Udupi: St Peter’s Church, Pethri set to celebrate golden jubilee on Dec 10

Daijiworld Media Network – Udupi (WD/KR)

Udupi, Dec 8: St Peter’s Church, Pethri, is all set to hold its golden jubilee celebrations on December 10.

Dr Gerald Issac Lobo, bishop, diocese of Udupi, will preside over the thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration. After the Eucharistic celebrations, a grand felicitation programme will be held which will be presided over by the bishop.

Msgr Baptist Menezes, vicar general, diocese of Udupi, Fr Lawrence C. D’Souza, dean, Kallianpur deanery, K Ragupathi Bhat, MLA, Udupi constituency, Pramod Madhwaraj, former minister, government of Karnataka, Sudhakar Shetty, member, zilla panchayat ( Pedrdoo), Gopi K Naik, member taluk panchayat (Cherkadi), Harish Shetty, president, Cherkadi gram panchayat, Fr Joseph Dolphy Pais, OFM Cap, provincial superior, and Sr Dr Matilda Monteiro, provincial superior, Sisters of Charity, will grace the occasion along with Fr Joseph Machado, parish priest, St Peter’s Church, Pethri, Vincent D’Almeida, vice president, parish pastoral council, and Prema D’Almeida, secretary, parish pastoral council. Edward Lasren D’Souza, coordinator, 18 Commissions will be present on the occasion.

New church building

Inauguration of golden jubilee year by Fr Chethan Lobo, OFM Cap

Old church building

Fr Joseph Machado, parish priest, and Vincent D'Almeida, vice-president, pastoral council

According to history Prof Dr Gururaj Bhat, the name Pethri came from the St Pedro’s name. In Greek language, Pedro means ‘Petron’ and in Kannadi language ‘Pethr’. Hence the name ‘Pethri’ came into existence.

Though the church is celebrating its golden jubilee,its history is as old as before India’s independence. In 1784, on Ash Wednesday, February 25, soldiers of Tipu Sultan looted the church and demolished it. The huge church bell was given to nearby Shankarnarayana temple and Christians were imprisoned. In this attack, some people hid the sacred things and statute of St Peter in a nearby well. Later when Tipu Sultan was no more, some Christians who were released from the prison bought back the hidden items and kept it in Kallianpur Church. The items were later taken to Barkur Church. It was then decided to build a church in the name of St Peter. As a sign of martyrdom of people of Pethri, the statue of St Peter retrieved from the well was blessed by Msgr William Lewis and bought in procession to Pethri in the year 1977. The bell that was given to the temple by Tipu Sultan still hangs in Shankarnarayana temple. According to an elderly person late Minis Mascarenhas the bell has a small sign of cross on it. Though Tipu Sultan tried to destroy Christians, he could not destroy the faith of people and with this faith, Pethri Church celebrates its golden Jubilee.

Though Tipu Sultan destroyed many churches, they have been rebuilt soon. As Pethri Church had less number of faithful, the church could not be rebuilt again soon. But the then assistant priest of Kallianpur Church, Fr Saba Fernandes, tried to unite people of Kolalgiri, Brahmavar and other places. At that time, Pethri was part of Kolalgiri Church. For the spiritual needs of people, priests used a private house to offer Mass. Later, a small tiled chapel was built. This chapel was there for many years and later used as a school too. Later, Br John Louis, son of Alex Louis from Uppoor panchayat, a religious brother, donated around 9.5 acres of land. When Fr Saba Fernandes was transferred to Brahmavar parish, Pethri Chapel too was given to Brahmavar. This church was given to Capuchin priests and the then priest of Brahmavar Church, Fr Roche and assistant priest Fr Apolinaris, strived hard for the development of the church. People still remember the efforts put by Fr Apolinaris for his work towards the church.

Fr Julian D'Mello was the first parish priest for the new church. This church building was inaugurated on May 19, 1968 by then bishop of Mangaluru late Basil D'sSuza. On April 3, 1972, Msgr William Lewis was appointed as parish priest. He served for eight years giving much importance to catechism. Simultaneously, Robert Louis brother of Msgr William Lewis, gave a helping hand in the development of the church. Msgr William Lewis retired in the year 1980. Fr Robert Crasta, the then principal of Milagres College, and assistant priest of Milagres Church was appointed as the parish priest of the church. He encouraged students, who were bright in studies but had financial difficulties, to study further. He also constructed a well and developed the environment and also planted 14 crosses in the surrounding to increase faith towards the cross.

On June 25, 1985, Fr Valerian Frank was appointed as the parish priest. He constructed the houses for homeless with the help of CODP. He started a youth group gathering youths of the church also started St Vincent De Paul group. On May 23, 1988, Fr Louis D'Souza took up charge as parish priest. He encouraged children to attend daily Mass. On June 4, 1993, Fr Wilson D'Souza, the then vice principal of Milagres College was appointed as parish priest. He renovated the church by spending Rs 3.5 lac. The church roof, cemetery, compound wall, grotto, stage, borewell etc was developed. The silver jubilee of the church was celebrated in great joy in his tenure. A new church bell was bought from Kallianpur Church and new belfry was inaugurated on the occasion of church feast on February 8, 1995, by Fr Stany Pereira.

Fr Albert Menezes came has new parish priest in the year 1995. He constructed the church compound and developed the church garden. Fr Edwin Menezes took up the responsibility of the church in the year 1997. He built new ‘Vanijya Sankirana’ for the church and it provides income till date. In the year 1999, Fr Alex Aranha was appointed as parish priest. He built a portico for the priest's house which helped to hold church meetings. Fr Prakash Cutinha became the parish priest for the church in the year 2001. He had keen interest in starting an English medium school. He was the director of YCS in Udupi area and he started YCS group in the church. In the year 2005, Fr Victor D'Souza came in as the new parish priest. He planted coconut trees in the church compound and also constructed new borewell for the church. In the year 2006, the foundation stone was laid for new English medium school building and it was inaugurated in the same year on June 6. Due to less number of students, it was difficult to run the school. This building is now used as a mini hall for church programmes.

In 2012, Fr Sunil D'Silva was given charge of the church. The young and dynamic priest soon become people friendly in the church. In the same year, the foundation stone was laid for new pressbytry. In the year 2014, a new pressbytry was constructed with the help of kind hearted donors. Fr Sunil D'Silva encouraged youths and children. Fr Canute Barboza was appointed as parish priest in the year 2015. He undertook the work of the new church building and the same was inaugurated on December 20, 2016. In the year 2017, Fr Joseph Machado took charge as the parish priest. In the year 2018, the church faithful celebrated the silver jubilee of Catholic Sabha Pethri and organised an event at diocese level. On July 8, 2018, Catholic Sabha Pethri unit bagged six awards along with ‘best unit award’ for their service.

On May 6, 2018, the church golden jubilee celebration was inaugurated and various decisions were taken. Some of them are 15 new golden chalices for the priests, cushion for the bench kneelers, new hymn books, 50 new fiber chairs, CCTV cameras for the church surrounding, new computer, planting cashews and other trees in the church premises, scholarship for bright and economically backward children, and to increase the amount of health and education trust.



Title : Udupi: St Peter’s Church, Pethri set to celebrate golden jubilee on Dec 10


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