MILAGRES CHURCH, KALLIANPUR DOWN THE CENTURIES
The Church of Nossa Senhora de Milagres now popularly called the Milagres Church, Kallianpur was built about the same time as the Church of the same name in Mangalore. It was founded in the year 1678 after the treaty between the Portuguese and Queen Chennamma relict of Soma Shekara I of Bendore who ruled Kanara from 1671 to 1697. The Portuguese were allowed to build churches and factories in Mirjan, Chandavar, Honnawar, Bhatkal and Kallianpur. The Church was also granted Inam lands. The Christians here were emigrants from Goa from who came seeking fresh fields and pastures new because of Insecurity and economic reasons. Goa suffered from famines in the years 1553, 1570 and 1582 with seasons of great scarcity. In 1570 Goa was besieged by Adil Shah to expel the Portuguese from India. Later, there were the Mahratta attacks in Goa in 1683. The inquisition in Goa also sent away some of the Christians adhering to Hindu practices. The Christians were lured by promise of land and subsidy because of their industry and improved knowledge of cultivation.
It was for this community that the Portuguese Hierarchy of Goa planted the Church in 1678 in Kallianpur under the title of Nossa Senhora de Milagres, Kallianpur.Our Lady of Miracles is the Woman of the the revelations of St. John, “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a Women clothed with the sun with the moon under Her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars”.
This great portent appeared for Kallianpurians with the enthronement of Our Lady of Miracles in the Church at Kallianpur. On the great artistic Portuguese Altar of the former church from where she reigned, she was greeted with the words, ‘ Tota Pulchara es, O Maria : Et Macula Originalis Non esr in te”, by two cherubims carrying an artistic ribbon as if waving in the air. From this throne her domain extended over all the region covered by the basins of three rivers : The Sita Nadi, The Swarna Nadi and The Udyavara river. It compromised all the land in the West till the Arabian Sea; In the North West and the North extending six miles to Sasthan, Barkur and the beyond; in the North East to Pethri, Giri and Perampally ; in the South to Udyavar, Udupi and Malpe including Thottam and the Mount Rosary church. The History of the Milagres Church, Kallianpur is the history of the Milagres Church Kallianpur is the history of the present varado of Kallianpur and even beyond, foe until recent times, Milagres Kallianpur headed the Northern Varado of the former two varados of Kundapur, Kallianpur, Shirva and Karkala.
Christianity prospered and gained security and respect for a century in Kallianpur as in the rest of Kanara. There was a Chapel in Barkur served from Kallianpur until it was constituted into a Parish in 1863. There was also a Church dedicated to St Peter with a sizable Catholic Community at Petre Pally. There were candidates for Priesthood studying in Goa. In 1769 one Joachim Jose Luis, son of Philp Luis and Rosa Furtado of Baikady village of the Parish was ordained priest by Archbishop Nivev Brum on 23rd September after studies in Rachol Seminary. He later served in Kanara and at Bajpe. Then all of sudden persecution came. Tippu Sulthan of Mysore, With whom the English were having wars suspected that the Christians were attached to them and were helping the Christian English. When on 30th January 1784 the English lost the war with him at Bendore and surrendered to Tippu’s forces, he gave secret orders to his Commanders to seize all Christians in Kanara and take them captive to Shrirangapatam. It was lightening strike when in the fateful night of Ash Wednesday. On 24th February 1784, Tippu’s soldiers carried out the secret orders and entered every Christian settlement simultaneously throughout Kanara. Complete families with children in arms were brutally herded and marched captive across the Western Ghats. Only a few people managed to escape or stay. The Christians from these parts were first camped in Nagra and later taken to Shrirangapatam. The Church here was destroyed and also the churches at Barkur and Petre. All along the way and in the transit camps, many died of malnutrition, fatigue, ill-treatment and diseases. Some escaped into the jungles along the route and from thence to Goa during the long hauls. When at Shrirangapatam prison, small pox raged and supervision was lax, some escaped to Malabar. The prisoners at Shrirangapatam were forced to accept Islam and circumcised . There were many who resisted and died.
With the defeat of Tippu in 1799, the survivors and the escapees to Goa and Malabar trekked back gradually. They found that their lands which were better cultivated than others were confiscated and sold away for high prices and had changed many hands. They had to start afresh from scratch.
The Church in Kallianpur was rebuilt in 1806 by the contributions of the people, by Fr. Joachim Jose Britto of Cortalim, Goa and completed in 1808. Very soon the Catholic Community had pulled up from its trails and was emerging into better times though they had lost everything and the English Government could hardly help to recover their lost lands. The Parochial House was rebuilt in 1875 by the last Goan Vicar Rev. Fr. David Pereira. The Parish school existing at that time was demolished and classes were conducted somewhere else.
