' Bejai Church: 100 Years - To Rejoice, Celebrate and Dedicate






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Bejai Church: 100 Years - To Rejoice, Celebrate and Dedicate
Florine Roche

Mangalore, Aug 2

Celebrating 100 years of a successful and meaningful existence is certainly a matter of great pride and satisfaction for any institution.   St Francis Xavier Church of Bejai, Mangalore, has this privilege of celebrating one hundred years of powerful existence and the parish has planned year-long celebrations and events to mark this monumental achievement starting from August 7, 2011.   Located at a distance of just 2 kms from the diocesan headquarters, in the heart of the city of Mangalore, it has emerged as one of the strongest and powerful parishes of the diocese.  With 24 wards, 1250 families and about 6500 parishioners, the parish under the leadership of the present parish priest Fr Victor Machado, has been moving from strength to strength continuing the tradition of the good work of his predecessors. Centenary celebrations include a programme every month to benefit different sections of the parish pertaining to religious, social, educational and medical with the ultimate aim of benefitting all parishioners. In addition a number of programmes and events have been planned for the entire year   encompassing all major areas of development of the parish.     

Parish priest Rev Fr Victor Machado has set his priorities right in the centenary year. “We do not want to concentrate on putting up huge structures, though I do agree renovation of the church is required.   My primary priority is to intensify and deepen the life of faith of the people and on this occasion I would like to revive our faith.  St Francis Xavier came to our city with the faith and we cannot brush it aside with our ineptitude”, he explains. Apart from catering to the spiritual needs of the people, centenary celebrations include building houses for the poorer sections of the parish and introducing scholarship to the deserving students to enable them opt for higher education.  Planting of trees is also anvil as part of the church’s concern towards safeguarding the environment we live in.







Fr Victor Machado, Parish Priest, Fr Anil Roshan Lobo, Asst. Parish Priest


To Start With

The area that encompasses the Bejai church now was originally under the Cathedral parish for more than 200 years. To minimize the inconvenience caused to people of this area as a result of the long distance people had to travel to the Cathedral, a chapel was built in Bejai in 1912 which proved to be the forerunner of the present day Bejai church.  Fr Sebastian Noronha was appointed as the resident Chaplain by the then Bishop Paul Perini SJ, who was also responsible for opening the St Francis Xavier School for boys and Lourdes Girls School of the parish in 1915.  His successor Fr Joseph Peter Fernandes built a portion of the presbytery.  Fr A E Colaco who succeeded Fr Fernandes built the church in its present form in the year 1924.  He was also responsible for completing the presbytery and paned the belfry.  The work initiated by Fr Colaco was completed in 1937 by Fr Leo Saldanha and later Fr Robert L M Pinto carried out the renovation of the church. Due to the visionary efforts of parish priest Rev F J M Pinto, a girl’s high school was opened by the Ursuline Franciscan sisters in 1963.

It was under the stewardship of Fr Bernard L D Souza who took over as the parish priest in 1995 the church witnessed an enormous progress and development. He is a pantheon of today’s Bejai parish and was responsible for building the Bejai hall and the commercial complex which generates revenue for the parish.  Credit goes to him for initiating the process of development of the parish in the recent years.

Swift Progress 

Fr Bernard undertook a slew of activities aimed at the overall development of the church and the parishioners.   However, his greatest achievement was the ambitious school project he undertook to introduce CBSE syllabus education to the students by starting the Lourdes Central School. His successor Fr Joseph Peter Tauro who replaced Fr Bernard in 2003 continued the good work initiated by him and today Lourdes Central School which is in the 11th year of its existence has emerged as one of the most prestigious schools of Mangalore city.  The school which was established in 2003 has grown into an institution of great repute and high standing, to emerge as one of the leading institutions of learning. Another feather in the cap of this school is that for the last four years the school has recorded 100 per cent result in 10th and 100 percent result in plus two in the last two years.  The school had started Senior Secondary school for science stream since 2008.  As there is an increasing demand for commerce stream in the past one or two years, the school has applied for starting the commerce stream also from the next academic year. The school also mulls starting new courses from the next academic year.

