REGION OF NAGAR HAVELI – DAMAN – VAPI
The history of the growth of the Mission of Nagar Haveli and of the Region of Nagar- Haveli (later on Daman, Vapi, and Vadtal were added) are intimately connected with the progress/growth of the Society. The roots of this Mission/Region go right into the Re-organization of the Society. Fr. Jose Albuquerque, the then in-charge of the Mission of Dapadda joined the first group of Re-organizers in 1939 to start his Novitiate but with his eyes set to return to his mission with more missionaries of Pilar. The Society of Pilar, which was re-organized with the aim of preaching the Gospel to non-Christians, accepted the mission of Nagar Haveli in order to “CONCRETIZE” its action in terms of evangelizing and making disciples, Fr. Jose Albuquerque, Fr. Theodolindo Cabral and (later on) Bro. Peter Mascarenhas landed in the Mission of Dapadda in 1940 to take its charge. Thus Dapadda became the first Local Community of Pilar Fathers to be run according to the constitutions of the society. In 1944, after the transfer of the Deanery of Dapadda to Khanwel (effectuated by the decree of the Patriarch Costa Nunes in 1943) – Fr. Jose Albuquerque having Bro. Peter Mascarenhas as his auxiliary opened the local unit of Khanwel. In 1946, Chisda became residential Mission post with Fr. Joseph Menezes as the resident Priest. In 1949, Fr. Assis Dias was appointed Dean of Khanwel and Regional Superior. However no document is available to establish when Nagar Haveli was erected as Region. In 1948 Fr. Joseph Menezes went to Sindoni and opened in Sindnipadda a residential mission station with a School and hostel. From 1950 missionaries went on evangelizing Karchond, Kauncha, Gumsa, Bildori – where they also opened primary schools. All these efforts were culminated with the opening in 1951,of a new residential mission station in Dudhni Fr. Mariano Pereira : he together with Bro. Thomas Borges formed the first local Community of Pilar Fathers. In 1954 the Society took over the Parish of Silvassa and established its first local community with Fr. Joao Pedro Menezes and Bro. Alex D’Mello. However our local communities in Khanwel area were facing various problems and difficulties. After assessing the situation the General Council approved in 1963the policy of “Centralization” and closed the local communities of Chisda, Sindoni and Dudhni. From thence, missionaries started residing in Khanwel and running all the activities in the established mission posts through the help of lay personnel. After a period of 15 years, Sindonim and Dudhnim were re-opened as residential mission stations (between 1979 to 1980) and established again as local communities. By this time Vapi also became a residential mission station and after some time a local community. In 1964 the Society of Pilar took over the 3 parishes of Daman with resident Parish Priests. The latest addition of local communities in the Region of Nagar-Haveli- Daman are Karasganv – Velluganv, (1994), Vadtal (1995) and Khempur (1997).
This is our first mission station in Nagar-Haveli. The Franciscan Brothers began the work in 1923 – 1932. Dapadda was erected as “Missio Sui Juris” called “ Mission of St. Francis Xavier, Dapadda” by Patriarch D’ Teotonio Vieira de Castro in 1935. In 1941 the Society of Pilar took up that Mission and Fr. J. Albuquerque was put in charge of the same. Fr. T. Cabral is much remembered for his catechetical instructions. The old Church was built in 1936 and remolded and renovated in 1960 – 1961.
Bro. Lawrence Fernandes, Fr. Santana Sequeira and Fr. Bessa Noronha directed the reconstruction work of the church. In 1956, Patriarch D. Jose Vieira Alvernaz erected Dapadda as a Parish.
The Franciscan Brothers began working in Khanwel from 1930. Bro. Garcia deserves a special mention. In 1936 the Convent of Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters was opened. In 1943 Khanwel was erected as Deanery of the Mission instead of Dapadda by Patriarch D. Jose da Costa Nunes. The Church was built in 1950 under the direction of Fr. Assis Dias, the Parish Priest. In1956 patriarch D. Jose Vieira Alvernaz made Khanwel a Parish.
SINDONIM – CHISDA
Bro. Ambrose of the Franciscan Brothers did initial work in Sindnipadda. In 1948 Fr. J. Menezes established mission station in this place and started gradually visiting Hatipadda, Sindonim, Berpa, Casteripadda. In 1954 the residential centre was transferred from Sindnipadda to Sindonim. Construction of Chapel was stared by Fr. Jacinto Almeida in 1991 and completed by Fr. Francis Fernandes in 1994.
The Franciscan Brothers started working here about in 1936. Bro. Ambrose is very much remembered for the good work he did. Construction of the Chapel was initiated in 1948 by Fr. Cirilo Pereira and was continued by Fr. Cypriano Ferrao. It was completed by Fr. Tome Moniz in 1952, who also built the residence and school.