In 1839, Pope Gregory XVI issued the Bull, ‘ Multa Praeclare’. By this document the spirituality jurisdiction of the Arch – Diocese of Goa over Kanara was transferred to the Propaganda Mission of the Vicar Apostolic of Veraploy. At that time a great majority of the parishioners of the Milagres Church preferred the jurisdiction of the Padroado of Goa along with its Goan Vicar. There was also a small selection of disgruntled parishioners who had developed connections with the Verapoly Mission who chose to be under the latter jurisdiction. This group of parishioners built a separate church namely Rosary Church. It was housed in thatched shed of the present Board Higher Elementary School. It was later shifted and rebuilt about half a mile away from Nejar Hill in 1882, and was called Mount Rosary Church. The Udupi Parish was formed later from this and the Udyavar parish in 1890.
The Catholic Community of Udyavar was served from Milagres Church. In 1863 the Udyavar Parish was constituted with a resident parish priest by the Padroado jurisdiction.
Then came a calamity for Milagres, a lamentable period of darkness. In 1885 Pope Leo XIII established the Hierarchy of India by his Apostolic Letter. “Humane Salutis auctor”. The double jurisdiction of the Padroado and the Propaganda Mission came to an end in South Kanara after signing of the Concordat of 1886 between the Holy See and the Portugal by which eleven parishes of Delegate in Bangalore Msgr. Aligardi issued the order from Bangalore in 1887 declaring the Padroado jurisdiction of Goa was extant in South Kanara. The order was published by the Vicar Apostolic of Mangalore who had now become the Bishop of Mangalore.
After the promulgation of the Bull “ Multa Praeclare” , in 1839 there was maneuvering and behind the scenes struggle for promoting the cause of both the Padroado and the Propaganda jurisdictions from either side. The Portuguese power in India had declined and they were trying to preserve their influence: consequently a great majority of the parishioners of Milagres because of their long association with the ministry of goan priest who gave them guidance over the centuries again preferred to be under the Padroado hoping that they would accommodate as previously. But when the Goan priests suddenly withdrew and left to Goa in compliance with the order they were left without right leadership or guidance. They appealed to the Holy See to remain under the Padroado. There was a dispute over the temporalities of the Church, to persue the status quo, when the priest of the Propaganda Mission arrived. It was insubordination but no ideology or doctrine was involved or in question until this moment. In the litigation that followed they lost their suit in court against the Propaganda mission. Following this, the dissidents built a church of their own dedicated to our Lady of Miracles at Bramhavar. They unfortunately took the guidance of a suspended priest of the Arch Diocese of Goa. Father Zephrin Noronha by name. Sometime afterwards, they associated with the Jacobite Bishop Mar Julius II of Goa, India and Ceylon, who was formerly a Catholic priest by name Fr. Anthony Alvares. He was earlier banned for defusing the Ecclesiastical Authorities in Goa. With this, the Schism became a fact. The situation called for tactiful handling with understanding and care.
The first Vicar of Milagres under Propaganda Mission after the goan priests left, was Very Rev. Fr. Albert D’Souza in 1887. Prior to this he was the Vicar of the Mount Rosary Church, Kallianpur. He was popular as a great preacher and being already familiar with the people was liked by all. After the first period of heat, recriminations and confusion of the feud subsided, in the second thoughts a great number of discerning and enlightened dissidents from all over came back to the Mother Church. It was evident therefore, that the dispute was not on the jurisdiction of the Pope over the parishioners but purely a wish to be under the Padroado on sentimental or emotional basis. Only those leaders who in the passions aroused at that time became prejudiced and estranged during the long litigation and those not so enlightened remained behind. The urgent and priority work of Fr. Albert D’Souza who had a long innings was to win back the lost sheep which he ably did with patience and perseverance.
There were no organized Schools at that time. People generally learnt the three R’s in the Hindu temples, where very few Christians went to study. Fr. D’Souza started the first recognized Elementary School, the St. Joseph’s Elementary School in the parish. It was housed in the side wings(balconies) of the church. It was therefore known as “ BOLKANVE ISKOL”.
During the Vicarship of Very. Rev Fr. Aloysius Fernandes that followed in 1901, a chapel was built by a certain Mr. Minguel Vaz in Thottam, in 1904- 1910 endower with property. It was served from this Church for many years. It catered to the Catholics of that neighborhood. The Thottam parish was formed when Msgr. D. Jerome D’Souza of this parish built the present Church in 1938.
Rev. Fr. Sebastian Noronha who was at first Assistant Parish Priest became it’s Vicar in 1906. He did pioneering work to bring back the Syrian Christians. He sent four laymen of the parish to the Seminary in Mangalore to be trained as Catechists. They were M/S. Ignatius .P.Lewis,Xavier Lewis(Uppoor).Lores Lewis(Bharikudru) & Simon D’Souza, Thonse. They were also trained in Liturgy and Church Music in the Bishop’s Choir at Codialbail. These men taught Catechism in the parish and also assisted Fr. S. Noronha in reclaiming the lost sheep. He is known to have brought back to the fold over 61 families in the Giri area alone. He started a School for them in 1907. This was the beginning of the Giri Parish. The work was entrusted to his Asst. Rev. Fr. Sebastian J. Fernandes. Later he was appointed as its first Chaplin. He built the present Giri Church (now re designed) & presbytery from the proceeds of his own patrimony. Petre which was served from Kallianpur was handed over to Giri and subsequently served from Bramhavar. The Perampally parish was formed from Giri parish in 1958. Fr. Sebastian Noronha also built a Girl’s school to the Milagres Parish which was later handed over to the Taluk Board. He built a new regular building for the new ‘ BOLKANVE ISKOL’, it now forms the part of the Milagres High School.