There have been enormous improvements and development in the parish in all these 100 years and it has over the years emerged as the powerhouse parish of the diocese.  New presbytery was built in 2005 and it now houses the new office of the parish priest and the church office.  “These improvements have been carried out only due to the constant support of the parishioners who have been giving their wholehearted support to every project the parish has undertaken.  Without the support of the parishioners we would not have been able to witness such outstanding pace of development” parish priest Victor Machado asserts.  

The church has had the services of 14 parish priests and Fr Victor Machado who took over the charge as the Parish priest a year ago is the 15th parish priest of the church in the last 100 years of its existence. At present there are three more priests who assist the parish priest of the Bejai Church.  Fr Anil Roshan Lobo, asst. parish priest, Principal-designate of Lourdes Central School Fr Ferdinand Gonsalves and Resident priest Fr Richard D Souza, who is also doing his masters in communication at St Aloysius College, are giving a helping hand to the parish priest in carrying out the multifarious activities of the parish. The church runs St Francis Xavier Higher Primary School (formed by merging Xavier school and Lourdes Girls School) and the Lourdes Central School. The parish also has a Kannada medium Lourdes High School managed by the Ursuline sisters.






Social Concern

The parishioners evince keen interest in all the activities undertaken by the parish.  The church has a parish pastoral council, a body of 100 strong members which takes collective decisions regarding the various activities and developmental work of the parish. The church has established a Medical Relief Fund built from the donations received from the parishioners, to provide medical care to the needy people of the parish.  There is also an education fund and another fund titled “poor girl’s marriage fund”, to help girls from the poorer families get married.  “Money collected through donations during the first communion goes to the education fund and donation given by to-be married boys and girls goes to the poor girl marriage fund”, Fr Machado stated. 


The church has been socially responsive to the sundry needs of the parishioners.  The Church runs a marriage bureau free of cost.  It also runs St Vincent De Paul society which is involved in serving the cause of the needy and the poor.  It has a Catholic Sabha which works doggedly to create political consciousness and awareness among the people.  

  
A few projects are in the offing which has become imperative due to the tremendous growth witnessed by the parish.  A new portico for the church is in the offing to create more space.   Plans are on the anvil to put interlocks to the entire premises of the church.  The church is also in the need for a new generator, which is necessitated following the breakdown of the existing generator as it is unable to shoulder the additional load. Fr Victor Machado has also chalked out an ambitious plan of providing a roof over the head of the poorer families from the parish. 

Centenary celebration is a befitting occasion for the Bejai parish to continue the rhythm of the progress and the good work it has undertaken.  Not long ago Bejai was known for its jasmine cultivation and it was apt that its quarterly bulletin is titled “Izoicho Kolo”. No doubt, the name and fame Bejai parish has traversed far and wide just like the fragrance of the famous Mangalore jasmine that Bejai was known for.

READ 'EXCLUSIVE ARCHIVES'
Comments on this article
Patrick R Braggs, BejaiWednesday, August 10, 2011

Thank you Florine Roche for the wonderful article that puts the the centenary of bejai parish into proper perceptive.Though i would like to add my wonderful memories and experiences in this great Parish.Remember The gentle Rev.Monsignor F.J.M.Pinto who contributed immensely towards the upliftment of girls education.Rev.Fr.Aloysius Rebello who initiated the Novenas on saturdays of Our Lady Of Perpetual Succour.Rev.Fr. Robert Pinto who wrote the Novena Prayers and initiated the novena of our patron saint St.Francis Xavier.Also who was instrumental in creating "Paradela Bejai"an organisation that enabled talent to flourish in our parish.Can't forget Late Cyprian Pinto the original choir master playing the voilin,Late Joachim periera the king of Gumta with his rich baritone voice.

The inimitable late Edward Qaudros.Donald Menezes,Charles sequiera,John Pereira,Frank bendre all actors par excellence.The one and only MICMAX writer lyricist actor singer. Late Bennet Pinto musician,singer, choir master - most of our present day singers are his protege's including my daughter.Our own Sacristan par excellence Late Eigel Saldanha who served the parish for over forty years.Not to forget our parishioners who have been instrumental in making this parish vibrant and united. Great things ARE still to be done with the guidance of our Parish Priest Rev.Fr.Victor Machado with the support of our parishioners who do not agree to the idiom "Sky Is The Limit"when there are footprints on the MOON.

