About Our Parish
'Fruitful Tree- Planted by the stream'
(A Birds eye view of the history of Katapadi (Udupi) Parish and Church)
It all started in the year 1945, to be exact by the month of May. Those were the days of hardships; no vehicular facility of these days was to be found. People were steadfast in their faith and craved to attend to all their spiritual needs. Rough roads and the inverting rivers would not discourage their religious fervor. It is but natural that the people desire to reach their place of worship with fewer hardships. In this background in 1945, the people of Katapadi, then the parishioners of Udyavar met their Bishop seeking for the decree of starting a new parish at Katapadi, because they were finding it quite difficult to walk up to their Church at Udyavar, a long walk of 4 to 5 miles, to attend to their spiritual needs.
One Mr. Mathias D'Silva and his sons, J.M. D'Silva and F. X. D'Silva led the people to meet the then Bishop His Excellency Dr. V.R. Fernandes and convinced him of the need of a separate parish and a church at Katapadi. Hundred and Thirty (130) families belonging to the Udyavar Parish but having their houses far from the church got organized under the leadership of this Mr. Mathias D'Silva. They were mainly from the places south to River Papanashini, west to Boliye and Pangla and to the east of Arabian Sea comprising of the villages of Kote, Mattu, Kallappu Yenagudde, Manipura West and parts of Kurkal.
The Bishop was only too happy to have these faithful seeking a new parish, and he instructed them to get the required land and buildings ready thereby he could process the decree of a new parish. He asked the people to buy a large enough piece of land and start building the church as well as a presbytery. Mother Church Udyavar herself being in financial difficulties could not be of any help and thus burden fully fell on the shoulders of the poor and hardworking people of Katapadi. The land, good piece of it, though was available was not in the hands of amicable hands, resulting in the postponing of the purchase. Finally sons of Mr. Mathias D'Silva had to intervene; they bought and donated a plot of 3 Acres and 19 Cents of land from a Hindu landlord.
The Bishop was kind and generous to the people of Katapadi. He guided the construction of the early building, the presbytery, donated the full set of mass vestments, encouraged the youth to get into collecting funds and to work in the construction of presbytery. The Young Men's Association was all too eager to join their hands in this joyful task. The hall of the presbytery was to be the place for Eucharist.
It was on 16 May 1948; Bishop V R Fernandes decreed the erection of the Parish of Katapadi dedicated to St Vincent De Paul, with river Papanashini being the boundary between it and Udyavar. Belle (Boliye) and Pangala Parish boundaries were its limits in east and south, Karkala Katapadi road and Udupi Mangalore road as far as Kallapu Bridge were its boundaries in the west, it was to include Mattu and Kote. The said decree was published at Udyavara Church and the date of its inauguration fixed to be on 23 May 1948. Fr. Rosario Fernandes, the first chaplain appointed offered Holy Eucharist on the day of inauguration, people, as their long cherished dream got realized, were filled with boundless joy.
Fr. Rosario Fernandes was at Katapadi from 23-5-1948 to 7-11-1948, not even six months. In these six months he could inspire people and fill them with great spiritual strength and faith which was strong enough to withstand the 'future shock'. The shock was to come; purchase of land for and setting up of the cemetery was done by the people. Enthusiasm was great but there was procedural lapse. They forgot to get the much needed sanctions from the civic authorities. The neighbors objected, leading to misunderstanding, the cemetery had to be closed and Bishop had to reconsider the sanctioning of parish. On 6-10-1948 Bishop issued a decree of temporarily closing down the presbytery and the church. The Parish Priest of Shirva served the needs of the people until reopening of the presbytery and appointment of new Chaplain, Mr. F X D'Silva, serving as the first administrator of the station, rendered yeomen service during this turbulent period.
