‘Servant of God Fr Alfred Roche’ Birth Centenary Memorial inaugurated, at his home town in Barkur

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By Prof. Archibald Furtado
Pics: Stephan Andrade, Mayura Studio, Santhekatte.
Bellevision Media Network

Udupi/Barkur, 26 May 2024: It’s a great, historical and proud moment to all of us, as its son of soil, Rev. Fr Alfred Roche OFM Cap born on3rd April, 1924 and brought up in Moodahadu Village in Barkur Parish, ordained priest on 11th April, 1951, served in Brahmmavar, Binaga, Kasarkod, Farangipet etc, and a familiar face in Kallianpur Varado - chosen to be the first holy man to be honoured with such a distinct and unique recognition as ‘Servant of God’ on 15th August, 2021,  in the Diocese of Udupi.


This year the Birth Centenary year of Amcho Padryab and various programmes are organised to thank Almighty Lord and pray for the cause in a very special way.


As reported in these pages earlier, the faithful in this less known hamlet Pandeshwar - Moodahadu - Kudru are the happiest flock and decided to celebrate the event in a fitting manner.


A Thanks giving High Mass was celebrated in the Church of St Peter on Saturday, 25 May 2024 at 10.30 am with the main celebrant Rev. Fr Ronald Miranda and six guest priests, including Vicar of Brahmmavar Holy Family Church Rev. Fr John Fernandes, Fr Roshan Menezes, Fr Rohan Lobo, Fr Joachim, Fr Raviraj Serrao, Fr Glanson from the Capuchin Order.  In his brief introduction Vicar Fr Miranda outlined the saintly life and living of Fr Alfred as a Blessing to the entire church in general and a proud feeling to all the parishioners in particular.


While breaking the word of God Rev. Fr Joachim DSouza beautifully related the simple, humble and compassionate life of Fr Roche, in close resemblance with the Jesus public life of service, salvation and as Saviour…..



After the Holy Mass all marched to the birthplace of ‘Moodahadu Kudru’ and at 12.00 noon a beautiful programme to unveil a ‘Centenary Memorial’ was organised by the Ward Members. Once the children presented an attractive prayer cum welcome, the Gurkarn Mrs Margaret DSouza extended a warm welcome to all special guests and gathering.


A team of Senior Ward Members, including Urban DSouza, Leni Martis and Teresa Fernandes… cut the ribbon to inaugurate the Monument of Fr Alfred Roche, commemorating the birth Centenary celebration. Parish Priest of Barkur Church Rev. Fr Ronald Miranda blessed the artistic memorial along with guest priests and in his apt message congratulated the ward members for their love and respect for Fr Roche by coming together with this small but fitting tribute in his birthplace, facing the main road. ‘Let this relic serve to spread the glory of Lord Jesus, our saviour and the Church, through his humble follower in Fr Alfred Roche...’


Immediately after the blessings, a short stage programme was held which was presided over by Rev. Fr Roshan Menezes – Episcopal Vicar for religious, Diocese of Udupi. Mr Anthony Prakash DSouza the president of the Committee in charge of the project gave a crispy background of plan and its execution…Interestingly he highlighted the invisible hand of Fr Roche which converted a small plan into beautiful site of around 10 cents, just few yards away from his birthplace. He also briefed to future additions recommended by the Trust, soon will be a reality…


Rev. Fr Rohan Lobo expressed his feelings on this occasion on behalf the Trust and profusely thanked the ward team for their enthusiasm and reverence to holy man Fr Alfred Roche.


In his presidential address Fr Menezes recalled his association with Fr Roche since 1974, when he first arrived to Barkur with him and the parish annual feast as two newly ordained priests of native town – Fr Stany B Lobo and Fr Alphonse DLima either side of Fr Alfred as that years pirjenth his cousin Mr VL Roche and family in Kudru. “Since then Fr Alfred influence and impact on me so strong in my personal life of faith formation and priestly life…” 


Vice president of the Parish Pastoral Council Mr Jossie Fernandes, Sisters of IHM Convent Barkur and neighbouring Sastan Convent were present with 200 plus native ward members and parishioners. Mr Joseph Fernandes took charge as MC for the event and Treasurer Mrs Jennifer Martis proposed vote of thanks.


Earlier, all major donors were deservedly recognised for their contribution and presented with a decorated candle as a mark of respect. Arrangements were in place to serve lunch to all guests and participants.


In the end it was a well arranged event to thank Almighty Lord for His bountiful blessings through this devout and humble priest of our time Fr Alfred Roche and raise our prayers and intentions through his intercession.


It may please be noted, in the Catholic Church, declaration as Servant of God, is the first step-in designating an individual who is being investigated by the Church for a possible cannonisations as a Saint. With this announcement by the Bishop, Fr Roche’s life and pious works are being verified to pave way for his beatification.



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