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Arun D'Almeida, Mudigere/ BejaiWednesday, August 10, 2011
Its a great pride and joy to learn that Bijai parish completed 100 glorious years .... & more to add to this Celebration Parish Choir which has come together& Reunited under the leadership of Mr.Joel Pereira .which was a long time due & I am completely exited & overjoyed ... finally a good decision at the right time ... All the best ... Bejai Rocks
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J.M.Vincent Dsouza, Bejai/ Doha-QatarSunday, August 07, 2011

Congratulations to Rev Fr Victor Machado,Asst Parish Priest and the Parishioners of Bejai on the occasion of launching the centenary year celebrations of the church. Being a parishioner myself and having my house right across the church,memories came flooding to me about all the good times we had as parishioners before we moved to greener pastures in search of daily bread.Along with the spiritual values inculcated in us from the parish priests of our times, we were/are also blessed with abundant talent which has kept the name of Bejai shining all over the world.

During this celebration it is sad to note that I will miss Benett Pinto(choir master-a great talent taken away) and our Sacristan Egil-whose subtle wit/anger laced with sarcasm( when he was angry with a parishioner or a priest) had no bounds.

A special mention should be made of the Sacristans melodious voice which was more than enough when we had mass without a choir.
So much for nostalgia- May The Almighty Bless us All.

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, Felix Castelino & familySaturday, August 06, 2011
May thr Centenary year bring all the parishioners, specikally the dynamic Parish Priest who has a vas experience in tghe parish administration with his skill and capacity of intelligence, bring joy to eaCH AND EVERYONE IN THE PARISH AND THIS cENTENARY WILL BE BRINGING SUCCESSIN THE PARISH ACHIEVEMENTS AND IMPROVEMENTS, pRAise the Lord. Felix Castelino & family, AttavarMangalore. Congrats to Fr. Victor Machado, my best friend saince so long.
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Arjun, IndiaFriday, August 05, 2011
Let us maintain this heritage site with pride for our younger generations to see, appreciate, participate and preserve the heritage of our city. congratulations to all who are pleased, rejoice this sacred occassion. Let us also maintain all chapel, churches, temples and mosques in the city and also ensure safety and cleanliness.
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Max and Jessie Rasquinha, Mangalore, Houston/DallasThursday, August 04, 2011
What a great pride and joy to learn than Bijey parish completed 100 glorious years serving not only the parishners but also all those that sought the help of the Parish in one form or another.

We truly admire the services that a Parish priest and his assistant has to render to the people not only in their religious needs but in many other personal requirements that involve family needs, health needs, educational needs and also many other personal needs. The Diocese and the Parish have lot to offer towards humanity. God bless them all.

We remember, whenever we visit India at odd times and request the Parish priest to visit us and bless the house they willingly come over not only with prayer books,the holy water and incense, but also a group full of volunteers with good voices too.

As and when we visit Mangalore we see the church all the time from our home balconies. We see the church cemetary too and remind ourselves that we too have a place reserved for us close to the flagpost. The church bells remind us of our wake up time and payer time too. Church is a symbol of many gifts, spiritual or otherwise.

Thank you, Bijey parish, for all your dedication of 100 years towards the people and towards the faithful. May God help you all to continue your mission.
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DENZIL FERNANDES, DUBAI, DUBAI/MANGALOREThursday, August 04, 2011

Congrats to Bejai priests & parishioners. As my friend Eddie Sequeira from Doha said Bejai church during those years was a force to reckon with. I was also born in Bejai somewhere near the bridge just before the old Post Office on your way to the church. It was exciting especially during Christmas time when there were games and we used to wait for the kuswar packet so generously given by the church. Same with the sugar cane that was distributed at other times.

Good fun all around. Also waiting for the drama to start in the small hall with a small gate was exciting. Remember the late actor Edward Quadros who was a permanent fixture in all plays. Still remember his belly and the moustache ?? Staying in Kapikad meant I had a choice either to go to Bejai church or Derebail church. But I always preferred to go to Bejai church. Great memories as a youngster.