The Bishop was willing to reopen the station on fulfillment of his condition, namely, acquiring a land for cemetery and opening the same with the panchayath license. Mr. Albert Pereira, with all his generosity, came forward to donate 40 cents of his land for the purpose of Parish Cemetery. The required licenses were soon acquired and the easement to the cemetery was got and registered in the name of the parish. His conditions being fulfilled, the Bishop was very ready to appoint the chaplain. On 12-2-1949 Bishop appointed Fr. A J Tellis. Fr. Tellis served the people till 24-9-1949. Though his tenure was short it was also sweet to the faithful. He started three sodalities each for Altar Boys, Girls and Women. He also started the Apostleship of Prayer. Hitherto presbytery itself was used for Eucharist and other religious activities. It was too small for the congregation of 130 families. Realizing the just need for a spacious chapel, he laid the foundation stone for building the chapel. Will of god was otherwise, even before he could start the work of the chapel, Fr. Tellis was transferred and Fr. A F D'Souza took charge of the station on 25-09-1949.
Under the able leadership of Fr. D'Souza parishioners worked day and night to fulfill their dream of having a chapel. The people had to collect money required for this work. They organized bands, dancing and singing they went around in the markets, went to good willing philanthropists and collected whatever they could. There was no family left which had not toiled in the hot son working in the building. Shri. F.X D'Silva, Shri. Anselm D'Souza, Shri. Anselm Pereira, Shri Ignatius (Inas) Lewis, Shri. Sebastian (Bostyanv) Almeida, Shri. Leo D'Silva, Shri. Nicholas Rodrigues, Shri. John Rodrigues, Shri. Cyril Pereira, Shri. Salvadore Monteiro, Shri. Shabi Pereira are some of the prominent persons who gave selflessly to the cause of the Chapel. In a record period of 6 months the chapel was ready. The joyful cries reached the sky as the first solemn mass was offered in the newly built chapel.
During the tenure of Fr. D'Souza much needed developmental work also took shape. Parish started developing slowly but steadily. He beautified the chapel with many statues he got in donation. Along with the statue of patron saint Vincent de Paul, donated by Mr. Thomas Soares other Statuettes of Our Lady of Dolorous, donated by Mr. Johnnie Rodrigues and the Corpus donated by Mr. John Rodrigues, he also got the Holy Cross and other required items for presenting the death and passion of our Lord through the generous donation of the parishioners. The celebration of Good Friday would move the hearts of faithful as well as the people of other faiths.
Fr. D'Souza also involved himself in the activities of economic development of the parish. Moving around, he guided people to take up profitable agriculture work. He began the work of building the church compound wall, people again gave their fullest possible strength and the wall was completed within three months. He planted Coconut and other useful plants like that of Mango, Jack, Teak, Cashew etc, the saplings then planted by the people under his leadership bear fruits even to this day. This enabled the growth of the parish leading it towards prosperity. Under the able leadership of Fr. D'Souza parishioners took up and accomplished few more works of far reaching consequences. They sunk the much needed well and inlaid it with laterite stones. Leveled the cemetery ground and built the mud enclosure to it, even leveled the way leading to it and walled it up on both sides.. He gave cement flooring to the chapel and also repaired the byroad leading to the church. During this period Bishop Victor Rosario Fernandes paid the pastoral visit to the parish on 20-08-1954, this being the first to the parish.
It was on 12 April 1955, after six years of restless toiling at Katapadi Fr. D'Souza relinquished charge of the parish and Fr. J.A. P Miranda took charge as the Parish Priest. Equally competent and a dreamer visionary Fr. Miranda was, he inspired people to dream of a fully furnished parish church building for them. As he came in he organized the presbytery, repaired the outhouse and gave cement flooring to both the buildings, organized the filing system of the church documents etc. He amicably settled the issue of few (6) families claiming their allegiance to Udyavar parish and thus brought about much needed understanding and cooperation, he was also successful in getting Bishop's decree in favor of the settlement making them the parishioners of Katapadi.
When Fr. J.A.P Miranda took charge of the parish, the finances of the parish were poor and therefore he had to find ways and means to increase the revenue of the church. He installed nine pews. Altar, Sanctuary, doors and the windows of the church painted during this time. In the cemetery developmental works were done. A huge Crucifix was laid there in the middle; it was around 8 ft tall with another 5 ft tall pedestal. He worked hard and procured the relics of St Vincent de Paul, St Francis Xavier, St Francis Assisi and St Thomas Aquinas. He also propagated the devotion of St Vincent de Paul, conducting Novenas every Thursday. He got the prayer book 'Sant Vishent Pavlak Noven ani Magnim' published. Some beautiful hymns also were composed during this time one such being 'Mogalh patron amchya sant vishent pavla' by Msgr. Paul Buthello.
