The Beginning

The Konkan coastal region was under the regime of Bidnoor Keladi Naiks untill the 17th century. In fact, Alupas, the regents of Naiks, were ruling the region between Kudupu and ‘Kudala’ (Koodi + Aala, Kodi + Alven, Kuriel or Kodiyal). Alupendra, one of the prominent regents, was given the title “Kulashekara Raja” as he was based at this place (Kulashekara).

In the year 1865, Rev Fr Alexander Dubois took charge as the parish priest of Milagres church and he learnt about the atrocities meted out against the Christians in the year 1799. But he was surprised to know that a few Catholics who survived, were worshipping a cross hidden in Cordel forest in Kulashekar. In fact, he retained the name Cordel, as the word ‘Cordel’ meant ‘valley of love’ in French (Fr Dubois’ mother-tongue).

As the parish priest of Milagres church, he had to travel for about 10 kms to spread the faith and to serve the poor. In fact, he was visiting Vamanjoor, Bondel, Kelarai, Cordel, Anjelore and Valencia on barefoot. However, now there are churches in all the places mentioned above.

Holy Cross Church

Fr Dubois brought the cross which was revered and worshiped by the Catholics during the turbulent times, to Kulshekar with great devotion and respect. As his plans of constructing a church at Milagres could not be materialised, he decided to construct the church in Cordel.

He laid the foundation stone for the church on September 14, 1873, which was also the day of the feast of Holy Cross. Aptly, he dedicated the church to the Holy Cross. He also constructed the 14 stations (Way of the Cross), Pilate’s seat, Roman court, scourging at the pillar, Sephulcar and presbytery.

Besides, he constructed a small pond and erected a sanctum sanctorum in which he placed a life size statue of Jesus (Ecce Homo). He also purchased 30-acre land surrounding the area for future development works and planted varieties of saplings.

In fact, he spent about Rs 60,000 Francs for all the works undertaken by him, which was given to him by his family members and his god-father. Later, he laid foundation stone for the church building in the design of cross. He procured the majestic bells, painted glasses and other artistic statues from Europe. However, as the construction work progressed, he ran short of money and he had to stop the construction work. His Assistant, Rev Fr Ladislas Deloz, too made attempts to continue the works, but in vain.

In the year 1877, the deadly Cholera struck Mangalore and Fr Dubois became busy in administering the sacrament of extreme unction, serving the sick and burying the dead. Alas, the deadly disease did not leave him too. Within two days after he suffered from the disease, Fr Alexander Dubois passed away on December 12, 1877.

The following day was the feast of Milagres parish and also the Kudupu Shashti. Thousands of people irrespective of caste and religion, between Milagres and Kudupu, rushed to Cordel to have a glimpse of the holy priest. He was laid to rest behind the present church, as per his wish.

In this way, Kulshekar became “Frad Saib’s Cordel” and Fr Alexander Dubois became “Cordel’s Frad Saib” (Kullyarda Ajjer).

Later, Fr Ladislas continued the development works in the parish. His works include the chapel of ‘Lady of Mercy,’ St Michael’s arch and two houses to the North of the church, repair of church roof. Though he visited the USA to collect funds for the church, he returned with bare-hands. However, he wrote a will in which he made the entire property of the church in the name of the Catholics, but under the Bishop’s administration. The will also mentioned that the presbytery should be reserved for the Bishop as a ‘summer rest house’. Fr Ladislas and later Monsignor Colaco purchased about 10 acre of land for the church.

Fr Ladislas became sick and he passed away in St Aloysius College on November 21, 1888. Though his funeral was held at St Aloysius chapel, he was laid to rest near the chapel of ‘Lady of Mercy,’ as per his last wish.

After his death, all developmental works in the church were stopped temporarily. On the contrary, the site where Frad Saib was laid to rest became a pilgrim centre.