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Nancy Rodrigues, MangaloreThursday, August 04, 2011
Congratulations to Bejai parishioners and priests. I spent my younger days in Bejai and studied in Lourdes school. I received my First Holy Communion from Fr Aloysius D'souza some 50 years ago. He was a very nice and kind priest. I always remember him fondly and also some of his teachings.
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Maya, BejaiWednesday, August 03, 2011
It was nice reading about Bejai Church and seeing pictures of the the Parish Priest that baptised me,the Parish priest when I was growing up and the Parish priest that baptised my children. Congratulations Bejai Church! I have fond memories of my Parish, the daily masses, the yearly routine of blessing the homes. This article took me down memory lane. Very nostalgic. Now a centenary completed is a pride and a joy for Bejai Parish.
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Wilfred Tauro, Bijai -AnegundiWednesday, August 03, 2011
As a proud parishoner, i relish this moment. Bijai folks have immensely contributed to the mangalore diocese growth in all the aspects. Contratulations to all the parishoners on this occasion.
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Fr Victor Machado, Bejai.Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Thanks for the extensive coverage given to the Centenary celebrations of our parish. Thanks also to all those who have so graciously sent in their comments, which have encouraged us very much. We shall try to great attention to make this year memorable. God bless all our parishioners both at home and abroad. Thanks a million.
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hubert, bejai/kuwaitWednesday, August 03, 2011
congratulations to all bejai parishoners and priests on this great occassion,vicor rightly said that the faith we have to build,and togetherness.
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ELIZA D'SOUZA & FAMILY, DUBAIWednesday, August 03, 2011
HEARTLY CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR PARISH PRIEST REV.FR.VICTOR MACHADO OF ST.FRANCIS XAVIER CHURCH AND OUR WELL WISHES TO YOU THAT ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.ALSO OUR WELL WISHES TO ALL THE FORMER PARISH PRIEST AND ASSISTED PRIEST WHO WORKED HARD TO EXTEND THE CHURCH-SCHOOL PREMISES TO THE UTMOST PRESENT LEVEL,OUR WISHES TO ALL THE ACTIVE PRIESTS, AND TO THE URSULINE SISTERS OF BEJAI KANNADA SCHOOL.
BY THEIR SINCERE PRAYERS AND SACRIFICES,DEDICATION & HARD WORK TO DAY WE HAVE REACHED THE GOAL. EXCITED TO JOIN TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE AND FEEL THE WARMTH BY SHARING AND CARING THROUGH OUR COMPLETE SUPPORT TOGETHER WITH THE ALL OUR PARISHNERS.TO DAY WE ARE PROUD TO BE A PARISHNERS OF ST.FRANCIS XAVIER BEJAI FROM 1925 ONWARDS.WELL I AM HAPPY TO KNOW OUR CHURCH IS CELEBRATING ITS EXISTING OF 100 YEARS CELEBRATION MAY FAMILY IS EXCITED TO JOIN ITS CELEBRATION.
WE PRAY AND ENCOURAGE OUR PARISHNERS LET US CONTINUE DOING THE GOODWORK FOR OUR CHURCH.
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nelson, mangalore/kuwaitWednesday, August 03, 2011
Thank you Daiji for bringing back nostalgic memories. I remember playing/watching many a cricket matches on this beautiful church ground in the 1970's and also the eventful christmas and new year nites with my hindu and muslim friends.
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LIZA D'SOUZA, DUBAIWednesday, August 03, 2011
HEARTLY CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR PARISH PRIEST REV.FR.VICTOR MACHADO OF ST.FRANCIS XAVIER CHURCH, TO ALL THE FORMER PARISH PRIEST AND ASSISTED PRIEST WHO WORKED HARD TO EXTEND THE CHURCH-SCHOOL PREMISES TO THE UTMOST PRESENT LEVEL,OUR WISHES TO ALL THE ACTIVE PRIESTS, AND TO THE URSULINE SISTERS OF BEJAI KANNADA SCHOOL.
TRULY IT IS THEIR SINCERE PRAYERS AND SACRIFICES, DEDICATION AND HARD WORK HAS BROUGHT SUCCESS TO REACH THE 100 YEARS CELEBRATION. WE ALSO CONGRATULATE OUR BEJAI PARISHENERS FOR THEIR MORAL SUPPORT IN VARIOUS WAYS TO THE PARISH AND POOR.
