News & Photos: Fr. Richard D’Souza
It was a historic day for Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, Urwa as it wrapped up its post-centenary Golden Jubilee celebrations with a grand event at the Church premises here on Friday May 1.
The grand finale of the celebrations began with the inauguration and blessing of the newly-built belfry and the grotto by Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza.
A Eucharistic mass was celebrated thereafter. Bishop of Shivamogga Dr Fracis Serrao in his homily said, “We have gathered here to celebrate the jubilee of Urwa Church which has completed 150 years of its establishment. This Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. At this moment, I remember a great singer who was among us – the late Wilfy Rebimbus – he had composed many famous songs and one of them was ‘Naman tuka avaytona thuje vorthe bhag konak na’.
“We celebrate two types of jubilees – one is individual and another is of organization. When a person turns 25 years old, it is jubilee celebration, when he turns 50, he celebrates golden jubilee with a little sadness, and then 75 years’ platinum jubilee with more sadness, and the centenary 100th year nearing death. However, in the case of an organization, it gets strengthened when it celebrates silver jubilee, and as the years pass by, it grows only stronger.
“This Church has completed 150 years and the Lord has showered his blessings on the church and its followers all these years; 150 years is a long time and we have to thank the priests and sisters who have rendered their services to our people. The Lord who has been with us and will always help us in our difficulties. We have to see people who are in orphanages and in difficulties and fill the void by helping them, and that is what we believe in. The Lord has told us to believe in him and we have to do so. He has asked to forgive and we have to do it as many times a person commits mistakes,” Fr Serrao said.
The formal ceremony was held after the mass, presided over by Bishop Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza.
Addressing the gathering, the bishop said, “On this momentous occasion of completing 150 years, I congratulate the parish priests, sisters, people of this church and people who have been rendering services to the Church. It is a good thing that the parish priest was felicitated today – it shows you recognized the services of your parish priest. Recognition of services is important. I congratulate the parish priest (Fr Victor D’Mello) for putting in his efforts to celebrate the event.
“Organizing a jubilee function is not so important but what is important is the spiritual exercises which you have conducted for the past one year. You (Urwa Church) have raised education fund for poor students and health funds, and now you are planning to build houses for the poor. I wish you the very best and pray to the Lord for the betterment of the church. I thank the Lord for his endless blessings,” he added.
Bishop of Ajmer Dr Pius Thomas D’Souza said, “I congratulate this parish on completing 150 years. The priests and people have kept belief in God all these years. Attacks on the community have started these days and things like Ghar Wapsi are happening. What is Ghar Wapsi? This (Christianity) is our house. We will not leave this house. We have to keep our belief in Mother Mary and Jesus Christ always. I wish and pray for this church.”
MLA J R Lobo in his address called upon the people to be more service-minded and said, “I am really happy to be here on this occasion of the celebration of post-centenary golden jubillee of Urwa Church and I wish all the best to the Church. Many people hailing from this Church have attained good positions and are rendering service to society. Let this continue. Our community is not only confined to church but it has to live with the society, so we have more responsibility. Jesus Christ with his service reached out to people, lived with the people and served the people. So service should be our main motive.
“We Christians in Mangaluru are in a good position so we have to serve the society – it may be politically, in bureaucracy or by rendering social service to the people. Today we are religious but the question is are our youngsters also religious? After 50 years where will Mangaluru be? The religious teachings by our elders should be passed on to the younger generations. In our society there are lot of people who are aspiring to become successful professionals and we have to support them. With your support we have become leaders and we have representation in the government. It is not enough to have lots of money – we need to have our say in the society. I request Mangalureans to reduce their expenses on marriages and other functions and use that money to help people who are in need,” he urged. He also emphasized on the need to save Konkani language and culture.
The vice-president, former president, secretary and former secretary of Govlik Parishad, donors who have contributed Rs 50,000 or more for Urwa Church, parish priest Fr Victor D’Mello, assistant parish priest Fr Jeevan Sequeira, contractors, architect and donors of belfry and the grotto, former parish priests and former assistant parish priests were felicitated on the occasion.
Earlier, Fr Victor D’Mello welcomed the gathering.
Hundreds of faithful filled the premises and witnessed the grand celebrations.