At this point of the time, the administration of Mangalore diocese changed hands from the Carmelite bishops to the Jesuits. Though the period between 1888 and 1904 was a “black period” for Cordel, the number of pilgrims to Cordel went on increasing. On the other hand, the material procured for construction of the church was going waste. The statues procured by Fr Dubois from Europe were given to other churches to be kept in safe custody. Those valuable statues never returned to Cordel. However, when there was a move to shift the majestic bells which Fr Dubois procured, the parishoners woke up from their deep slumber. And perhaps, the bells remained in the church, because of the parishioners’ efforts.

One of the noted church property (statue) which did not see the light of the day in Cordel church is a marble alter, that was taken to Milagres church. A few relics of Fr Dubois were stolen by thieves. Some of them were traced later.

Foundation for Cordel church

The Cordel church was founded on May 31, 1904 by the then Jesuit Bishop Most Rev Fr A Cavadini as per the law of Holy Mother Church. He appointed Rev Fr M P Colaco as the first parish priest of Cordel church.

While Simon Pinto was appointed as THRIDER, Antony D’Souza was appointed as FABRIKAR. A confraternity too was formed in the vicinity. The newly founded church comprised 250 families. Fr Colaco purchased another 6 acres of land for the church.

As per the directions of the Bishop, seven wards were formed in the church on December 28, 1904 and gurkars and assistant gurkars were appointed.

The seven wards were:

  • Holy Cross ward
  • Sacred ward
  • Lady of Mercy ward
  • St. Ann ward
  • St. Jochim ward
  • St. Joseph ward; and
  • St. Sebastin ward

The border between Cordel and Omjoor churches were drawn on February 21, 1905. The Bishop also framed rules and regulations pertaining to the church property. To bring in more transparency, the Bishop formed “Board of administration,” a 12-member adminsitrative committee.

At this point of time, the masses were held at either in the living room attached to the presbytery or the verandah of the presbytery.

As Fr Colaco did not have much knowledge on construction works, the Bishop appointed Fr M Lunanzhii to continue the work on the church building. It was decided to remove the partially constructed walls and construct new walls. The move was taken to construct a smaller church than planned originally.

As the number of devotees visiting the Frad Saib’s tomb was on the rise day by day, it was decided NOT to include the same inside the church. A few good materials pertaining to the old building too were used for the new building. While a few rich donated funds for the construction of the church, the tiles owners donated tiles. The collection at the donation box kept at Frad Saib’s tomb (which was more than Rs 10,000), too was used for the construction work. In fact, many people helped in the construction of church in some way or the other.

Even before the completion of the church works, Fr Colaco was appointed the Director of St Antony Ashram in the year 1911. On February 24, 1911, Rev J Salvadore Vas took charge as the new parish priest of Cordel. The church building was blessed on January 30, 1912 and the church feast was celebrated in a grand manner on the following day.

The confraternity of Lady of Sorrows was erected in 1914.

The first priest from the newly founded Cordel church was Fr Kajethan who was ordained on September 21, 1916.

When Fr Vas went to Mumbai for three months, Rev Fr Valerian D’Souza took care of the spiritual needs of the parishioners. He later went on to become the first Indian bishop of Mangalore diocese.

On April 6, 1923, Rev Fr Francis S D’Souza was appointed as the parish priest and he replaced Fr Vas. On December 14, 1923, the Cordel parish was included in the “Parish union” of Mangalore.

In the year 1926, the church undertook the renovation work of St Joseph school and the roof of the presbytery. At the same time, a short cut road to Maroli was constructed after purchasing land from St Antony ashram. A compound wall too was constructed for the ashram. Meanwhile, the then grave digger (Cemetery undertaker / Chamadore) Casmir D’Souza constructed a grotto for Mother Lourdes. In the year 1928, the 50th death anniversary of Frad Saib was observed. In the following year, the silver jubilee of the foundation of the church was celebrated in a grand manner on May 31, 1929. In the year 1931, the responsibility of the school was handed over to the Bethany sisters.

