Bangalore: Ronald Colaco Gifts Replica of Lourdes Grotto to Venkatala Church
Pics: Dayanand Kukkaje
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore
Bangalore, Aug 20: In yet another first-of-his-kind gesture of non stop generosity and support for various fields and communities, philanthropist Ronald Colaco added one more feather by donating a replica of the famous Lourdes Grotto at the Venkatala church in Bangalore.
Not so long ago on April 22 earlier this year, Ronald Colaco had dedicated a mammoth church in the same area and personally given it to the Archdiocese of Bangalore. And when the parish priest of the Venkatala church, Fr Prem asked Ronald Colaco if he would support the church with the Grotto the reply was an immediate ‘yes’. Without any waste of time, the plan was on and a replica of the same Lourdes Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes in France was initiated to be built.
Thousands of people visit Lourdes every year in search of miracles and hundred of people have been miraculously healed. And, according to Fr Prem, those who cannot afford to go to Lourdes (France) can now visit the Grotto in Bangalore and seek assistance from our Lady of Lourdes.
Just as the construction began, one was lucky to come across Frank Alvares (ex Abu Dhabi) who came forward to assist with the design and supervision of the construction. With great interest, Frank not only guided but undertook to look after the daily progress of the Grotto and what one sees today is an immaculate replica of the beautiful structure that is in Lourdes (France). Having seen the Lourdes image personally himself, Frank has been able to add some special effects to the one in Bangalore. Helping him were several other volunteers and contractors working relentlessly every day. The result is there to be seen and one visit to the church Grotto is proof enough for the believers to thank Ronald Colaco and his family for this noble gesture.
An ecstatic parish priest, Fr Prem said, “I am really grateful to Ronald Colaco and his family for gifting this wonderful replica of the Lourdes Grotto to us. May God Bless him and his family. He also thanked Frank who worked to beautify this Grotto with design and supervision day and night along with so many others.”
The most beautiful Grotto is a piece of art and workmanship with the miracle well and the streams of water flowing from the feet of Mother Mary. The water is ever flowing just like the one in Lourdes which is still existing even today. There are several similarities to the one in Lourdes and the light which struck the rock during the apparition of Mary and is reflected on the face of Saint Bernadette is also brought in the Grotto. Like in France, there are 12 large candles in a row on the left side of the Grotto and a multi tiered candle stand on the right, which is an act of thanksgiving by the people. Mother Mary is always praised as Ave Maria and the name is placed at the bottom of the Grotto and when St Bernadette asked for the name, Mother Mary replied ‘I Am The Immaculate Conception” and this wording is also placed at the feet of Mother Mary.
In a symbolic ceremony, the Archbishop of Bangalore Bernard Moras blessed the Grotto and was mighty pleased with such a quick development in the Venkatala church. In his tribute to the donor, he enthusiastically praised Ronald Colaco and his family for his huge act of generosity for the Christian people and all those who believe in Mother Mary. The Grotto is most beautiful especially in the night when the lights are in full flow with a combination of blue and yellow in full brightness. Mother Mary is shown in a life like image much to the devotion of the worshippers with beaming rays of lights on St. Bernadette. Kripa Alva from Mangalore has added a special touch with her choice of plants and creepers to gel well with the Grotto.
The ceremony was attended by a large number of followers. Replying to the felicitation, Ronald Colaco said that he was just doing his Christian duties which will benefit his fellow beings.
After honoring the Archbishop by the church committee, the Archbishop took upon himself to present a shawl and garland to the star of the night Ronald Colaco after saying a few good words about the evergreen philanthropist. Later, the Archbishop honoured Frank Alvares for his design and supervision, Arun Fernandes for being the overall contractor and Jesudas who was the specialized contractor for the Grotto with a shawl and garland. The highlight of the evening was honoring 85 years old Alice Colaco (Ronald’s mother) who was specially present for the ceremony with a garland and shawl. The Archbishop mentioned that this Grotto is the best ever in the Bangalore region and resembles just like the one in Lourdes. (France)
When the church was inaugurated in April 2012, Dr Cajetan Coelho of Goa had commented, “ Raising minds and hearts in song and prayer is a strong point of our people in Asia. Investing and creating a conducive environment for spiritual life is a thoughtful gesture. In our multi-cultural and multi-religious society genuine "union of hearts and minds" is vital for our holistic well being”.
Ronald Colaco with his vast reservoir of doing good to his community, irrespective of caste, creed or color has gone a long way in creating a healthy atmosphere all around us. No words can suffice to the large hearted gesture of Ronald Colaco and family who brings joy to numerous people both directly and indirectly with his acts of benevolence.
Just like the Grotto in Lourdes, France, where several pilgrims converge every single day of the year seeking support, solace and safety from the Lady of Lourdes, one is sure that the Grotto at the Venkatala church in Bangalore also will see the religious flocking and seeking help from the Lady of Miracles.
A beaming Ronald Colaco who seemed satisfied with the project said, “I had a divine call starting with the church and concluding with the Grotto which is complete now. At this point I must mention the services of Frank Alvares who came forward with a nice design and also had pictures of the Lourdes Grotto in France since he was there. Personally, I could only finance the entire project and all efforts were put in by Frank and his team for which I am grateful to him as well as Kripa Alva.”