Urwa Parish with its beautiful church, Centenary Hall, Kannada and English Medium Schools, well-planned new presbytery and spacious grounds is fast approaching its post-centenary golden jubilee

It was in the year 1864 that a small building was arranged to be used as a Chapel and Rev. Fr. Lawrence D’Souza agreed to live in a small thatched hut nearby and attend to the spiritual needs of the people.  In 1865, Rev.Fr. Emmanuel Salvadore Vaz succeeded him, first as Chaplain and a year later, as the first parish priest.  Thus a full fldged Urwa Parish came into being in 1866.

Fr. Vaz impressed upon his parishioners the need for decent church building and strived hard towards this end.  Unfortunately, he died 8 years later with his dream unfulfilled.

Rev. Fr. Balthazar Rebello, a young and energetic priest who became the new pastor, made tremendous and determined effort to see the new church materialize. His zeal was rewarded in 1889 when the present site was bought from one Mr. Rama Rao.  The Bishop gave Rs. 1000/- and the parishioners gave their mite.  The balance was advanced by Mr. B.S. Saldanha of Boloor Coffee Works.  The Vicar-General, Rev. FR. J.B Rossi S.J. blessed the foundation stone on 11-01-1890 and the church was inaugurated and blessed  in 1893.  The hard toil and struggle took its toll on Fr. Rebello.  The parishioners’ grief was profound at his untimely death on 1st January 1896.

In 1901, Rev. Fr. Camil John Rego, a parishioner of Urwa and an able administrator, took charge as parish Priest.  He took over the management of the school, raised the compound wall and added the portico to the church building.

Rev. Fr. A.J. D’Souza who served as the Vicar of this parish from 1915-1930 was instrumental in introducing the devotion to Our Lady of Pompei.  He brought the picture from Pompei and it was enshrined on a side altar.  Thus Urwa became a place of pilgrimage for a large number of devotees from every nook and corner of Mangalore.  Fr. D’Souza also started a monthly magazine, “The Trumpet Call” which won him appreciation from none less than the Vatican.

It was on 30.11.1951 that Rev. Fr. T.A. Lobo took charge of this parish.  The High School was started by him, so that boys could get a secondary education. Mr. H.E.V Fernandes generously donated the building. Fr. Lobo also added the Eastern and western wing to the church.  The latter was donated by Mr. A.A. Rodrigues.

To mark the centenary year in 1964, under the able guidance of Fr. Lobo, the Centenary Memorial Hall was built.  After twenty long years of fruitful and dedicated service, he retired in 1971.

Rev. Fr. Valerain D’Souza who succeeded Fr. T.A. Lobo, was a man of dynamism and foresight.  He started the English Medium Nursery School and built an open air stage.  He also converted the two acres of vacant land behind the church into a coconut Garden which brought in a good income.

From 1978 to 1985, Rev. Fr. F.P.S Moniz, a son of the soil and a man of action and inexhaustible energy, held the reins of the parish.  He built a new belfry, started the English Medium Higher Primary School, adding a first floor to the existing building, (Which was generously donated by Chev. Casmir Pinto) and also constructed the Pompei Shade flats to help the middle class families of the parish.

The task of leading this flock now fell on the able shoulders of Rev. Fr. John D’Souza, a man of great courage, determination and vision.  The parishioners of Urwa will remain ever-grateful to him for the magnificent new house of God that he built.  The foundation stone was laid and blessed on 7-1-1990 by Rt. Rev. Basil S. D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore, Co incidentally, exactly 100 years after the foundation stone of the old church was laid.  The inauguration and blessing of the new church took place on 1st May, 1991 indeed a red-letter day for one and all.

On 25th May, 1992, Rev. Fr. Fred V. Pereira took charge of the parish.  With his practical and far-sighted approach, he felt the pulse of the people, and a year later, he fulfilled yet another dream by starting the St. Aloysius English Medium High School. It now became necessary to put up a building to accommodate the Englsih Medium School.  The foundation stone for this new building w2as laid by the then Chief Minister, Sri M. Veerappa Moily and blessed by Rev. Fr. F.P.S. Moniz on 18-4-1993.  Within 11 months, the first two floors of the new school building were inaugurated and blessed by Rt. Rev. Dr. Basil S. D’Souza. To commemorate the Platinum Jubilee of the enshrinement of Our Lady of Pompei, a new shrine memorial was built and it was blessed by Fr. F.P.S Moniz on 4th December 1994.

Fr. Pereira also introduced a mass in English on Sundays and days of obligation from 1st January, 1995.

In June 1996, Rev. Fr. Fred V. Pereira was appointed Rector of St. Joseph’s Inter-diocesan Seminary, Mangalore, by the Holy See.   God’s choice of a Pastor for this parish now fell on Rev. Fr. Denis M. Prabhu who stepped in on 7th July 1996.