As the number of parishioners went on increasing, the then parish priest made a request with the Bishop for an assistant parish priest. On March 26, 1931, Rev Fr Thomas Aquin Lobo took charge as the first assistant parish priest of Cordel church. In the same year, arrangements were made for benches for the parishioners to sit in the church. On October 25, 1932, ‘Apostalad of Prayer’ was formed. On July 11, 1932, different sodalities were formed for boys and girls. Recognition was also obtained for Alter Boys Sodality. A well was dug near the kitchen. The majestic bells brought by Frad Saib were erected in the newly constructed bell tower. On April 24, 1933, Rev Fr John Castelino replaced Rev Fr Thomas Aquin Lobo as the assistant parish priest and on May 31, 1933, Rev Fr Peter Remigious arrived at Cordel as the new parish priest in place of Rev Fr Francis D’Souza, who was transferred. On August 20, 1933, Fr Peter formed the Society of St Paul in Cordel church. He also formed two societies – milk and eatables – for the welfare of the people. Besides constructing a portico for the church, he also purchased some land for the church. At this point of time, the donors donated the Crucifix (especially for use on Good Friday ceremony) and the cover for Sephulcar of Jesus. In fact, the statues of St Peter and St Paul, which are atop the bell tower too were donated. Aptly, the donors were given the honour of benefactors and founders.

On October 22, 1934, Rev Fr Frank Peres took charge as the assistant parish priest of the church. On May 5, 1934, the border for Cordel and Bendoor churches were drawn as per the decree of the then Bishop. On February 15, 1935, the border for Cordel and Anjelore churches were drawn. On May 21, 1938, Rev Fr Ambudious D’Souza took charge as the new assistant parish priest. In the year 1941, Secular Franciscan and ‘Third Order of the Franciscan Secular’ units were opened for the men and women respectively. In the same year, the chapel of Mother of Sorrows was repaired. Besides, the alter and the statues were painted and an iron gate for the church was erected.

Following the efforts of Rev Fr Peter D’Souza, the only portrait of Rev Fr Alexander Dubois drawn by Francis Gama on an iron sheet, was brought back from Milagres church. In fact, the photographs available worldwide with the devotees today are nothing but the copies of the same portrait.

In the year 1943, the Bethany sisters constructed a high school next to their convent in Kulshekar. The three assistant parish priests who served in Cordel at that point of time were: Rev Fr Gracian D’Souza (1944), Rev Fr Charles Sequeira (took charge on May 1, 1945) and Rev Fr Arthur D’Souza (took charge on May 21, 1946).

Fr Peter D’Souza who was a great devotee of Frad Saib made all efforts to spread the message of Frad Saib worldwide and also to obtain sainthood, in the year 1946, with the help from Alex Pais and Rev Fr Arthur D’Souza.

The new design of the church

On May 10, 1949, Rev Fr Casmir Mathias took charge as the new assistant parish priest and in the same month (May 31, 1949), Parish Priest Rev Fr Peter D’Souza retired. Rev Fr Piad Saldanha took over as the new parish priest. An environmentalist by profession, he decorated the tomb of Frad Saib and made it more attractive for pilgrims. He also made an arrangement for safety of donations for Frad Saib, so that the donation box was outside the church, but the opening for it was inside the Sacristy.

He was also responsible for the arch by the roadside wherein he placed the statue of Frad Saib. He also repaired the arch of St Michael and erected the statue of Lourdes. In fact, he went on to build compound wall around the church premises, cemetery, new kitchen, painted and white washed the church walls, new ceiling for alter and renovation of church roof and electrification of church. All these works were done by Rev Fr Saldanha with the help of donors.

On January 4, 1950, Rev Fr Abel Coelho took charge as the new assistant parish priest. He started the CYM unit to bring the youth together and to train them in leadership qualities. Similarly, the Legion of Mary and Women’s Sodality units were started on March 19, 1950 and July 7, 1950 respectively. In the same time, the Frad Saib’s cassock, which was kept at Camil Patrao’s house, was brought to the church and it was kept as a relic.