Rev. Fr. A. F D'Souza had, with his foresight, had planned the construction of a new and spacious church building and had started the new Church Building Fund which was only Rs 58.50 in the beginning. The task of fulfilling the plans fell on the shoulder of Rev.Fr. J.A.P Miranda. Fr Miranda started organizing various activities to collect much needed funds for the construction work. God was generous and the money was coming. Unfortunately the beginning of the work had to be postponed for a full year as the land for the new church could not be finalized. Mr. Lawrence Suares of Jeppoo, Msgr. D.J. D'Silva and Msgr.W.A Lewis finally inspected and suggested the building at the western side of the presbytery.
On 18 February 1960, the Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Raymond D'Mello approved the construction plan and in his absence Msgr. W.A Lewis the Vicar General laid the foundation stone of the church building. Thus reads the epitaph of the foundation stone;
A M D G In the year AD 1960 on Thursday 25th August,
in the reign of Pope John XXIII, and Bishop Raymond D'mello
of the diocese of Mangalore,
Dr Rajendra Prasad President of India,
This foundation stone of the Church of St Vincent de Paul Katapadi, South Canara
was blessed and laid by
The Vicar General Msgr W A Lewis The Parish Priest being Rev Fr J A P Miranda Amen Sd/Rev Fr.J.A.P. Miranda Parish Priest
Eagerness of the faithful now got converted into dedicated hard work; nothing was held back, funds, labor, sweat and service. Fr. Miranda, at this time sought the intervention of the prayerful support of St Joseph, he made a vow to St. Joseph that should he succeed in completing the work without debt and loss of health he would propagate the devotion of St Joseph and devote a side altar in his honor. God was truly generous at the faithful of Katapadi, within two years the church building was ready and on 19 July 1962, Feast of St Vincent de Paul was celebrated in the new church, solemn high mass was sung by Fr. J.A. P. Miranda, people were filled with joy and the sense of fulfillment was on the high.
To keep his word Fr. Miranda celebrated the votive thanksgiving mass to St Joseph on 5-8-1962 and devotion to St Joseph started, Wednesday being earmarked for the novena of the saint. Fr Miranda also built the chapel in the cemetery. This was necessitated for the cemetery was a little away from the church and people faced difficulties while attending the funeral services. The Vicar General Msgr. W. A. Lewis, during his pastoral visit blessed the same.
Bishop Rt.Rev.Dr. Raymond D'Mello, after his return from the foreign tour, on 12-05-1964 blessed and inaugurated the New Church; Congregation was filled with sublime joy and happiness. Bishop also concelebrated the Pontifical High Mass on the next day for the parish feast of St. Vincent de Paul. After 12 years of selfless dedication and yeomen service to Katapadi parish Fr. Miranda left Katapadi leaving behind his beloved parishioners, whose hearts were filled with sorrow and their eyes with tears. Fr. Miranda was transferred to Valencia and on 28 May 1967 Fr. F.T.M Lobo took charge of the parish.
Fr. Lobo was a middle aged man by the time he started his ministry at Katapadi. All necessary buildings being completed at the church he was free to concentrate most of his time for the spiritual good of his people. Looking sick and quiet Fr Lobo spent more time in the confessional, hearing confessions and counseling the parishioners. During his tenure the people wanted to have a belfry and the good pastor was also eager to help them fulfill their dream. It was during his time that the collections for the construction of the belfry were started. On 22-05-1969 Fr Lobo was transferred and Fr. Golbert Noronha took charge as the parish priest.
