Mangaluru: Cordel parish to celebrate 150 yrs under patronage of Holy Cross
Mangaluru, Sep 12: In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Holy Cross Church in Cordel, the parish is set to mark this significant milestone with celebrations on September 14 and 17. The vicar general of the Mangalore Diocese, Fr Maxim Noronha, will lead a thanksgiving mass on September 14th, followed by a festive celebration on September 17th, during which the Bishop of Mangaluru, Fr Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, will conduct a thanksgiving service, as announced by Cordel Parish Priest Fr Clifford Fernandes.
Speaking during a press conference held on Tuesday,September 12, Fr Clifford Fernandes elaborated on the diverse range of programs organized for this occasion. Already, the parish has celebrated Youth Day, Couples Day, Teachers Day, and Health Workers Day. On September 14, the focus will shift to honoring all the heads, secretaries, ward heads, benefactors, and founders who have served the parish. Subsequently, on September 17, the celebration will pay tribute to all the priests and other religious individuals who have contributed to the parish over the years. Upcoming events include Senior Citizens Day, Disabled People’s Day, a Sports Festival, a Fancy Fete, Non-Resident Indian Day, and an All Religious Meet.
A historical journey: 150 years of Cordel parish
September 14, 1873, remains etched in history as the day when Cordel Parish, originally a part of Milagres Church, took its first step toward becoming an independent entity. The Parish Priest of Milagres Church at the time, Fr Alexander Dubois (popularly known as Frad Saib), laid the foundation stone for the Holy Cross Church in Cordel, naming the land “Cordel.” It has now been 150 years since this momentous event.
Frad Saib, the Immortal
Fr Alexander Dubois, who came to Mangalore from France, served at Milagres Church from 1865 to 1877. During his tenure, he extended his ministry to regions like Kulshekar, Bondel, Kelarai, Vamanjoor, Valencia, and Nagori, which fell under his jurisdiction. Walking barefoot to reach these areas, he not only served Christians but also worked for the welfare of all residents. Frad Saib learned Konkani and Tulu, offered healing prayers, and blessed crops for prosperity. His deep spiritual life earned him the reputation of a saint among those who witnessed his actions.
In 1904, Bishop Fr A Cavadini officially designated Kulshekar Church as an independent center on May 31st and appointed Fr M P Colaco as its first parish priest. The number of families in the area was 250 at the time. Fr M Lunanzhii of the Society of Jesus continued the church’s construction efforts, resulting in the magnificent Holy Cross Church at Kulshekar. After a formal inauguration and blessing on January 30, 1912, it opened its doors to devotees. As the number of families grew over time, Cordel Parish became the largest parish in terms of families and population among the 145 parishes in the undivided Mangalore diocese. To better serve the community, new churches were established, but as the 150th-anniversary celebration approaches, the number of families has risen once more, with 1824 families and 44 wards, totaling approximately 7000 parishioners.
Empowering the less fortunate
Since its inception, the parish has initiated numerous projects aimed at uplifting the underprivileged. Schemes such as the House Construction (Revolving Fund) Scheme, Education Fund, Health Fund, and Frad Saib Fund have provided assistance. Additionally, funding is sourced from various other channels. St. Vincent de Paul Sabha also actively contributes to the welfare of the needy, while housing assistance is extended to those less fortunate through the Frad Saib House Construction Committee and the ‘Prakas’ scheme.
The parish boasts a range of facilities, including the fully equipped Cordel Hall, Cordel Open Auditorium, air-conditioned Frad Saib Hall, and the Church Mini Hall for meetings. A sprawling football field hosts numerous sports competitions, and the church publishes a magazine called “Cordelchem Zaith.”
In conjunction with these celebrations, the 150th-anniversary logo of Cordel Church Kulshekar was unveiled. Vice president Ruth Castelino, secretary Anil D’Sa, and coordinator of the Advertising Committee Laveena D’Mello, along with Elias Fernandes, were present at the event.