The Franciscan Brothers of Borivili started mission work in Shelti from1934. Fr. Manuel Colaco a diocesan Priest did an excellent work here in the spiritual and social fields from 1935 to 1946. He built the Chapel in 1936. Later on, it was renovated by Fr. Roque Fernandes.
Work in this mission was started by Fr. Mariano Pereira and Fr. Jose Menezes in 1950, first in Karchond, then in Kauncha, Jambalpadda, Gunsa and Bildori. The Chapel was built in 1961 by Fr. Joseph Menezes. Fr. Mariano Pereira who did the pioneering work suffered much in the process of planting the church in the area.
This was a residential mission from 1935 and Fr. Antonio Jose Saldanha (a Diocesan Priest) was the Chaplain. In 1940 Velluganv ceased to be a residential post and fathers from Dapadda were looking after its pastoral ministry. In 1957 Velluganv was attached to Khanwel Parish and missionary work in full swing was started in 1964. Fr. Santana Sequeira provided this post with a school and Hostel. In 1994 Karasganv Farm was established as a local community of two members and Fr. Joseph Rodrigues put in Charge of the same. The Velluganv mission post has been attached now to the Karasganv community for the purpose of pastoral ministry.
This Parish was established in 1886. The Church was built in 1889. Due to the earthquake in the monsoon of 1912, the Church suffered extensive damage and had to be closed for religious services for about 12 years. During this period the Church services was held at St. Francis Xavier Chapel at Thokarkadda. The Church was repaired and re-opened in June of 1924. In 1953 this Parish was entrusted to the care of Pilar Fathers. Fr. Joao Pedro Menezes began the Fr. Agnelo English School in Silvassa in 1964.
MOTI DAMAN, FORT, NANI DAMAN
The Pilar Fathers took charge of this Parish in June 1967. The first Priest of the Society of Pilar, as parish priest was Fr. Jerome Caetano D’Souza.
The Pilar Fathers took charge of this Parish in March 1965.
Together with Fort and Moti Daman Parish, Nani Daman was taken over by the Pilar Fathers on 1965.
The whole taluka of Pardhi in Gujarat with headquarters in Vapi was entrusted by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Ignatius D’Souza, Bishop of Baroda to the Pilar Fathers in 1976. Fr. Sergio Mascarenhas was appointed as its first Parish Priest on 15/3/77. He did pioneering work in Vapi and started the Ashadam institutions, and Mother of Hope School. He also extended the area of Ashadam action to Chanod where another English School, the St. Mary’s was founded by him.
Vadtal Parish is one of the oldest mission stations in the Diocese of Ahmedabad. It was started by Fr. Augustin Martin S.J. (a German Father) in 1896. The Church was inaugurated on the 18th March 1899. Renovated and extended in 1990. Taken over by Pilar Fathers in June 1996.
Roughly in 1972, a Jesuit Priest, Fr. Victor Davamony, landed here and lived a Sanyasi life backed by the Balasinor Parish Priest Fr. Gazo S.J. He lived in a small hut and started a School there itself. In 1982 a pukka residence and later on the hostel and high school building were built.
JUHU – AMBARNATH ADMINSTRATIVE UNIT
After the sad development at Agnel Ashram in 1977, the General Council Suspended the Regional Administration of the Bombay Region and in the course of time a new Administrative set up was created to administer its constituents units: Juhu-Tara, Ambarnath and all members attached to Bombay. Fr. Agnelo Noronha was appointed Delegate of the Superior General. The other who followed in various periods are: Fr. Inacinho Dourado (1978-81), Fr. Ubaldo Fernandes (1981 to 1982), Fr. Nolasco Dias (1992). The General Council issued special norms in 1987 for the running of the Juhu-Ambarnath Unit.
The Archdiocese of Bombay entrusted Ambarnath to the Society of Pilar in 1951. Earlier, Ambarnath was ministered by Rev. Fr. Simon Fernandes (a Diocesan Priest) residing at Lourdes Church, Kalya West. The late Fr. J Albuquerque and Fr. I. Dourado did the pioneering works, residing in a small rented house at Kher Section (Ambarnath East). Bro. S. Barneto, Bro. Henry D’Souza and Bro. Peter Mascarenhas helped to collect funds to develop Ambarnath. Fr Albuquerque bought a piece of land adjacent to a land bought by the Parishioners to put up a School building. The Fatima School began in1952 with 39 students and 2 teachers. The ground floor was inaugurated and blessed by H.E. Cardinal V. Gracias on 6th Nov. 1953.
The Majestic Church building was built by late Fr. Tome Moniz in 1964. The spacious Parish house SATCHIT is the work of then Parish Priest Fr. Ubaldo Fernandes and his team.
