Udupi: St. John Evangelist Parish Celebrates Centenary with Thanksgiving Mass and Felici

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By Dr. Eugene DSouza
Pics by Alphonse Mendonca
Bellevision Media Network

Udupi/Shankerpura, 20 Dec 2022: The Centenary Programme of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Pangala-Shankerpura that was inaugurated by Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo on 22 November 2021 culminated with the valedictory programme on Tuesday, 20 December 2022 with a solemn Thanksgiving Mass concelebrated by three Bishops-Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza- former Bishop of Mangalore Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha-Present Bishop of Mangalore Diocese and Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo-Bishop of Udupi Diocese and 35 priests. Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza was the chief celebrant.


Prior to the solemn Thanksgiving Mass, the members of the Parish Council along with other parishioners came in procession from the Shankerpura township to the church in a grand procession accompanied by the brass band from Honavara, holding colourful canopies and singing hymns.


In his introduction, Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza conveyed the greetings of the centenary celebration to all the Pangala parishioners. He said that the people of thee parish have written the history of 100 years of the parish through their faith and service. He recalled the fact that when he was the seminarian in Jeppu Mangalore, there were 22 seminarians belonging to Pangala Parish, highest for any parish in the Mangalore Diocese. The first Bishop of the Chikmagalur Diocese and Former Archbishop of Bangalore. Most Rev. Dr. Alphonse Mathias belonged to Pangala Parish.



In his homily, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha said that  Pangala means Jasmine flowers and fragrance, which have been famous all over the world. The beauty of a bride multiplies only when she is decked with Jasmine flowers. As Jasmine and fragrance are the integral part of Pangala, so also their faith and devotion to Almighty God. The patron saint of the parish, St. John the Evangelist was one of the favourite Apostles of Jesus Christ who had written in his Gospel that God is Love. We are the fragrance Jesus Christ as St. Paul had written in one of his letters. When a flower bud blossoms and spreads fragrance so also we should spread the fragrance of the teachings of Jesus Christ. On the occasion of the centenary celebration, it is but natural that all the parishioners manifest their gratitude to Almighty God through the solemn Thanksgiving Mass.



At the end of the Solemn Thanksgiving Mass, Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Gonsalves erxpressed gratitude to three Bishops and all the priests and parishioners who had participated in the Mass.


The Choir well trained by Rev. Fr. Valerian Mendonca, Rector of the Milagres Cathedral heightened the devotional fervour of the Thanksgiving Mass with melodious singing.


The felicitation programme commenced soon after the solemn Thanksgiving Mass. Following the prayer and welcome dances, the dignitaries occupied their chairs on the dais. The Centenary Valedictory programme was presided over by Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo. Other dignitaries on the dais included: Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha, Rev. Dr. Leslie D’Souza-Dean of Shirva Deanery and Parish Priest of Our Lady of Health Church, Shirva, Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Gonsalves-Parish Priest of Pangala, Rev. Fr. Alin Pinto and Rev. Fr. Vijay D’Souza-Assistant Priest of Pangala, Vinay Kumar Sorake-former MLA of Kaup Constituency, Albert W. D’Souza-Entrepreneur from Mumbai, Mrs. Indira Acharya-President of the Katapadi Grama Panchayat, John Rodrigues-Vice President of the Parish Pastoral Council and Mrs. Anita D’Souza-Secretary.


Following the welcome address by Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Gonsalves, Rev. Fr. Rayan D’Souza read out the Apostolic Blessing from Pope Francis sent to the Pangala Parishioners on the occasion of the Centenary celebration.


John Rodrigues narrated briefly the history of the Pangala Parish from its inception in 1922 and the various developments that had taken place under different Parish priests.


Three of the surviving former Parish priests of Pangala-Rev. Fr. Vincent Monteiro, Rev. Fr. Herald D’Souza and Rev. Dr. Leslie D’Souza were honoured by the three Bishops.


In his reply to the honour, Rev. Dr. Leslie D’Souza expressed happiness and pride for having been the Parish Priest of the parish and being honoured on the occasion of the centenary celebration.


Vinay Kumar Sorake, speaking after bring honoured by the three Bishops, said that he was fortunate to be present on this occasion and being honoured and blessed by the three Bishops. He further said that the Pangala parish has done a lot of progress during the last hundred years through prayer services and spreading education through its excellent educational institutions.