WELL TO-DAY WE ARE PROUD TO BE A BEJAI PARISHENERS. WE WERE BORN AND COMPLETED SCHOOLING AT BEJAI. WE SPENT OUR CHILDHOOD TIME IN BEJAI SCHOOLS AND PARISH.DUE TO CIRCUSTANCES IN LIFE WE MOVED OUT OF MANGALORE AND NOW RETURNED BACK TO BEJAI ST.XAVIER CHURCH AFTER 25YEARS. AS WE RE-COLLECT OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES AND HAVE SURPRISED TO FEEL THE CHANGES IN OUR CHURCH AND SCHOOLS OF BEJAI. AFTER READING THE ARTICLE BY FR.VICTOR MACHADO SURPRISED TO KNOW THAT OUR CHURCH AUTHORITIES TO-GETHER WITH THE PARISHENERS HAVE BROUGHT TREMENDOUS CHANGES BY THEIR HARD EFFORT. WHERE WE ATTEND DAILY MASSES AND PRAYERS AND EUCHARISTIC WORSHIP.WE OBSERVE TOO MANY WORSHIPERS ATTENDING DAILY MASS SERVICES BEGINING FROM MORNING 6.15A.M.ONWARDS OUR CHURCH HAVE FORMED PRAYER GROUPS & MANY CHOIR GROUPS WHO SING BEAUTIFULLY AND ENCOURAGE US TO PRAY & SING ALONG TO WORSHIP OUR GOD.
WE PRAY AND ENCOURAGE OUR PARISHNERS LET US CONTINUE DOING THE GOODWORK
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Karthik Bhat, MangaloreWednesday, August 03, 2011
Being an alumini of LCS, I am proud to be part of St Francis Xavier Church of Bejai, Mangalore. I hope Rev Fr. Victor Machado & Fr Ferdinand Gonsalves , will continue to take LCS forward and will continue to be alunmi friendly as the founder Fr Bernard and present ever gracious Principal Mrs Grace Noronha.
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Bulsam, MangaloreWednesday, August 03, 2011
Congratulations to the Priests & Parishoners of Bijai Church. keep it up!
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russell dsouza, bejai, MuscatWednesday, August 03, 2011
Congratulations to all our parishoners which is full of talent. I am proud to be from this parish and also to have my wife from the same Parish. Jeena yaha,Marna yaha, Iske siva jana kaha. Long live the Tamrind tree and the play ground in front of it.
Lot of memories eg. The X mas Pardela nites, Dec 3rd parish feast,cold & hot blood cricket matches, Youth festival,seasonsal games volley ball,football etc.
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Eddie Sequeira, Mangalore/DohaWednesday, August 03, 2011
Congratulations to Rev Fr. Victor Machado, all the Priests and Parishoners of Bejai Parish celebrating the Centenary year. I was born (Near St Anns Friary) and spent my childhood in this Parish. I still vaguely remember Rev Fr. G. P. Nazareth, ramrod straight but caring and a great teacher (that time I did not know he was a Konkani Scholar), affable Mgr. Pinto, and the fiery preacher Rev Fr Robert Pinto, and later after many years when I returned to the parish the Saintly Rev Fr Casmir D'Sa, who coaxed me to join Parish Council and fullly supported me when we started the Parish News Letter 'Izaicho Kallo' which I edited. I remember attending in my school days many Konkani Dramas' in that tiny Parish School Hall, watching the great actors like Late Edward Quadros, John Pereira, Charles Sequeira, etc. In the eighties I took part in many Cultural Programs of the parish in the company of Artiste of my age group like the great Musician Late Bennet Pinto, Singer Composer Gratian D'Souza, all rounder Manohar Pais, Joel Pereira, D'Mello brothers and may other artistes and well wishers.
Many many good memories...
Although now I belong to another parish I am always proud to say I am from Bejai.
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vishal managalore, MangaloreWednesday, August 03, 2011
congratulations to the parisheners of bejai. Its great occasion to celebrate. I really appreciate what Parish Priest Fr Victor Machado said... "Not the Structure but the faith...." But don't forget the poor of the parish.. Nice to see the Photographs of the Parish Preists served here down the years.. But I think lot many young Assistant parish Priests have served in this parish. It would be better their photographs are put with this article.I hope people remember them.
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akshay, Bejai/dubaiWednesday, August 03, 2011
Congratulations to all Bejai Priests & Parishoners. I live next door its wonderful to know church is built 100 years back May Lord bless all
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Dennis D'souza, M'lore/ BombayTuesday, August 02, 2011
I remember receiving my First Holy Communion some seventy years ago or so, since then when ever I have visited Mangalore, I made it a point to visit this church out of sheer nostalgia. On this happy and eventful centenery year, may St.Francis Xavier bless all the parishioners where ever they are and the devoted priests who have toiled over the years.
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A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.Tuesday, August 02, 2011
My heartfelt congratulations and
prayers at the 100th year
celebrations of the BEJAI CHURCH.