On June 3, 1952, Rev Fr Gregory D’Cruz took charge as the assistant parish priest and he started ‘Soldiers of the Cross’ on January 31, 1954 on a confraternity Sunday. Cardinal Valerian Gracious who visited Mangalore during this time, also paid a visit to Frad Saib’s tomb and offered prayers. On May 25, 1954, Rev Fr Peter Paul D’Souza took charge as the assistant parish priest. After his transfer, Rev Fr Joseph Piad Sequeira took charge as the assistant parish priest on April 11, 1956. Fr Sequeira was also the last assistant parish priest for Fr Piad Saldanha, who did commendable works for the welfare of Cordel parish, before he was transferred to Milagres as the parish priest on April 25, 1957.

On the same day, Fr Valerian D’Souza took charge as the sixth parish priest of Cordel. He opened a CYM unit for girls. Rev Fr Charles Pais served as the assistant parish priest for about two months in the church when Rev Fr Joseph Sequeira was transferred on October 6, 1958. On December 1, 1958, Rev Fr Peter Theodore D’Souza, who arrived at Mangalore after completing his higher studies in Rome, took charge as the assistant parish priest. The new alter constructed by Rev Fr Colaco was blessed by Bishop Raymond D’Mello on May 2, 1959 and the relics of saints were kept beneath the alter. During the same period, a microphone (mike) was purchased for the church, with the help of the funds collected by the girls’ unit of CYM. Regular plays and other entertainment activities were being held from time to time at the stage erected to the left of the church.

In the year 1959, Rev Fr Colaco celebrated the silver jubilee of his priesthood. On October 30, 1959, when Rev Fr Colaco was transferred, Rev Fr Philp Nazreth took charge as the seventh parish priest of Cordel. The very next year, he too celebrated the silver jubilee of his priesthood. On January 4, 1960, the Bishop decided the draw border lines between the Kelarai and Cordel parishes. However, as per the wish of the residents of St Ann ward, one of the oldest wards of the church, the Bishop allowed them to be part of Cordel church.

On July 30, 1961, the Bishop passed an order to stop burying the dead inside the church building. On September 17, 1961, Fr Peter Theodore D’Souza left for England for higher studies and on October 6, 1961, Rev Fr Peter Nazreth took charge as the assistant parish priest.

As per the permission given by the Bishop, the Holy Cross ward was divided into four wards and they were named as A, B, C and D and gurkars were appointed for the wards. During this period, a wing was constructed to the left of the church to accommodate more people inside the church. Besides, a building was constructed near the main road with the monetary help of the Legacy funds. When the first phase of the work was completed, the Bishop took Fr Philip Nazreth to Rome along with him, on official duty with regard to the Second Vatican World Meet. At this point of time, the assistant parish priest made special efforts to complete the works of School mini-hall with the help from donors. On January 27, 1964, ‘Colics Association’ was formed in the church and with the permission from the Bishop, it was affiliated to the MALL Association of the USA.

A point worth mentioning here is the help rendered by Rev Fr Gilbert Gonsalves, a college-mate and friend of Fr Philp, who was staying in Cordel for health reasons. He extended all his help to Fr Philip Nazreth and Fr Peter Nazreth. Fr Gonsalves, on his own expenses, plastered the walls of presbytery and did a cement-plastering for room-floors. He also constructed a car-shed attached to the kitchen, founded a Mahila Mandali for the welfare of the girls; formed Junior Legion for children and also formed Young Christian Workers (YCW) for girls and boys separately; and brought musical instruments to sharpen the talents of youth. On May 1, 1965, Rev Fr Maurice D’Paula took charge as the new assistant parish priest. A good writer and an orator, he was known for his sermons. His pen name was ‘MAMADIPA’

When a proposal to start either a Technical or Commerce School, for those students who have completed their SSLC, was placed before the Church Administrative Committee, it was passed. After obtaining permission from the Bishop, a Commerce School titled “Dubois School of Commerce” was started on July 1, 1965. After completion of the first and second floor works of the building near the main road, the same was given for rent for the Commerce School. In fact, the School received a sum of Rs 20,000 as donation from the Pope. Besides, Fr Gonsalves donated a few typewriters to the School. Later, the School was taken over by Catholic Education Board.