On this occasion the Assistant Parish Priests who had served the parish in the past, two former principals of the St. John the Evangelist Educational Institutions-Rev. Fr. Vishal Lobo and Rev. Fr. Vincent Coelho, Rev. Fr. Valerian Mendonca who trained the Parish Choir for the Centenary Thanksgiving Mass were honoured by the dignitaries on the dais.



Next, all the former Vice Presidents and Secretaries of the Parish pastoral Council, leaders of Pangalite Associations in Mumbai and Gulf Countries including Bahrain, Kuwait, Muscat, Saudi Arabia and UAE were felicitated for their service to the parish. Similarly, all those parishioners who had donated  more that Rs. 25, 000/- and more were honoured. Thereafter, all the former Gurkars of 21 wards were felicitated.


Soon after his felicitation, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha release the Centenary Souvenir edited by Gabriel Martis as the Chief Editor and Wilfred R. D’Souza as the Assistant Editor.


In his message, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha conveyed the greetings of the Centenary to all the parishioners of Pangala.


Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza was the next dignitary to be honoured on this occasion. Delivering his message, Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza said that he was honoured to be the chief celebrant offering the solemn Thanksgiving Mass and hoped that there would be more vocations from the parish.



The President of the Katapadi Grama Panchayat Mrs. Indira Acharya was felicitated.


Soon after his felicitation, Albert W. D’Souza spoke about his indebtedness to the St. John the Evangelist Parish and Innanje High School for his success as an entrepreneur and businessman in Mumbai who built a hub of educational institutions in Palghar, Maharashtra.


The Parish Council office bearers-John Rodrigues-Vice President, Mrs. Anita D’Souza-Secretary and Mrs. Seema Margaret D’Souza-Convener of 20 Commissions were felicitated.



The present Assistant Parish Priests-Rev. Fr. Anil Pinto and Rev. Fr. Vijay D’Souza were honoured next.


Finally,  Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Gonsalves was honoured by Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo for his leadership in organizing the Centenary celebrations in a grand manner.


In his presidential message, Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo expressed his happiness at the grand celebration of the Centenary of the Pangala Parish and complimented the Parish Priest, Assistant Priests and all the parishioners for the success of the programmes associated with the Centenary celebration. He further said that as the Parish enters into the second century after completing the first century of its spiritual and socio-cultural journey, a life time is not enough to thank God for his bountiful blessings. Speaking further, the Bishop said that the parish of Pangala has provided spiritual and lay leaders who have made the parish very proud.


Mrs. Anita D’Souza proposed the vote of thanks. Wilfred R. D’Souza and Ashwin Rodrigues compered the programme.




By Dr. Eugene D’Souza


St. John Evangelist Church, Pangala is situated at a distance of 60 kms to the north of Mangalore and 5 kms south of Katapadi, and is surrounded by Katapadi, Pamboor, Shirva and Yermal Parishes.


Pangala was originally under the jurisdiction of the Shirva Parish. Fr Gregory D’Souza of Shirva obtained 6.50 acres of land from the government and constructed a thatched shed dedicated to St Thomas. On 22 November 1922, Fr Mathew Menezes, the successor of Fr Gregory D’Souza of Shirva, constructed a chapel dedicated to St John the Evangelist. It was given independent administration and Fr. Hilary Gonsalves was appointed as its first resident chaplain. Pangala became an independent parish on 31 May 1936 with Fr Basil Salvadore Peres (1934¬1952), later the Bishop of Mangalore, as the first parish priest of Pangala.


The new church building completed by Fr S.M.A. Saldanha was blessed on 11 May 1953 by Bishop Basil S. Peres, the Coadjutor Bishop of mangalore. The presbytery was built by Fr Andrew Pinto (1954- 1959). Fr Gabriel Castelino (1959-1970) electrified the church and constructed a hall later known as Gabriel Castelino Memorial Community Hall.


Fr Basil S. Peres started St John’s Boys’ Primary School, which was later upgraded to St John’s High School. Fr Gerald D’Souza obtained permission for the high school. He installed fans in the church and constructed the new girls’ primary school building. Fr J.P. Tauro constructed a new school building in 1994 and a hall. Archbishop Alphonse Mathias, the first Bishop of Chikmagalur and later Archbishop of Bangalore hailed from this parish.