"A Church exists for the double purpose of gathering in and sending out" Anonymous.

" A room of quite......
a temple of peace. The home of
faith..where doubting cease. A house of comfort...where hope is
given A source of strength...to
make earth heaven. A shrine of
worship...a place to pray-I found
all this ...in my Church today"
Cyrus E. Albertson.

I wish the same for the BEJAI
Church in the coming days. MAY GOD
BLESS YOU ALL.
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John Pereira, Mira Road/ KuwaitTuesday, August 02, 2011
Congratulation to all the Parishoner of Bijai and the Hard works of our Priests to Build and maintain this house of God
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Col (retd) Sydney J Lobo, DehradunTuesday, August 02, 2011
Congratulations to all the Priests and Parishioners of Bejai Parish.I had been attending daily Mass here for two years 1960-61, 50 years ago, when I was living with the Monteiros on the front lower road and studying at St Aloysius.It was a blessing and a great experience for my spiritual upbringing.
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Prakash, Bendore/MuscatTuesday, August 02, 2011
Being an ex-parishioner, I felt nostalgic whilst going thru the article on Bijai church. The author has done an impressive job in covering the history of the parish. For memory sake, I would have loved to see pictures of the ex assist. parish priests and a picture of the old church (before renovation).
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frfranklin, Paladka/shimoga/DelhiTuesday, August 02, 2011
Congratulations to all Bejai Priests & Parishoners.May this centenary celebration of the parish deepen the faith life of the people and help them to commit their life to Christ.
i pray for the showers of blessings
Fr Franklin, CBCI secretary for the Youth, ICYM-national director
www.youthactiv8.org
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Ektha Dsilva, udupi/bahrainTuesday, August 02, 2011
Firstly a hearty congratulations to all the parishnors of Bejai years. I felt really good reading this article.Reminded me of days spent in Bejai.Good times and in bad i've found refuge here as well as in the Aloysius Chapel.Hoping to visit in due time.
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Kurt Waschnig, Oldenburg GermanyTuesday, August 02, 2011
I am smiling while I read this article and memories are coming back.
St Francis Xavier Church of Bejai, Mangalore impressed me a lot and I learnt a lot about the history of the parish and the good deeds done by the parish for the needy.
St Francis Xavier Church of Bejai, Mangalore is indeed a church in the heart of the city of Mangalore, one can sit down and meditate, pray and worship and reflect and realise how important it is to have a meaning of life in our globalised world, a world full of conflicts and problems and solutions can hardly be found.

Celebrating 100 years of a successful and meaningful existence is certainly a matter of great pride and satisfaction for any institution but one shall not say that St Francis Xavier Church of Bejai, Mangalore is an institution.
I always felt the presence of Jesus as soon as I entered this church, the presence of God is powerful there and it was always a pleasure to get in touch with parishioners outside the church, English is widely spoken and even Konkani.
The parish has been doing so much for the needy and the parishioners, fantastic work has been done but most important is that Mass is said there for so a long time.
I wish Fr Victor Machado, Parish Priest, Fr Anil Roshan Lobo, Asst. Parish Priest the best and please continue your good work at the parish.


Best regards


Kurt Waschnig Oldenburg Germany


e-mail: chess2550@gmx.de

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Fr Anil Lobo, BejaiTuesday, August 02, 2011
May this Centenary year bring all the parishioners together and work unitedly to establish the kingdom of peace and joy in the families, in the church and in the society. May this centenary celebration of the parish deepen the faith life of the people and help them to commit their life to Christ.
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CA Ned D'Cunha, Mangalore/Abu DhabiTuesday, August 02, 2011
Congratulations to all Bejai Priests & Parishoners. I attended one of the Sunday Masses in July, the sound system in the church is deafening & uncomfortable, may harm the parishoners. Please reduce the volume.
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