- Media Release

Udupi, May 16, 2011 : Sunday May 15 was not just a joyous day for the parish priest and the parishioners of Holy Family Church, Brahmavar, but it was also a day to thank and praise the Almighty for His choicest blessings that He has showered on them and their families through Holy Family of Bethlehem in the last 75 years. As Holy Family church completed 75 glorious years of spreading devotion and living the Goodnews, the parishioners under their shepherd Fr Anthony Vas gathered round the Altar in praising and thanking God for the gift of Holy Family as their patron and succour.

Hundreds of parishioners gathered at the church to celebrate the solemn thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration on Sunday morning. Fr Baptist Menezes, the Episcopal Vicar of Udupi district was the main celebrant while Fr Vincent Gabriel Furtado, Provincial of Holy Trinity Province of Karnataka of OFM Capuchins, Fr Anthony Vas, parish priest, and former parish priests Fr Baptist Braggs, Fr Dominic Veigas and others were the concelebrants on this joyous occasion.

The celebration began with a unique presentation on the humble beginning and magnificent growth of the parish in the last 75 years. It was well compared with a seedling that grows into a tree sheltering thousands.

Fr Baptist in his homily advised each of the parishioners to be good shepherds to their own family, thus building a strong and united flock under the patronage of the Holy Family. “A family is the beginning of church and a devout family is an asset to the parish. Parents take the place of shepherds in their family and they therefore are entrusted with the responsibility of leading the flock in the right and righteous path,” he said.

A small yet meaningful gathering of the parish family was held in the church premises after the Eucharistic celebration. As the entire parish family rejoiced in religious fervour, parishioners also joined together and thanked the Lord for the gift of religious priest and nuns who have nurtured their faith in the last 75 years.
It was a special occasion for former parish priest Fr Dominic Veigas who is currently assisting the parish priest in various parish ministries. Fr Dominic was felicitated by the parishioners on completing 75 years of his life and 50 years of his priesthood. It was also the occasion of the 75th birthday of Sr Everesta and silver jubilee of religious vows of Sr Elizabeth. Both were felicitated by the parishioners and their services to the parish were specially mentioned.

Parish children welcomed the gathering with a beautifully choreographed dance. Fr Vincent Furtado, Fr Anthony Vas, former parish priest Fr Cornelius Monteiro, Fr Baptist Braggs, Fr Vitus Prabhudas Pinto, Sr Everesta, parish council vice-president Leo Rodrigues and secretary Janet D’Souza were present on the dais.

Jeevan Fernandes read out the felicitation letter in honour of Fr Dominic Veigas. In his thanksgiving speech, Fr Dominic expressed his joy on completing 50 years of priesthood. He specially mentioned that it was a pleasure and honour to have spent 12 years of his priesthood in Holy Family Church Brahmavar and thanked the Capuchins and the parishioners for giving an opportunity to serve God’s flock.

Fr Vincent Furtado, the Provincial of Capuchins in Karnataka is also a parishioner of Holy Family Church. He was felicitated on the occasion by vice-president Leo Rodrigues and secretary Janet D’Souza.

In his address he remembered his childhood days spent in Brahmavar vicinity among his family and parishioners. He urged the parents to instill the love of the Lord among their children and if possible to encourage their children to be religious in order to serve the Lord and look after His people.

Former parish priests Fr Dominic Veigas, Fr Baptist Braggs, Fr Cornelius Monteiro and Fr Vitus Prabhudas Pinto who were present on the occasion too were felicitated, so too all the parishioners above 75 years of age as they were among the few chosen ones who were present when the church was founded in 1934 and have continued to praise the Lord even now with the same spirit and zeal.

Leo Rodrigues welcome the gathering, while Janet D’Souza presented a brief report of the 75 years of the Holy Family Church. Ronald Furtado proposed the vote of thanks. Steven Lewis and Antony Roche compered the stage programme.

About Holy Family Church Brahmavar:

Brahmavar has a special prominence in the history of the Mangalore diocese owing to the schism, which took place in 1887.

Later Fr Julian D’Souza of Milagres-Kallianpur wanted to bring the separated brethren at Brahmavar back into the fold. He built a chapel dedicated to the Holy Family at Brahmavar. It was initially served from Milagres-Kallianpur. Later it was used as the presbytery. Fr Sebastian (Sabas) Fernandes of Giri was put in charge of the mission on May 13, 1933 and made its chaplain on May 15, 1935, and later its first parish priest. He worked hard and brought hundreds of schismatics back to the fold.

Fr Alphonsus Marie Ligoury Sequeira (1940-1949) continued the work of Fr Sebastian (Sabas) Fernandes and started the construction of the present church on August 11, 1946. But he injured his eye accidentally and later got drowned while crossing the river. Fr Edwin A. Castelino (1949-1956) continued this construction work and it was blessed on December 8, 1954. Brahmavar parish was served by the diocesan clergy for 22 years before it was handed over to Capuchins on April 15, 1956. To get all the schismatics back, Bishop Basil Peres handed over the administration of this parish to the Capuchins and Fr Alfred Roche became the first Capuchin parish priest of Brahmavar. He set up the main altar of the church and it was consecrated by Bishop Raymond D’Mello on April 11, 1961.

Initially Petre and Neelavar were the sub-stations of Holy Family Church Brahmavar. Over the years Petre has grown into a separate parish while Neelavar is still being served by Holy Family Church.

Fr Alfred is still being considered as the architect of Brahmavar parish. The humble Capuchin carved a niche for himself among the parishioners through his dedicated services and unflinching love towards the people. After Fr Alfred, Fr Dominic Veigas, the late Fr Ronald Menezes, Fr Rupert Barboza, Fr Archie Lewis, Fr Baptist Braggs, Fr Valerian D’Silva, Fr Cornelius, Fr Vitus Prabhudas Pinto, Fr Peter Mendonca, Fr Denis Saldanha have served as the head of the parish community. At present Fr Anthony Vas is the parish priest while Fr Sudeep Gonsalves serves as the assistant parish priest. Fr Gerald Veigas and Fr Dominic too are rendering their spiritual services to the parishioners.

About Holy Family Church, Brahmavar

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