Fr J.P Tauro was succeeded by Fr Vincent Monteiro (1995-2002) on 16 June 1995. It was during his tenure that the Canossa Sisters Celebrated the Silver Jubilee of their Convent in 1996. Fr. Vincent Monteiro took up the church renovation work in 1997. The renovation work involved marble covered sanctuary altar, covering the background wall of the sanctuary with ceramic tiles; installation of a teakwood cross in the center of the main sanctuary wall; and covering the floor of the church with Kadapa stones. The Grotto in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes sponsored by Fr J.B.D’Souza was constructed in the centre of the compound wall. Many generous donors had sponsored the renovation work. The renovated church was inaugurated and blessed by the Auxiliary Bishop of Mangalore  Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius  Paul D’Souza on 3 May 1997.


The Platinum Jubilee of the parish was celebrated from 26 December to 29 December 1997 with a number of programmes. A Souvenir was brought out during this occasion. The ICYM of the parish celebrated the Silver Jubilee in April 1999. Mrs. Concepta Alva was awarded the Best Director for directing the drama ‘Binnamatha’ by the Government of Karnataka. Poet J.B Sequeira was awarded Sahithya Academy Prashasthi on 23 February 1999.


In commemoration of the Platinum Jubilee of the parish, the Sabha Bhavana was constructed by taking loan. The loan was gradually paid from the donations received from the parishioners. The renovated community hall, gymkhana and sports club were inaugurated on 15 August 2000. 


The property close to the high school was bought from Ashok Hegde for Rs.18.5 lakhs. A part of the amount was collected by interest free loans from the parishioners and some amount was collected by selling Kannyana property.


In 2002, St John’s Higher Primary School completed 100 years of its existence. Centenary celebration was held in a befitting manner on 5 June 2002. In memory of the centenary celebration, a memorial hall and a stage were built. Udupi Taluk level sports meet was held in which more than 1000 school children participated.


On 27 May 2002, Fr Alexander Lobo (2002-2007) took charge of the Pangala Parish as the parish priest. He started the Small Christian Communities (SCC) in every ward. Being a stalwart in the field of education and a teacher himself, Fr Alexander Lobo paid great attention to the schools. He took necessary measures to improve the standard of the St. John’s Academy School. He constructed the first floor above J.P Tauro’s block and built the Centenary Memorial Academy Hall by investing Rs 44, 00,000. He also improved the Anganavady, started the midday meal scheme on 24 June 2002 after constructing a new kitchen. The library of St John’s Academy was established in 2004 with the generous donation from Leo Martis. A cycle shed was built for the students to keep their cycles during class hours. In 2006, boys toilets were constructed and the school ground stage was completed spending Rs.2,15,000.


Fr Alexander Lobo took the survey in the parish about the need for the P.U.C. classes. Most of the parishioners expressed their desire to open the same. After meeting Catholic Board of Education (CBE), Pre-University Board and the local M.L.A in May-June 2006, Fr Alexander Lobo obtained the permission for starting the P.U.C. College in Pangala. With his efforts, on 15 June 2006, the first batch of the P.U.C was started. A total of 70 students took admission for the first year PUC classes in Arts, Commerce and Science. Mrs. Octavia Rodrigues, retired teacher was appointed as the principal. Three labs were established for the science students at the cost of Rs. 7, 57,994 and Rs.5,56,344 were spent for the furniture. Fr. Alexander Lobo paid special attention to the poor and slow learners. After giving them free books, free school uniforms and free accommodation in the parish house to study,  in 2007 the S.S.L.C result was 93%. Fr Alexander Lobo cleaned the cemetery and planted teakwood saplings on either sides of the cemetery. The parishioners from Muscat generously donated a computer to the church office. In order to support the educational institutions, Fr Alexander Lobo went to the Gulf Countries and collected Rs. 26 lakhs as donations chiefly from the Pangala parishioners. An organ costing Rs 80,000 was brought to the church.


The parishioners of Pangala showed their merit in different fields and were recognized. Dr Edward Lobo was conferred the state award for excellent service to the mentally challenged children. A parishioner Ronald Nazareth obtained Ph.D. degree in chemistry.


