Udupi: The newly built Stella Maris Church, a huge boat shaped structure, was inaugurated and blessed during a grand ceremony on January 6.
Prior to the inauguration, the three Bishops, Most Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Isaac Lobo, Bishop of Udupi Diocese, Most Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Francis Serrao, Bishop of Shivmogga and Most Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Robert Miranda, Bishop of Gulburga were received by Kalmady Church Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Alban D’Souza.
The light-house shaped belfry was inaugurated by Most Rev. Dr. Robert Miranda, while the Shrine of Velankani was inaugurated by Most Rev. Dr. Francis Serrao, and the new church building was inaugurated by Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo.
Bishop Gerald Lobo then blessed and sanctified the water which was then used to bless the people and the structure of the newly built church. The solemn mass was co-celebrated by the three Bishops along with the other priests.
During his homily, Rev. Dr. Francis Serrao spoke about the importance of the body of the church on the whole and the significance of the shape of the newly built church.
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the Bishops consecrated the Sanctuary and its key was handed over to parish priest Fr. Alban D’Souza.
Rev. Fr. Stephen D’souza, Director of Diyva Jyothi and Liturgy of the diocese compered the religious ceremony during the blessing of the church building. Fr. Alban D’Souza expressed his gratitude to all concerned at the end of ceremony.
A formal felicitation programme began after the mass which was presided over by Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo. Bishop Rev. Dr. Robert Miranda, Bishop Rev. Dr. Francis Serrao, Pramod Madhwaraj, District In-charge Minister, Ivan D’Souza, MLC and chief whip,Oscar Fernandes, MP, Rajya Sabha, Blossom Oscar Fernandes, Rev. Fr. Valerian Mendonca, Chancellor of Udupi diocese and Dean of Udupi Deanery, Meenakshi Madhav Bannanje, Udupi CMC President, Narayan Kunder, CMC Councillor, Harmis Noronha, President of CMC Standing Committee and Councillor, Rev. Fr. Alban D’Souza, Sanjay Andrade and Shobha Mendonca, Vice President of Secretary of Parish Pastoral Council and Louis Lobo, President of Church Inauguration committee were present on the dais.
Rev. Fr. Alban D’Souza welcomed the gathering and Sanjay Andrede honoured the guests on the dais after which Louis Lobo read out the message of Pope Francis. In his address to the gathering, Bishop Robert Miranda said, "The most beautiful boat shaped church will lead us towards heaven."
Later, the Souvenir was released by Pramod Madhwaraj.
Ivan D’Soua MLC said that he found it difficult to get sanction from the state but he managed to get funds of Rs 20 Lakh by requesting the chief minister. Oscar Fernandes also spoke on the occasion.
Bishop Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo, in his presidential address, thanked the people involved in the construction of the church and remembered Capt Fr. Charles D’Souza, founder of the church and the other priests who served here.
The donors were felicitated by Bishop Francis Serrao on the occasion. Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo honoured the children for their contribution to the church. Fr. Alban D’Souza was felicitated by Bishop Gerald and parish vice president and secretary Sanjay Andrede and Shobha Mendonca. Rev. Fr. Valerian Mendonca blessed the food and Shobha Mendonca proposed a vote of thanks. Ronald Olivera compered the programme.
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