News & Pics by Ancy Paladka
Daijiworld Media Network – Mumbai (SP)
Mumbai, Feb 10: A New church dedicated to the native saint Gonsalo Garcia was inaugurated by Fr Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Vasai on February 8 at 5pm. The church is located near the Bishop’s House in Vasai which is also known as New Barampur area. This new parish has a large number of Konkani-speaking people.
"The entire Vasai Diocese is for the people of all languages," declared the Bishop while inaugurating the church. "We have worked very hard, hand-in-hand to build this church and the land of agriculture has become the land of God today," he said.
Vasai, a suburb of Mumbai, is known for Catholics of different ethnicity and for the churches. Historically Vasai has a significant status. Christianity is flourishing here since the last 2000 years. It is said that St Bartholomew, one of the disciples of Jesus, had brought Christianity here.
When the son of the soil Gonsalo Garcia, a Franciscan Friar, who was crucified on February 5, 1597 in Nagasaki Hills, Japan and later canonized on June 8, 1862, the importance of the place grew. St Gonasalo Garcia, born to Portuguese father and a Canarese (resident of the Konkan coast) mother in Bassein (now Vasai), on February 5, 1557 is the first Indian saint and the only male Indian saint of today.
Though Vasai is a small place, it houses about a dozen churches. Because of the pleasant weather and the railway facilities, people keep migrating to this place in large numbers.
Before the inauguration, there was a procession from the Bishop’s House to the newly-built church, accompanied by a brass band. A beautiful dance was presented by the children while entering the gates of the church. The Bishop was then welcomed with the Aarthi and a Bindi. Then the parish priest handed over the model of the new church to the Bishop. It represented the handing over of the building to the Bishop, which he will consecrate as a church. The Bishop inaugurated the church by cutting the ribbon. All the doors of the church were declared open. After entering the church, the Bishop blessed the water and the holy water was sprinkled onto the altar, walls and corners of the church. After reading the word of God and singing litany of saints, the Bishop anointed the altar with the holy oil. Then it was blessed with the holy incense. Then the altar was decorated with the flowers. Candles were lighted.
Fr Tony Jurschik SJ, Fr Cedrick Rebello, Fr Diego Pereira, Fr Godfrey Remedius, Fr Rajesh Lopes, Fr Valentine Pawkar, Fr Andrew Rodrigues, Msgr Francis Correa, Fr Elias D’Cunha, Fr Barthalo Machado, Fr Francis Dabre along with the Bishop concelebrated the mass.
There was a felicitation programme after the mass. Along with the Bishop and the priests, the Navghar-Manickpur Muncipal Council president Narayan Mankar was also present at the dais. Bishop released the souvenir along with the editors Aveline Pinto and Ronald Lewis. He was felicitated by the parish priest Valentine Pawkar. Then the bishop felicitated the parish priest, assistant parish priest Fr Rajesh Lewis and resident priest Fr Francis Dabre, vicar general Fr Andrew Rodrigues, Monsgr Francis Correa, Fr Diago Pereira, Fr Cedric Rebello, Fr Tony Jurschik SJ, Fr Elias D’Cunha, Fr Godfrey Remedius, Fr Rajesh Lopes, Fr Joe Pithekar and Br Cedric Andrade.
Thereafter, the Bishop and the parish priest also felicitated some lay people who were involved with building the church. Nagar Parishad president Narayan Mankar, vice-president Prakash Rodrigues, corporators Apte Frank D’Souza, P V K Nambiar and Manohar Patil were also present on the occasion.