing Programme with our friends and benefactors and all the people of Udyavar, irrespective of caste and creed. To translate this aspiration, two events Hore Kanike and Inter-Religious Meet are marked in the afternoon of Sunday, 24 April 2016. Everybody is welcome on 28.04.2016 for the Inauguration. A fellowship meal at 1:30 pm will be served to all attending the programme. The Building Committee and the Inauguration Committee have galvanized the people for the upcoming events.

Lawrence D’Sa Vice president, Michael D’Souza Secretary, Melvin Noronha Building Committee Coordinator, John M D’Souza and Irene Pereira Media Spokespersons, Stevan Colaco Media Coordinator and Dany Pinto were present.

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