When a need for a ‘hall’ for the church was felt in the year 1966, the foundation stone for the same was laid in the school premises, with the help of Rs 10,000 donation given by Mr Felix Saldanha. But the work on the same had to be stopped half-way due to financial crunches. The work on the same was stalled for six years. In the year 1971, Fr Nazreth went to Europe to collect donation for the same and he completed the works with the donations he brought. The Hall named as “Dubois Hall” was inaugurated by Felix Saldanha on November 19, 1972, and the Bishop blessed the same.

In a significant move on December 17, 1967, it was decided through a confidential voting that the grand celebration of the Church feast be cancelled. Hitherto, it was held on the last Wednesday of January.

When Rev Fr Maurice Paul was transferred to Palimar, Rev Fr Aloysius Paul D’Souza (the present Mangalore Bishop) took charge as the assistant parish priest of Cordel on April 13, 1967. A soft spoken priest, he made good efforts to bring the youth together and gave more importance for modernization. In fact, he went on to become the ‘most loved priest’ in the church.

Another point to be noted here is that the Church formed a ‘Advisory Board’ to decide on matters related to spiritual, social and cultural activities, on September 15, 1968, even before the committee was formed as per the Act of the Diocese.

On July 5, 1969, the border lines were drawn between Cordel church and Neermarga churches as per the decree.

When Rev Fr A P D’Souza was appointed as the Secretary of the Bishop on April 6, 1970, Rev Fr Victor Machado replaced Fr D’Souza. On June 1, 1970, the nuns of Roshni Nilaya in Jeppu opened a social service centre and a ‘reading room’ (Library) attached to it in Cordel.

In another significant move to provide houses for the homeless, the Church decided to part with some land and the land available to the West of the Seminary. It was given to moolgeni through tenders in 1970. In the year 1971, two houses located to the North of the church were given to the tenants themselves and a portion of the Church land at its East and South was sold. The money received after selling the property was deposited in the banks. At present, the Church has about 16 acres of property.

As per a Pastoral Letter issued by the Bishop on November 14, 1970, the Church Administrative Board was cancelled on January 1, 1971 and a Church Advisory Board was formed. The annual tax being collected in the church at present, was started by this committee.

When Fr Nazreth was in the Europe between May and December 1971, Fr Victor Machado maintained the church administration. However, Fr William D’Souza, a Capuchin priest was helping him in his works for about four months. When Fr Machado was transferred on May 1, 1973, Rev Fr Stany B Lobo replaced him on May 19, 1973.

In the year 1973, after a long gap of 24 years, the church was painted and white washed. It was also decided to keep benches and chairs in all the areas of church building. Post Centenary

The centenary celebrations of laying of foundation stone for the church building, was celebrated in a grand way in 1973. Various activities were organized. Some of them included ‘Fathers’ Day,’ ‘Mothers’ Day,’ ‘Youth Day,’ publication of centenary memorial book’ and the coming together of 800 families of 12 wards in the church on September 14 was a great event. The valedictory celebrations too were held in equally grand way on December 31. Parish Priest Rev Fr Philip Nazreth and Assistant Parish Priest Stany B Lobo had taken great pains to make the events successful.

Rev Fr Philip Nazreth, who worked relentlessly for the welfare of the parishioners of Cordel, was transferred on June 14, 1975. Rev Fr Albert D’Souza replaced him and he continued the works started by Fr Nazreth. His works include planting of Ashoka saplings between the main road and St Michael’s arch, extension of playground, repair of presbytery and bell-tower and a coconut plantation. He also did electrical works inside church, installed fans and changed the sound system.