In November that same year, it was decided to renovate the Centenary Hall, and under the excellent guidance of Rev. Fr. Denis Prabhu the work commenced.  Not only was the hall renovated but a Mini Hall was also planned and constructed behind the centenary Hall which has proved to be very useful for accommodating all the smaller social functions of the people as well as for parish programmes and meetings.  The mini hall was inaugurated by Our Bishop, Ret. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza on 2nd Oct., 1998.

In the year 2000, the Post –Centenary Silver Jubilee of the first school of our parish was celebrated.  The school was started in 1875 by Fr. Balthazar Rebello.  To mark the occasion, it was decided to start a computer Lab and release a souvenir.  Besides, to ensure security, the compound wall of the school was raised.  Ret. Rev. Dr. A.P. D’Souza inaugurated the Lab and declared the Jubilee Year.

In May 2001, Fr. Denis Prabhu was appointed as Chancellor of the Diocese and Rev. Fr. Andrew Lewis became the new shepherd of this flock.  Soon after he took over, being a man of prayer, who is very meticulous and assiduous in carrying out his duties.  Fr. Lewis introduced adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Fridays from 5.00 to 6.00 p.m. and also gave suggestions for strengthening the Small Christian communities in wards.

On 16th Febrauary, 2003, the Secular Franciscan Order celebrated the golden Jubilee of its establishment in our parish with a thanksgiving mass and cultural programme.

As the English Medium School was in need of some more classrooms to accommodate the growing numbers, the foundation stone of the new block was laid and blessed by the parish priest on 21st June, 2003.  His Lordship, our Bishop inaugurated and blessed the new block a year later, on 22nd June, 2004.

On 20th, June, 2004, Rev. Fr. Vincent D’Souza, the Assistant Parish Priest, started the Y.C.S for PUC students of our Parish, to guide and train them in leadership.  We have a teaching priest in our St. Aloysius English Medium School, Rev. Fr. Ivan Rodrigues, also assists the Parish Priest.

There was one more long standing need of the parish that needed attention-the construction of a new presbytery.  After discussing the issue, first at a Parish Pastoral Council meeting and later, putting it to the parish assembly, it was unanimously decided to undertake the project. Consequently, on 24 October, 2004  Rev. Fr. Lewis blessed and laid the foundation stone for the New presbytery.  Due to land conversion problems, the construction was started only in the second week of January, 2005.  The parishioners and others have contributed generously and in less than a year, on Ist January, 2006. The tall and handsome new parish house was inaugurated and blessed by Rt. Rev. Dr. A.P.D’Souza-yet another feather in our cap.

Rev. Fr. Victor D’Mello is the Parish Priest since November, 2008. Feeling concerned about the medical needs of the people, he organized a unique Fancy Fete and collected above RS. 32 lakh and has started a Medical Fund which is regularly helping the needy people. Similarly Parish Education Fund was strengthened by raising donations and other activities and presently the Fund is around Rs. 20 lakhs and catering to the need of Parish students.    He further improved the altar with background painting and marble painting to the side walls of the altar and the church pillars.  Two new pillars have been built in front of the sanctuary on both sides, so as to give a better aesthetic look. Better sound system and lighting has been arranged.  Church frontage is improved by beautifully laid colored interlock system.  Façade of the church has two statues of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Immaculate Conception to welcome and bless the faithful.  Adoration Chapel with beautiful interior was built from the donation made b y Late Annie Pais.

During his time through his initiative our Parishioners have donated in lakhs to Kokkada Church, Fajir Church, Gulbarga Diocese, Jeppu Seminary and other Diocesan requirements.
 
The church celebrated its post centenary golden jubilee in 2014-15.  The celebrations involved: spiritual renewal, commencing with the Retreat, cultural and sports for all categories of the Parishioners. Throughout the jubilee year daily one hour Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was conducted.  Fancyfete for raising funds towards housing fund was organized. A new beautiful belfry was constructed. Grotto of our lady of Lourdes was built during this year. A special souvenir was published.

After the successful stint as Parish Priest here Fr Victor D’Mello moved to Kirem Church as a Parish priest. Fr Stany Pereira took over from him the responsibility of the Parish as parish priest on 4th June 2016. Trusting in the providential care of the Lord, the Pastoral, Administrative and Educational mission and Pompei Shrine and all other Apostolates of the parish are carried on with vigour with the good support of Fr Amith Rodrigues, the asst. parish priest, Fr Valerian Rodrigues,  Mr. Hilary DSouza, the Vice President, the secretary, Mrs Jenevive  Mathias, The Gurkars, and the Parish council members and the Parishioners. 
      

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Immaculate Conception Church
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