Holy Cross Parish was accepted by the Society on 24th June 1979. Fr. Joseph F. Dias was the first Pilar Father to become the Parish Priest. He built the Church in 1979 and the School was completed by him in 1984. Archbishop Simon Pimenta blessed the foundation stone of the new Church on 14/9/79. Fr. Thomas Gonsalves as the Assistant Parish Priest gave his precious contribution to bring up Juhu in the initial stage.
In the olden days Badlapur and Ulhasnagar were small Sunday Mass Centres of Ambarnath Parish. In the course of years the two centres has grown. The Catholics of Badlapur get together and established in 1978 the Badlapur Catholic Associations (B.C.A). The BCA received a gift of an acre land from one of its own members (Mr. Anthony D’Souza) and a community hall was built on it. It was inaugurated on 24th March 1991 by the then Parish Priest of Ambarnath Fr. Kyriel D’Souza. Since then the hall is the Mass Centre for Badlapur community. In 1996 some ad hoc quarters were built attached to the community hall and Fr. Peter Mathias and Fr. Ramesh Mahale were deputed to open the new residential mission station of Badlapur.
Tumsar comes under Bhandara District in Maharashtra under the Archdiocese of Nagpur. Till 1999 it was a part of Gondhia Parish At. Joseph Church, a distance of 69 k.m. towards south of Tumsar.
After taking over the mission of Tumsar at the request of Most Rev. Abraham Viruthakalangara, the Archbishop of Nagpur, it was erected into a Parish under the patronage of St. Francis Xavier on 18th July 1999. There are around 32 catholic families spread out into different areas.
There are DMI sisters they reach out to the people through their social Apostolate. Till last November ’06 the liturgical services were held in a rental clinic. The new Church is inaugurated on 19th December’06. The Mission of Tumsar was earlier under the mission of Bhopal. In the year 2003 it was handed over to the Mumbai Province.
Mission of Khempur
The state of Gujarat is divided into three dioceses: the diocese of Ahmedabad, the diocese of Rajkot and the diocese of Baroda. Khempur belong to the Ahmedabad diocese. Geographically it is situated in the district of Panchmahals. Panchmahals is surrounded by Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Khempur parish is the only parish of Panchmahals belonging to the Ahmedabad diocese.
The Khempur Ashram was started by Fr. Ignas Gazo sj. A Spanish priest in 1980. He used to manage bit by being at the same time, the parish priest of Balasinor parish, which is 25 km away. Swami Devamani (Fr. Victor sj.) came to stay here in 1983. In the beginning he dido forty days retreat in a closely temple, kedereshwar. He wore saffron clothes, carried trishul and observed noble silence every Friday. He did lot of service and taught values to the people. R. Ignas Gazo, sj, himself replaced him who did lot of social service to the people. It was taken over by the Pilar Fathers in *1997. Fr. Emilio Almeida sfx was the Parish Priest (first Pilar Father to take over). The diocesan priests have been rendering help especially in school, Fr. Kutiachen, Fr. Appaturai and presently Fr. John Baptist. The Vincent De Paul Sisters have been here since 1989. Sr. Theresa Pegado D.C. is replaced by ne superior Sr. Jonah Tuscana d.c. recently, besides there are other four sisters. Fr. Vitorino Fernandes, sfx, is the present Parish priest and Fr. Johnson Sequeira sfx, is the assistant parish priest. Fr. John Baptist a diocesan will complete four years of his service to the school and parish, is part of the community.
The Khempur Ashram Khempur caters to education, medicine, irrigation and other social activities. It si also known as Catholic Church Khempur. The Khempur parish has around 20 Catholics of which three are Priests, 5 nuns, 6 boarders and rest workers (Orrisa, Bihar, Gujarat). There are some Methodist students in the boarding. The is no Christian of the place proper Khempur. The education altogether separate trust, the Karuna Niketan Society.
The Karuna Niketan Society, Khempur (K.N.E.S.) has under it ;
(a) The Modern High School. (VIII, IX, X)
- Started in 1980 in a village since it was dying the government asked it to be taken over. It was brought in the Ashram Compound in 1984.
- Since then the Principal of the School is Mr. Panchalbhai Ratilalbhai.
- This academic year 1999 –2000 the school first time tasted cent percent result.
- Presently there are 20 students in the four classes i.e. VIIIA, VIIIB, IX & X.
(b) Sanctioned Primary School. (V, VI, VII)
- The Present Principal is Sr. Shilpa Macwan.
- There are 150 students in there classes.
(c) Matruchaya Kumar Chatralaya (Boys boarding (V-X)
- There are 130 boys in the boarding, among them 56bnpys are regonised by the Government.
- There is a boarding master, two cooks and a watchman for the boarding regonised by the Government.