On May 13, 1977, Rev Fr Stany Lobo was transferred to Thakode church as the parish priest and Fr Lawrence D’Souza replaced him in Cordel.

As the parish was growing, the then Bishop sent Br Henry Sequeira as the first regent for Cordel church. Subsequently, Br Victor Jerald D’Souza, Br Victor D’Souza, Br Joseph Martis, Br Benjamin Pinto, Br William Menezes, Br Herald Mascarenhas and Br Denis D’Sa have served the church as regents. All of them are presently serving as parish priests in different churches. Fr Denis D’Sa is serving as the Administrator of Fr Muller Charitable Institutions.

On the occasion of death centenary of Fr Alexander Dubois on December 11, 1977, the holy priest’s tomb was renovated. The tomb-roof too was repaired on the occasion.

On May 24, 1979, Rev Fr Valerian D’Souza took charge as the assistant parish priest of Cordel. In the same year, an open well was dug, which was essential for school. The church choir too was revived and a new microphone was procured.

On May 15, 1981, Rev Fr Vincent D’Souza took charge as the assistant parish priest. The number of parishioners was gradually increasing and at that point, there were 1,200 families.

On April 26, 1983, Rev Fr Ligory D’Souza took charge as the parish priest and he showed keen interest in the spiritual needs of the parishioners. Besides, he got the church painted and worked towards spreading the message of Frad Saib thereby making an attempt to include the name of Frad Saib in the Saints’ list. In fact, he celebrated the 175th birth anniversary of Frad Saib in grand manner on March 19, 1984. He also published articles about Frad Saib in Konkani, Kannada and English dailies/periodicals. Interestingly, Rev Fr Peter Remigious D’Souza and Alex Pais met more than 200 individuals to gather more information on Frad Saib. The information provided by the duo and the support of the then Bishop Rev Fr V R Fernandes helped V J P Saldanha (Khadap) to write a book on Frad Saib. The same was published in Kannada as well as English. Calenders and stickers on Frad Saib too were released.

More than 10,000 people, who received help through Frad Saib, had gathered to take part in the grand celebrations. However, at present, the parishioners celebrate the day of his demise (December 11) as Frad Saib Day every year. Besides, special prayers are offered for Frad Saib on the first Sunday of every month (after the 7.30 am mass) and after the first mass on Mondays and Fridays.

Rev Fr Thomas D’Souza and Rev Fr Ferdinand Gonsalves took charge as the assistant parish priests on April 25, 1984 and May 1, 1985 respectively. Meanwhile, Rev Fr Ligory D’Souza passed away after a brief illness on September 2, 1985. No parish priest was appointed for Cordel for some time after the demise of Rev Fr Ligory D’Souza. But Rev Fr Ferdinand Gonsalves successfully managed the administration of Cordel church alone, with great responsibility. However, Rev Fr Alphonse D’Mello was coming on Sundays to help Fr Gonsalves.

On January 12, 1986, Rev Fr Elias D’Souza was appointed as the parish priest for Cordel. The same year, Pope John Paul II visited Mangalore on February 6. A large number of people from Cordel too had been to Bajpe to have a glimpse of the Pope. As the previous parish priest had requested for an additional assistant parish priest to manage the affairs of the church, Rev Fr Andrew D’Souza was appointed as the additional assistant parish priest. But as Fr Gonsalves was asked to look after the Kokkada church (as the Kokkada parish priest met with an accident), only one assistant parish priest remained in the church.

Fr Elias D’Souza started ‘Jeevan Jyothi’ camp for 10th standard students of the church. Though it was meant for the students of Cordel parish only, over the years, it was spread to City Varado. The church also opened Alcoholic Anonymous unit on December 5, 1986. As Mr Charles D’Mello of St Ann ward donated three acres of land at St Ann ward, the church decided to build homes for the poor with the help of CODP. The project started by “Frad Saib Housing Committee” has been continuing at “Frad Saib Colony.” Besides, with the help from the donors, the stretch between the main road and the church was asphalted.