In May 2003,  the Canossa Sisters who had rendered service in the parish for 32 years left the parish and closed their convent. Later, in June the Congregation of Daughters of the Sacred Heart opened their convent in the same building. On 22 June 2003, Most Rev. Dr Alphonse Mathias completed 75 years. He was honored and a special Issue of ‘Panglacho Prakash’ was brought out in his honour.


Though the belfry was newly constructed in 1997, the whole structure was swinging whenever anybody tolled the bells. In order to solve this problem alternate arrangement was made by building a supporting structure with concrete pillars. The total cost of the renovation was Rs.2, 62,151 of which Rs.2,25,000 was donated by Antony Quadras. With the donation of 25 donors interlocks were laid on the church compound.


As there were many alcoholics in the parish, Fr Alexander Lobo visited their families and brought about change in their lives. He tried to bring peace in the broken families. He showed deep love and sympathy towards the poor irrespective of caste and religion.


On 28 May 2007, Fr Harold C D’Souza (2007-2010) took charge of the Pangala Parish as the parish priest from Fr Alexander Lobo who took voluntary retirement and went to the Vianney Home in Mangalore. On 4 November 2007, district level Konkani Singing Competition was organized in which 14 parishes participated. Pangala parish secured the first place in the competition. Though Fr. Harold D’Souza did not undertake any notable developmental work he took keen interest in the spiritual progress of the parishioners and improved the functioning of various parish associations.


Fr Leslie D’Souza (2010-2017), professor from St Joseph’s Seminary, Jeppu, Mangalore took charge as the next parish priest of Pangala on 21 May 2010. Fr Joseph Martis, a parishioner of Pangala who was appointed as the Rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Mangalore was felicitated at Pangala on 20 June 2010.


During the tenure of Fr. Leslie D’Souza as the parish priest of Pangala a number of developmental works had taken place in the parish.  Washrooms were constructed costing Rs. 4 Lakhs in the schools. New arch was built for the church cemetery at the cost of Rs.2.5 lakhs which was donated by Vincent Lobo in memory of his wife Flavia and two children Vanessa and Vishal who had died due to tragic plane crash at Bajpe on 22 May 2010. It was inaugurated by Rev Dr Baptist Menezes, Episcopal Vicar of Udupi on 9 October 2010.


As the church towers and the frontal façade of the church was in a dilapidated condition,  it was renovated at the cost of  Rs. 26 lakhs. The new electrification was done at the cost of Rs.88,090 and a new sound system was installed at the cost of Rs.18,982. The renovated façade of the church was blessed by Rev. Fr. Denis Moras Prabhu, Vicar General of the Diocese of Mangalore on 2 May 2011.


A new project was launched for the spiritual renewal of the parish under the title ‘St Ambrose and Augustine Spiritual Retreat’. Ambrose Mathias and family initiated this project by donating Rs 5 Lakhs. The interest of the amount was to be used for the spiritual activities of the parish. On 27 May 2011, Fr Vincent Coelho took charge as the principal of St John’s P.U. College. For the commemoration of the 125 Anniversary of the Diocese of Mangalore it was decided to build houses for the needy. The Finance Committee decided to build a house for Rosaline Quadras.


In order to make the church altar look more attractive, newly designed reading stands with cushioned chairs and table were installed in the sanctuary. The cost of the work was met by Oscar Fernandes from his M.P quota. The drainage system in front of the church till St. John’s P.U. College building was done at a cost of Rs 5 lakhs from the MP’s quota of Jayaprakash Hegde. The Problem of the bore-well near P.U.C was solved with the help of both Katapadi and Kurkal Panchayats. By spending Rs 5 lakhs a transformer was installed for uninterrupted power supply.


On 17 November 2012, the first Bishop of the newly formed Udupi Diocese, Most Rev Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo visited the parish for the first time and met the Finance Committee, the Parish Pastoral Council and other associations.


The new P.U.C building was inaugurated and blessed by Most Rev Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo in the presence of Jayaprakash Hegde, M.P. Albert W D’Souza-entrepreneur, Vasanth Salian, former MLA, Vinay Kumar Sorake and other dignitaries on 11 January 2013, the. The main gate near the school ground sponsored by Dolphy D’Sa and Cyril D’Sa was inaugurated. One acre and 25 cents of land that was in the name of the Canossa Convent was transferred the Sacred Heart Convent.