Fr. Noronha was, though senior by age, very jovial and spirited. He got the belfry constructed and the bell brought from West Germany by the support of Bishop D'Mello was put up on 18-07-1970. During this time electrification of the church was done by the support of an anonymous donor and the presbytery was electrified by spending from the church funds. Year 1970 to 1976, Parish saw the internalized development without much of the construction and building work, The Catholic Youth Organization, an association of the parish youth was started, New portico to the church built in memory of the Silver Jubilee. Mike set donated by Mr. Simon Soares was put up, Fund for supporting the poor students was raised, Carriage of the dead is gotten for the parish. On 25-11-1973 the silver jubilee of the parish was celebrated with joy and fanfare. During those 25 years along with the parish priests Shri.John Lewis, Shri. V.P Noronha, Shri.L S Pinto, Shri.George Lewis, Shri. John. C Rodrigues, Shri. M.R Pinto and many others rendered praiseworthy services.
On 1st October 1976 Fr.Charles D'Souza took charge as the Parish Priest, after having served the nation as a military officer he joined the priestly vocation to be the soldier of the kingdom of god. Simple man with a clear vision, he started supporting the students in their higher education efforts. His attempts in this regard went a long way in making the parishioners well educated. On 07-04-1978 Fr. Arthur C.A D'Souza took charge as the parish priest.
Under Fr. Arthur D'Souza developmental work was given new speed and at the same time socio-spiritual organization was given new direction. The youth organization became stronger; Parish Feast was celebrated on 29-11-1978 under the sponsorship (pirjent) of Shri. Fredrick Rodrigues and his two daughters Patcy and Jancy Rodrigues. Shri. Fredrick Rodrigues also donated three chandeliers and other necessary lightings to the church. The Electric Fans were put up at Sanctuary and in the Church by the support of Mr. Peter Rodrigues, Catholic Youth Organization members and other parishioners. Mr. Martin. R Pinto presented a frame of Our Lady of Assumption and the same is kept in the church. Mr. George Lewis and his children Cynthia and Joyce donated three small chandeliers to the church. Ever active Catholic Youth Organization repaired and rebuilt the Cemetery wall. The youth were also organizing the Annual St Dominic Savio feast. To mention a few of the acvtive members of the CYO during this period, Shri. Edmund Pinto, Shri. Richard Dsouza, Shri. Andrew D'Silva, Shri.Vincent Rodrigues, Shri.Robert D'Silva etc.
In the year 1980 the Annual Parish Feast was celebrated on 26th November, during which Mr. Martin. R. Pinto was the 'Pirjent' along with his two sons Sigfred and Clifford he donated 3 full sets of white vestments. The new Grotto to the church was constructed by the donations of Mr. Vincent Monteiro of the Church ward. People were so much moved by the enthusiasm of the Parish Priest, during these days many donations were received both in kind and in cash. Fans, Vestments, Candle Stands etc were added to the church assets.
Fr. Arthur.C.A. D'Souza toiled in this vineyard of our Lord tirelessly and he breathed his last amidst us on 5-7-1984 and rests amongst us. At the death of Fr.D'Souza, Rev Fr. Dr. John Fernandes was appointed as the parish priest in the year 1984; he took charge on First August, that year. Though his stay, among us, was short he won our hearts and could lead us towards greater light. On 17th May 1986 Fr. Henry Fernandes took charge of the parish as Vicar and he served us from 1986 to 1994 for a period of eight long years. It was during his tenure many of the unfinished tasks were completed. Parochial residence, compound wall etc were completed, a fund for the support of needy was organized and interest free loans were given. On May 7th 1994 Fr. Wilfred Gonsalves came to the parish as its Vicar, man known to his love for flora and fauna he organized people in the field of agriculture. During his term the golden jubilee of the parish celebrated, to mark the occasion he got 50 coconut saplings planted. He got the new bore well dug, went around inspiring people to get in agricultural activities.
In the mean time attempts were on to get the parish under the care of Congregation of the Holy Cross Fathers (CSC). Already in the year 1982 a Holy Cross Students Home was started by the CSC Fathers under the leadership of Fr. Maurice D'Souza CSC. A request for transfer of parish was pending in the hands of the Bishop. On 14th May 2001 after the transfer of Fr. Wilfred Gonsalves the charge of the Katapadi Parish was transferred to the CSC Fathers and Fr. Norbert D'Mello CSC was appointed as its Parish Priest. Man of few words but a tremendous capacity for work, Fr. Norbert brought about a sea change in the parish life. He got the sanctuary renovated, putting up a teak wood ceiling, granite flooring and granite Altar. By the support of Smt. Sophia Soares and her children he installed a generator and thereby solved the electricity problem. He got the retention walls erected in some parts of the front ground where it was very steep and sloppy, thus making the front ground of the church level. The church roof, portico and the adoration room were re organized, repaired and rebuilt, presbytery and the church office were renovated. He got the church hall complex built; it consisted of other rooms, guest rooms, wash rooms and toilets. It was during his time that a new and attractive belfry built. He got the lands donated by Smt. Remedia D'Silva and Smt. Kishori Alva registered in the name of the parish. One man and so much of energy to do so many works, indeed god's grace in its abundance.
