St Vincent Ferrer church turns 75 on R-day


Dr . Rose Veera D’Souza, 21-01-2011 19:09:30


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The place witnessed the growing base for the spiritual claims of the Christian faith way back in 1914

Situated in the bustling surroundings of Kankanady, St Vincent Ferrer church in Valencia stands out as a unique place today, pervading serenity. Prior to 1935, this place was a burial ground popular as “barrypalke sudkad” which was alienated to the Bishop of Mangalore by the then Madras government for burial purpose.

 

 

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The place witnessed the growing base for the spiritual claims of the Christian faith way back in 1914, when the residents of Kankanady and Jappinnamogaru joined together to appeal for a separate parish, independent of Rosario Cathedral and Milagres church. The replicated demands of the parishioners, substantiated with the assurances of financial assistance gathered momentum in 1922.  The popular relegious institutes, serving within the vicinity of the church also supported such demand. Rt Rev V R Fernandes, the then Bishop of Mangalore, considered these appeals and decreed the erection of this parish with effect from March 3, 1935 dedicating it to the patronage of St Vincent Ferrer of Valencia. That’s how the old “Barrypalkhe Sudkad” became modern ‘Valencia’.

Though the parish came into existence on March 3, 1935, the parish did not have a church building, hence the parochial services were conducted in the mortuary Chapel which was established near the burial ground for the priest at the east end. The clergy requested the government to sanction one acre land within the premises allotted in order to develop a church building. However, a few recalcitrant who had their foothold at Milagres did not relish the idea of being separated from the Milagres parish opposed the establishment of a church saying that it is against their sentiments, as their ancestors are buried at Milagres.

They objected the church services being performed at the Mortuary chapel too and petitioned against the collector, revenue office and Muncipality who in due course made it clear that Bishop is authorised to decide upon it. However, opponents filed a civil suit against the Bishop and the government officials. As a result, the services were shifted to one Salvodore Lobo’s residence and later to Cyril Monteiro’s house on rent.

The civil suit continued till 1941 and the case was dismissed by the court and allowed a new church building at Valencia. The foundation stone for the new church building was blessed in 1942 and the construction of the church building began under the able leadership and zeal of Rev Fr Monthu Menezes, the first vicar of the parish with the goodwill and generosity of the parishioners and supporters. On January 9, 1944 the spiritual and religious services were shifted to the newly built church and in the subsequent years the presbytery was built.

It was the time of II World War when scarcity of every goods was evident in every nook and corner.

To get cement and mortar wasn’t easy. Yet people gave their time and energy to build this church on which they were to proclaim their religious identity. Rev Fr Monthu Menezes worked hard and motivated the people for this task.

Since then, the church has witnessed laudable growth not only as spiritual base but also as a prime promoter of social change in the vicinity. The church which was raised with great difficulty of people’s sacrifice became the centre of religiosity to whole of Mangalore when in January 1956, the novena of Perpetual Succour began in Valencia, first of its kind in Mangalore. People from all over Mangalore participated in it. In 1962, the church came to be identified as the full-fledged church with a vicar and assistant priest with necessary amenities.

The church of Valencia also acted as a centre for social concern when it began to cater to the needs of the disadvantaged sections in the Souterpet locality. The cattle raising project 1967, the regular medical camps, basic need fund for the poor, awareness on health and hygiene, programme to develop human resources, and empower the women, have helped in the growth and prosperity of people.

In 1986, the nursery school for the children was established. In 1987, a church hall was built to cater to the needs of the church like ward meetings and other church programmes.   

The Valencia parish is celebrating its platinum jubilee year on January 26, 2011, encompassing the goals of integrated growth of spirituality and human values. The church today holds 985 families, one kindergarten school.

The religious houses like Holy Rosary convent, Daughters of Mary’s Heart convent,  Cloistered Carmel, St Ann’s Convent, St Gerosa convent, St Vincent Convent and St Vincent House, the Jesuit institutes like Asha Kiran and Fatima Retreat House, prominent hospitals like Fr Muller’s Institute, Retired Priests Home, St Antony’s Ashram, Roshni Nilaya Kindergarten and School of Social Work, St Gerosa school, are also serving within the geographical location of Valencia contributing to the growth and development of the region.  

All together the church has received the dedicated services of 14 parish priests and 31 assistant parish priests. At present, the church is led by the able and dedicated parish priest, Rev Fr Bonaventure Nazareth, who reaches out to all sections of people with humane approach, supported by the Assistant Parish Priest Rev Fr Roshan Crasta, with Parish Council Vice-president Arun Raj Rodrigues, Secretary Flavia Sequiera and the council members.

To commemorate this landmark of its history, the church has organised inclusive programmes, extending throughout the year to further strengthen the spirit for growth and excellence in service. Spirtiual growth programmes; health care programmes, go green and clean surroundings, sports week all have gone in to promote integrity and help people grow in love and concern for each other. The Church building extension work is taken up to accommodate the growing spiritual claims of the parishioners.

As the parish is celebrating 75 years of its fruitful existence, the parishioners hope that the Valencia parish become a torch bearer thus increasing the strength of civil society.  

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