On May 18, 1987, Rev Fr Louis D’Souza was appointed Assistant Parish Priest while Rev Fr Ferdinand was transferred to St Antony Ashram as Assistant Director on July 1, 1987. On July 8, 1987, the diamond jubilee of Fr Elias D’Souza was celebrated in the parish. He started a Youth Association. On May 24, 1988, Rev Fr Harold Mascarenhas was appointed as the assistant parish priest. In the same year, the church procured a hearse van. On the other hand, the number of wards in the parish, were increased to 21 from 12 and all the wards were given new names.

In the same year, the Episcopal City Varado comprising 18 parishes was split into two. The new City Varado comprised Bondel, Kuloor, Anjelore, Derebail, Cordel, Neermarga, Kelarai and Vamanjoor. Rev Fr Elias D’Souza was appointed as the ‘Vicarwar’. On October 20, 1988, the then Bishop Rev Fr Basil Salvadore D’Souza opened Mariagiri chapel in Shakthinagar. In the same year, ‘Cordelchen Jaith,’ a monthly magazine too was started in the parish for private circulation.

On April 10, 1989, Rev Fr Mathew Vas was appointed as the assistant parish priest. Ward-wise get-togethers too were started during this period. In the year 1990-91, the church flooring was changed to marble-flooring. Rev Fr James D’Souza and Rev Fr Ivan Madtha were appointed assistant parish priests for Cordel on May 25, 1990 and June 4, 1991 respectively. On December 15, 1991, a Konkani play “Amcho Frad Saib,” written by V J P Saldanha (Khadap) was staged at the open ground wherein over 50 artists took part.

On May 21, 1992, Rev Fr Leslie D’Souza was appointed as the assistant parish priest. He served for six-and-a-half years in the church thus rendering his valuable service for the parishioners. During this period, “Elders’ Day” and various camps for the youth were started in Cordel parish. In the same year, on June 12, 1992, Parish Priest Rev Fr Elias D’Souza was transferred.

Revolution in Cordel

On June 10, 1992, Rev Fr Valerian D’Souza took charge as the new parish priest of Cordel. He was also the ‘Vicar-war’. He celebrated his diamond jubilee on October 25, 1992. During his period, the church scaled new heights. Various associations, committees have been formed. In fact, the church earned name and fame in music, dance, elocution, sports and staging plays among other events. Several projects were taken up and completed.

Rev Fr Valerian D’Souza and all assistant parish priests who worked with him — Fr Leslie D’Souza (May 21, 1992), Fr Charles Menezes (May 6, 1993), Fr Prakash Cutinho (May 17, 1995), Fr Andrew D’Souza (May 31, 1996), Fr Vincent D’Souza (June 4, 1997), Fr Prakash D’Souza (May 28, 1997) and Fr Philip Neri Aranha (May 23, 1998) were part and parcel of revolution in Cordel parish.

Some of the projects undertaken and successfully completed under the leadership of Rev Fr Valerian D’Souza include:

  • Presbytery — The 100-year-old presbytery was demolished and constructed anew. When the new presbytery was inaugurated on September 14, 1994, a 250-capacity mini-hall too was inaugurated on the same day.
  • Portico — The old portico was almost on the verge of collapse. It was renovated with new concrete roof.
  • Church roof — As the tiles were donated for the church by different people, the tiles belonged to different factories. As a result, there was leakage. As all the tiles were removed and re-fixed again, the problem was solved.
  • Play ground — As both the church and school required a good playground for various activities, the ground was repaired. The existing ground, perhaps one of the biggest grounds in any church premises in the diocese, is an asset of the church.
  • Expansion within church building — The two mini-alters on either side of the church were removed so that people sitting in any corner could see the main alter clearly.
  • Asphaltation — The asphaltation and tarring of the stretch in front of the churh and presbytery and a little garden in the church premises added beauty to the church.
  • Painting — Besides painting the whole church, the installation of chandeliers and new sound system added beauty to the church.
  • Cemetery — The compound wall to the cemetery and planting of saplings in the cemetery as well as near the Frad Saib’s tomb too has added color to the church premises.
  • St Joseph School — The three-storey new building for St Joseph School where over 1,400 students, mostly from economically weaker section of the society, study, was inaugurated on March 19, 1998. The old building was 100 years old.
  • Cordel Hall — The 1,000 seating capacity new Cordel Hall was built to commemorate the completion of 125 years of church. It was inaugurated on September 14, 1998.
  • Stage in church premises — The stage in church premises was constructed with the help from Mr Charles Rego’s donation. In the recent years, the Frad Saib Day, Christmas, Easter and Holy Week celebrations are held in this stage. More than 4,000 people can take part in any programme in the premises, with ease.
  • 125 years — The programme to mark 125 years of laying foundation stone for the church was celebrated in a grand manner on September 14, 1998. As a part of the historic event, a souvenir too was published.

When the church is completing 136 years, we the parishioners pray that our founder Rev Fr Alexander Dubois get Sainthood. He was known as “Fraad Saaib” and is still remembered by many till date, for leading a life of simplicity, honesty, dedication, sacrifice and unflinching love for the needy people.

Rev. Fr. Gregory William Vas (21-05-1999 - 24-04-2006)

He was formerly the principal of Milagres higher primary school and took charge of Cordel as the parish priest on the 21st of May 19999. During his tenure he established the St. Joseph’s English Medium High School on the 01st of June 2000 and also laid the foundation for the new school building. He also split the earlier 21 wards to 40 for smooth functioning and better involvement. On 25th of May 2001, the present building was erected. On 01st of January 2003, the first child of Cordel, the church of The Mother of God, Mariagiri, Shaktinagar was born which consisted of 4 wards from Cordel and 1 from Bondel parish- 200 families and Rev. Fr. Herald Pereira was appointed the first parish priest. On 24th of April 2006 Cordel’s second child, The Church of Blessed Mother Theresa of Kolkata, Paldane, was born consisting of 250 families. Rev. Fr. G. W. Vas was appointed as the first and the present parish priest of Paldane.

Rev. Fr. Lawrence Cyprian D’ Souza (12-08-2006 - 25-05-2008)

He was formerly the director of Fr. Muller’s Medical College Hospital and took charge of Cordel as the parish priest on 12th of August 2006. He was here for a short period of time during which he undertook the responsibility of the renovation of the various monuments in the church compound. He was appointed as the Deputy Director of St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore on 25th of May 2008. At present he is the Director of the same institution.

Rev. Fr. Valerian Pinto (25-05-2008 - 31-05-2015)

He was formerly the parish priest of Shirva. He took charge on 25th of May 2008. His ongoing plans are the grand bicentenary birth celebrations of the founder of Cordel, Fr. Alexander Dubois. He laid the foundation for the garden of the passion of cross stations. He renovated the Frad Saib Hall, Repainted the sanctuary, altar and the whole church building.

Rev. Fr. Victor Machado (03-06-2015 to at present)

He was formerly the  Asst. parish priest of Holy Cross Church, Cordel in the year 1970-73. He served as teaching staff in St. Joseph Seminary in the year 1973-77, 1981-90,1997-2010. He has perceived the Doctoral studies in Rome (1977-81). He has been the parish priest of Rosario Catheral(1990-97) and Bejai parish (2010-14). He had been the Rector of St. Joseph Seminary (2004-10) and also the Director of Pastoral Institute(2014-15). He took the charge as the parish priest of Holy Cross Church, Cordel, Kulshekar and the Vicar Vara of City Deanery on 03-06-2015.