Shirva Parish to celebrate the centenary of the union of two churches

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By Wilson DSouza, Shirva
Bellevision Media Network

Shirva, 15 September 2010: It is a matter of great joy for the people of Shirva to know that on 15the September 2010 union of  two churches,  the Lower church  and  the Upper  Church  completes 100  years. Under the able leadership of  two stalwart  priests,  Rev. Fr. Gregory  D’Souza  of  the Lower  Church and Rev. Fr. Casmir Fernandes of  the Upper  Church a  junta meeting was held during which it was decided to have one church for Shirva. It was also decided that both the churches would be  pulled  down   and   a  new  church   would  be  built  at   the   present   site.


As per the decision taken by the Junta  the  foundation stone  for  the  new  church  was laid  on  9th November 1911 by the then Bishop of Mangalore  and  the  church  was  inaugurated  on   9th February 1915  by  Bishop Paul  Perini.


It is generally believed  that  Christianity  existed in this part of  Shirva around 1534 – 1600.  The   first church  was   built   near   Kodi.  When  Christians  returned after  deportation  by   Tippu  Sultan,  a church  was  constructed   and  was  called  as  the Lower Church. It was dedicated to Our Lady of Health. In 1859 under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Joachim  Borgis  another church,  called  the Upper  Church  was  built  dedicated to  St. Francis  Xavier.  The Lower Church   was  governed  by  the  ‘Padravado’  system   and   the  Upper  Church   by   the ‘Propaganda fide’ under the Diocese of   Verapoly.



The 100  years  of  unity of  both  churches  is  of  great significance  to the people of Shirva, as it laid a strong  foundation  for deeper  faith, peace, and  progress of  Shirva. After   Rev. Fr. Gregory   D’souza,   it  was  Msgr.  Hilary  Gonsalves  who  was  the  architect  of  modern  Shirva  with  his  far  sighted  vision   and  its   implementation.  The  subsequent priests and the lay leaders left no stone unturned to  build  a  modern  Shirva.  Shirva  today is  a  forward  looking  community with its  people  spread   all  over  the  world, holding   high  posts  in   administration,  commerce,  politics and  in all spheres of  life.  Most appreciable  factor is that the people of Shirva have  kept up their faith.


Let this unity of the people of Shirva continue for centuries to come. Media influence self  sufficiency,  winds  of  western  life, corrosion  of  value  systems,  allurement of various sects etc. are  disturbing  the unity of our  community.  Positive  efforts  will have to  be made  to express  concern  for  each  other,  care of the poor, sick and  the downtrodden, giving opportunities for the marginalized, promotion of faith and prayer   will  be  the  contributing  factors  of  unity. Whatever said  and done, none  from Shirva should forget the incessant blessings received from Our Lady of Health, Saude  Saibeen.  She has kept the people of Shirva under her tender  and   loving wings, embracing everyone and leaving none.


A  thanksgiving  Eucharist  will be offered by  Most. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul  D’souza,  the Bishop of Mangalore on 25th September 2010 at 4.00 pm in Our Lady of Health Church, Shirva  to  commemorate  the 100  years of  unity.  The Parish Priest of Shirva, Rev. Fr. Stany Tauro and the Parish Pastoral Council have extended a  cordial  invitation to all Shirvites  in  Shirva  as well  as  the people from neighbouring parishes to join the  Eucharistic celebration.



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Comments on this Article
Manoj Menezes, Shirva/Abu Dhabi Wed, September-15-2010, 5:49
100 years of unification of lower church and upper church. Great. United Shirvaites and the current church is the result. As the article says The most appreciable factor is that the people of Shirva have kept up their faith . Indeed true. The development of Shirva Parish says it all. Well Done. We are happy and pray for the success of the celebration.
Philip Mudartha, Qatar Tue, September-14-2010, 4:26
Since this landmark event, hundred yeas ago, the Catholics in Canara have come a long way with social reform. (doing away with caste) may this celebration move them towards identifying and solving the challenges of today: discrimination based on class.
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