On 2nd July 2007 Fr. Norbert D'Mello handed over the charge of the parish to Rev Fr. Ronald Fernandes CSC as he had to go for higher education. Simple, straightforward but active and hard working Fr. Ronald strived among us and it's during his term the parish celebrated its Diamond Jubilee. On 18th May 2008 the Diamond Jubilee was celebrated with Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza presiding over. The Souvenir of diamond jubilee 'Vozralh Tupem' was published under the able editorship of Miss. Catherine Rodrigues and the funds collected by this venture were invested in the form of Parish Medical Fund.
During the Diamond Jubilee year a house for Mr. Peter Zacharia and his family was built and financial support was given to Mr. Harold D'Silva to complete his house. We find lot of developmental work taking place during this period. Mr Hilary Pinto and his family were joined by the parishioners in getting new benches with kneelers. The front and side of the church ground was paved with interlocks. During 2010 the pirjent of the parish feast, Mr. Andrew D'Silva, donated a new cherel to be used during the festal celebrations. Mr. Louis Cardoza of Lourdes Ward was privileged to get his house rebuilt during this time under the supervision of SVP society with funds got by Fr. Norbert D'mello from U.S.A.
In 2011 the cemetery chapel was renovated. Mr. Hilary Pinto donated to the parish a piece of land measuring 78 cents which was adjacent to the old cemetery. He also got the compound wall to the new cemetery plot after leveling the land. An open well was dug up and a pump was installed. A store room and toilets were also built. As a goodwill gesture three of the Pereira families whose father, Shri Albert Pereira, had donated the old cemetery land, were given a passage road by the side of the cemetery. A 35 KV generator was purchased to the church by the support of Mr. Hilary Pinto and Mrs. Lorna Pinto. Mr. Vincent Pinto of SVP Ward donated new fans to the church. The sound system was replaced, flooring of the church changed and granite tiles laid in place of clay tiles, all this was partly financed by Mr. Hilary Pinto and rest was donated by the generous parishioners. The response was so good that even the church could have new teak wood doors. Mr. Hilary Pinto renovated the compound wall of the church at its East side and was the pirjent of the Parish Feast 2012.
On 20th May 2013 Fr. Lawrence D'Almeida CSC took charge as the Parish Priest from Fr. Ronald Fernandes CSC. Drip irrigation system was organized during this time. During the tenure of Fr. Lawrence the parish started bubbling with various spiritual and social activities. Children and youth of the parish were given special care and motivation; they started participating in various activities. A 'In home parish magazine' was started during this period by name 'Vishenthichi Ruzwath' to encourage the literary qualities of the parishioners. The old cemetery ground was leveled and a CC TV was installed in the church area.
After being the parish priest for around 2 years Fr Lawrence relinquished the charge of parish priest on 15th June 2015, and Fr. Ronson. R. D'Souza CSC took the charge. Though young, he was successful in imbibing spiritual values. He also gave importance to complete the unfinished works like completing the cooking shed, removing the compound wall separating the old and new burial grounds and the burial in the new cemetery is now started.
After the erection of the diocese of Udupi, Katapadi came under the jurisdiction of Udupi diocese. As we are stepping towards the Platinum jubilee of our parish we are grateful to the almighty who has led towards the fulfillment of our dreams and has filled us with his grace and abundant blessings, May he continue to shower his choicest blessings upon us we pray. All these developmental works in all spheres of life have been possible due to the selfless and dedicated services of our Parish Priests, hard work and generous donations of the parishioners and the intercession of our patron St. Vincent De Paul.