A new 25 K.V self start generator costing Rs. 5 lakhs was installed for the church. The old toilets below the belfry were removed and new toilets were built for ladies and gents. The Parish Pastoral Council had decided to build houses for poor families in association with the S.V.P. Society of the parish. Under this venture the first house was built for Babitha D’Souza and family.


Mrs. Veera D’Souza had come forward to donate 5 cents of land to Leo and Jacintha D’Souza on which the parish built a house for them. On 24 December 2013, on the eve of the Christmas, following the solemn mass, Fr Lawrence Mendonca was felicitated on completion of 50 years of priesthood and 75th birthday. Fr Joseph Martis was honoured on completing 25 years of priesthood and Dr. Nithin Prakash Lobo was congratulated on being conferred with the Ph.D. degree.


Fr. Leslie D’Souza renovated the cemetery. This project was completed with the government aid of Rs. 10 lakhs. The Calvary Statue donated by Cletus Martis was installed in the cemetery. Interlocks were laid in front of the school costing Rs 4, 67,000. The old generator of the church was donated to St. John’s Academy and PUC College. New ‘Balavana’ was constructed for the children at the front side of the school. As per the State Government and Education Department’s instructions, C.C.T.Vs and cameras were installed at the cost of Rs. 4.5 lakhs.


The other important projects undertaken by Fr. Leslie D’Souza include the painting of the entire church at the cost of Rs.1,76,000 which was donated by Paul Quadras. The new project to build a new presbytery was decided by the Finance Committee after sufficient consultation with Parish Pastoral council and Parish Assembly. The foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of Udupi on 30 April 2015.


The Kannada Medium High School was renovated and wash rooms were constructed. The old building of the Kannada Medium School was renovated for the high school of St. John’s Academy at the cost of Rs 6, 31,518. School compound wall was rebuilt spending Rs.62, 900 from the Church Work Development Account. Four new school buses were purchased for the benefit of the students traveling from far way places. New midday meal kitchen was constructed at the cost of Rs. 5 lakhs. Two new statues of St Mother Theresa and St John Paul II donated by Dr Edward lobo and family and Florin Lobo were installed in the church.


The new presbytery was inaugurated by Vinay Kumar Sorake and blessed by Bishop Gerald Isaac lobo on 19 November 2016. The total cost of the construction of the new prsbytery was about Rs. 1Crore and 35 lakhs. St John’s Academy High School was shifted to the restructured and renovated block on 1 January 2017.


Following the transfer of Fr. Leslie D’Souza to the Mount Rosary Parish, Santekatte-Kallianpur, Fr Ferdinand Gonsalves (2017) took charge as the next parish priest of Pangala on 2 June 2017.


The Souhardha Samithi of the parish arranged the Souhardha Koota on the occasion of the Ganesh Chaturthi on 13 September 2018. Similar Souhardha Kootas were organized during Moharrum, Christmas and Deepavali. The second storey of St John’s block of St John’s Academy constructed at the cost of Rs. 80 lakhs was inaugurated and blessed by the Vicar General Msgr. Baptist Menezes.


On 26 January 2019, the film ‘Passport’ was inaugurated by Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo in the Sabha Bhavan. The film was produced by Fr Royson Fernandes, the then assistant parish priest of Pangala and directed by Vinod Gangolli. Majority of the actors of this film were the parishioners of Pangala. Some of the talented parishioners led by Walston D’sa, Anil D’Sa, John Rodrigues and others joined together to form a new cultural association named ‘Kalaradhan’. It was instituted with the intention of encouraging parishioners to develop and improve their talents and hobbies giving importance to Konkani language and culture. Fr. Ferdinand Gonsalves renovated the Community Hall with a new and attractive look at the cost of Rs. 2,50,000 in 2019.


Fr Royson Fernandes was transferred to the Bishop’s Office to take charge as the Editor of the Diocesan Fortnightly ‘Uzwaad’ on 1 June 2019. Fr Vincent Coelho took charge of Holy Cross Church, Byndoor on 4 June 2019.


In order to regularize the church property, Allen D’Souza of Mukamar was requested on 20 April 2020 to get RTC of the entire church property.



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