St Patrick’s Church Celebrates 175th Year
Bengaluru: Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio, presided over a con-celebrated Mass at St Patrick’s Church on Monday 10 October 2016. He was the main celebrant and chief guest at the celebrations of the 175th year of its existence. Archbishop Bernard Moras, several bishops from within and outside Karnataka were also present on the occasion. Scores of priests of the Archdiocese and others from outside including national delegates of various organizations, provincial superiors of different congregations took part at the conclusion of the three-day celebrations.
In his homily, Archbishop Pennacchio said that he was happy to be part of the thanksgiving Mass on the celebrations. He spoke of the Year of Mercy, declared by Pope Francis last year. Archbishop Salvatore elaborated on the work done by St Mother Teresa of Kolkata. He said that St Mother Teresa did a lot for the poor and the abandoned, she made a great sacrifice for the love Christ.
He touched upon the theme of the liturgy and referred to the day’s readings. He said Christ is the temple representing the Church from which flows the life-giving water. Archbishop Salvatore completed six years as nuncio reminded a packed church to imitate Christ in all respects. Stressing the importance and the great role St. Patrick’s Church played in the past 175 years said the people are the real temple and it is a family of flourishing and growing Church.
He appreciated the work done by Archbishop Moras and the parish priest, Fr C Francis and all other parish priests of the past. Prior to the Eucharistic celebrations, the nuncio unveiled a portrait of St Patrick, painted by a diocesan priest. The Apostolic Nuncio blessed two pieces of granite which will be the foundation stones for the new presbytery and a multi-purpose building to be constructed as the 175th-year memorial.
Archbishop Moras of Bengaluru Archdiocese speaking on the occasion thanked the nuncio for his presence despite his busy schedule. Dr Moras said that the nuncio made 200 journeys from Delhi to various dioceses and different parts of the country. Bengaluru was the city the nuncio visited the maximum, he revealed when Archbishop Moras asked him on their way to the venue. The nuncio came from Kochi after attending a function there and was scheduled to fly to Malasia from Bengaluru. Dr Moras said the nuncio is getting a transfer to Poland at the end of this month. The nuncio is a good friend of the Archdiocese and a special friend “for me”(of Archbishop Moras). The nuncio has ordained 39 bishops in India and 49 as Apostolic Nuncio.
Archbishop Salvatore was ordained by St (Pope) John Paul II and he is being transferred to his country. Archbishop Moras wished him to reach Vatican taking up higher posts in the future especially to be the prince of the Church (Cardinal) one day.
Archbishop Moras also thanked Msgr C Francis for the wonderful work he is doing for the parish and all the arrangements for the celebrations. Earlier, MSGR C Francis introduced the chief guest and welcomed him and others while giving a brief history of St Patrick’s Church. St Patrick’s was the first head office of the undivided diocese of Mysuru.
Fr Bala Francis welcomed all bishops, priests, nuns and all others to the grand celebrations. He said five bishops are buried in the church. The 3 rd Eucharistic Congress was held at St Patrick’s Church. This is also one of the oldest churches in Bengaluru. The church stands in the prime area of the city. Originally consecrated to Our Lady, it served as a Cathedral and as a personal parish.
The foundation for the construction of the church was laid in July 1841. The church was dedicated after the construction to the honour of the blessed trinity, under the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Archangel and was dedicated to as the “Church of the Assumption”. However, even before it was completed, it came to be known as St Patrick’s Church, due to its popularity with Irish troops stationed in the vicinity. Fr Jacques Henry Gailhot was the first parish priest of the church. He was then the Roman Catholic Chaplain for the British troops. The church was part of Mysuru diocese and bishop Charbonnaux of Mysutu made it his Cathedral in 1845.
In 1891, Fr M Taband became the parish priest. He opened the school and orphanage and began re-building the church between 1894 and 1899, adding among other things, a pair of steeples. The church was consecrated as the cathedral of the Mysuru diocese on November 12, 1899 by Bishop Kleiner. During the 3 rd Eucharistic Congress, some bishops were consecrated here on October 28, 1922.
In 1940, Bangaluru was erected as a separate diocese and St Francis Xavier’s became the Cathedral. The church was further renovated twice in 2000 and 2012. Among the 17 parish priests who served the church, the recent ones include Fr Francis Xavier, MSGR S Jayanathan, Fr Sagayanathan and Msgr C Francis who is the present parish priest and also Vicar General.
The chief guest, all bishops, some of the past parish priests and the present one were presented with shawls, garlands and gifts. N A Haris, Local MLA and local Corporator were also honoured on the occasion.