Pics by: Kevin Rodrigues
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi (JD)
Udupi, Dec 15: It was a day to remember for the residents of Barkur. The renovated church building of St Peter’s Church, Barkur, famed for its Gothic styled architecture was blessed by Udupi bishop Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo here on Sunday, December 15.
Fr Philip Neri Aranha, parish priest, Barkur church, Fr Stany B Lobo, chancellor, diocese of Udupi, Fr Baptist Menezes, vicar general, Gerald M Gonsalves, vice president, Vivet Lewis, secretary, Dolphy D'souza, coordinator of commissions were present.
In his homily, Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo said, "The dream of all Barkurians has come true today. A beautiful church has been built and it involves sacrifice and hard work of all parishioners. It is not just a building of stones but a structure built from the emotions of the faithful. Devalaya is called as place of God in Indian culture. It is a holy place where faithful keep their prayers in front of God. People recognize the presence of God in this place and God showers his blessings on his faithful.
"The relationship between God and his people is a special one. The creator does not need a place of worship but we need a place of worship to feel his presence and keep our prayers in front of him. Jesus, son of God, explained the true meaning of a place of worship. He preached in God’s house and drove out the vendors who were doing their business in church premises.
"Jesus is the new church and altar. He is the priest for us. We have become a part of the church through the sacrament of Baptism and we become the temple of God. Today, we see this beautiful church. However, let us build the temple of God within us and be a true follower of Catholic Church. May St Peter bless us and help us to be true temples of God.”
Fr Stephen D'Souza, director of Liturgy Commission, narrated the ceremony.
The stage programme commenced with a welcome dance by the children of Barkur parish.
Bishop Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo presided over the public felicitation programme. J R Lobo, former MLA, Shaila D’souza, president, Barkur gram panchayat, Sr Silivia Fernandes, Sisters of Charity, B Shantaram Shetty, Karnataka State Rajyotsava Awardee, Jerald M Gonsalves, vice president, Vivet Lewis, secretary, and Dolphy D'souza, co-ordinator of Commissions, were present on the occasion.
Fr Stany B Lobo, chancellor, diocese of Udupi, speaking on the occasion said, “It is an occasion to thank God for this day. Being a Barkurian, I feel proud to be part of this occasion. It is the faith, hard work and sacrifice of our elders that we are able to see this joyous day. The sapling that our elders had planted here years back, has become a huge tree today. I thank the parish priest of the church and also all the parishioners of the church for their selfless service. They have made our dream come true. May St Peter bless all of you.”
Fr Baptist Menezes, vicar general, addressing the gathering said, “I congratulate all the parishioners of Barkur on this occasion. The patron of this church is St Peter, a rock and this marvellous church has been built on that rock. But more than that we need to lead our life in more faith and retain it till the end and be an example to others. May St Peter bless you all.”
J R Lobo, former MLA, in his address said, “First of all I appreciate you all on transforming the old church into such a beautiful structure. These days we always see the old ones are destroyed and new building comes up, but here you have retained the old church. It is the hard work of our ancestors who have given their heart and soul to build this church in the past. Churches are places to pray but this is not the end. We need to witness Jesus Christ in our life then only we can be the true followers of Christ. Also, we need to concentrate on our youngsters more, they are our future and they will keep these churches intact in future. We need to build a community that works for the needy. Again, I thank everyone for inviting me here.”
Bishop Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo in his message said, “There was a festive vibe while arriving here today. We have already thanked God for his blessings on this day. The oldest church with the gothic touch is shining beautifully like a bride today. As I have already said, a church is a place of prayer, a place with gives peace to mind and satisfaction. This place welcomes everyone and we return with blessings.
“While building this church we have tried to retain the old shape which is impossible to build again. They are our prides. I remember all the priests who have rendered their service here. Also, I appreciate the work of present priest Fr Philip Neri Aranha for his wonderful work and also the parishioners for their sacrifice and service. We have built the church structure, but now we have to build a place of God in our heart and be a living church by helping the poor and needy. We shall be celebrating Christmas soon. Let this Christmas be a light to everyone through our good deeds. Also, Barkurians will be celebrating their annual feast this week and we wish everyone a happy feast. May God bless you all.”
B Shantaram Shetty, Karnataka State Rajyotsava Awardee, in his address congratulated the parish priest and the parishioners on the occasion. Shaila D’Souza, president, Barkur gram panchayat, congratulated all the parishioners and the priests on the happy occasion.
Former priests who had served the parish and also former superiors of Sisters of Charity convent were felicitated on the occasion by the bishop. Stany Rodrigues, contractor, sub-contractors, Vinay Amedia, architect, were also honoured.
Fr Phlip Neri Aranha and his mother Theresa Aranha were felicitated by the bishop.
St Peter Association Barkur, Mumbai, St Peter Association Barkur, Bengaluru, and St Peter Association Barkur, Dubai, donors, sponsors, gurkars, and various committee members were also felicitated by the bishop. He also felicitated a few altar servers who render their service every day during the holy Eucharist.
A documentary about the history and the development of the church was telecasted on the event.
Fr Philip Neri Aranha, parish priest, St Peter Church, Barkur, gave an introductory note on the occasion.
Ace master of ceremony Eric Soans compered the programme. Jerald M Gonsalves, vice president, welcomed the gathering and Vivet Lewis, secretary, rendered the vote of thanks.