In 1911 Very Rev. Fr. C.P. Gonsalves S.J.,came as the Vicar. He was a Jesuit,was specially sent by the Bishop Most Rev. Paul Perini S.J. to start Higher Education in Milagres. He started the then English Medium School , it was called the Milagres Secondary School with classes up to the III Form and was at that time the only Catholic Secondary School outside Mangalore. Fr Gonsalves himself was the Headmaster to start with until Mr. John M. Tellis B.A.,L.T. took over as its Headmaster. Fr. Gonsalves built a building for the classes of the three forms. The St. Joseph’s Elementary School was transferred back to the church Bolkanves to accommodate the lower classes.
The Milagres Secondary School was raised to a High School by Very Rev. Fr. Julian D’Souza who came as a Vicar in 1929. The Fourth Form was started in 1931 and in 1394 the First Batch of Matriculates passed out. He also built three more classes in the South Block of the School for the three forms, Fourth to Sixth together with an Office Room.
Fr. Julian D’Souza had very much at heart the conversion of the separated Brethern at Bramhavar. He built a Chapel dedicated to the Holy Family about two furlongs away from the Syrian Church at Bramhavar. It was served from Kallianpur. Later in 1935 Rev. Fr. Sebastian Fernandes, Vicar of Giri was made its Chaplin. He brought hundreds of the true fold.
In 1934, Very Rev. Fr. Denis Jerome D’Souza who was earlier in 1910 Asst. Parish Priest for three years in this Church came as Vicar. He added a Reading Room cum Library, a Science Laboratory and an Academy Hall to the High School. He acquired the L.V.P. Primary School, Puttur Village. He built the Thottam Church dedicated to St. Anne. He was also put in charge of and began the final stage of establishing the Kemmann parish in 1939. Rev . Fr. S.P. Tellis the parish priest of Mount Rosary Church Kallianpur had already put up the initial work with a presbyter on a plot of land donated by Dr. John Fernandes of Kallianpur. Mass was being said alternatively by the Parish Priests of both the parishes. Rev Fr. Severine M. Rasquinha, the Asst. Parish Priest here was transferred to Kemman. He built and completed thet Church. In 1940 Fr. D’Souza bulit the present magnificant church in Kallianpur and completed it in two years. Very Rev. Fr. Denis Joseph D’Souza who followed him as Vicar in 1942 brought the Congregation of the Ursuline Sisters of the St. Francis Xavier and their Convent, St Rose Convent was established. The St Joseph’s Primary School was given over to them foe manging. He also built the present artistic High Altar and pulpit of the Church
Milagres Kallianpur was fortunate to have Very Rev. Fr. Denis Jerome D’Souza as Vicar for a 2nd term in 1954. Very soon he started completing the works he had earlier commenced. He built the Church Portico. He put up a separate building for girls in the High School and a separate play field. He brought the Apostolic Carmel Congregation to establish their Convent, ‘Lourdes Convent’ to promote the education for the girls. He also commenced the first buildings of the Goretti Hospital under the auspices Diocese. In 1965 the High School was raised to Higher Secondary School with the addition of the 11th Standard.
The need for a college in Kallianpur was felt since 1934 when the Milagres High School Kallianpur presented its first batch of matriculated. Though the progress and performance of the high School was par excellence and its popularity and prestige rose to a great heights under the Headmastership of Fr. A.J. Tellis as years rolled, the aspirations of the people remained unrealised for insuperable reasons for 34 years! In 1957 Msgr. Denis Jerome D’Souza at the age of 83 got sanction for a college and undertook the building.
On retirement of Msgr. D.J.D’Souza in 1971 Very Rev. Fr. Lawrence S Pais came as Vicar. He ably carried forward the work of the college buildings. With the inductions of Very Rev. Fr. Gregory L . Da Cruz undertook the celebration of the Tri-Centenary of the Church in a Solemn Thanksgiving to God and had menaced the projects in memory of the Celebrations.
Milagres Church, Kallianpur since the Tri Centenary Celebrations
The Parish has acquired all around progress in spiritually and education since past twenty five years. Rev. Fr William Gonsalves who had rendered his services as the Head master of Milagres high school since many years, became the Parish Priest in 1985. During his tenure, the construction of a new building for the English medium high school was undertaken. The Parish liturgy was made creative, meaningful and alive. He sowed the seed of small Christian community in the wards. Rev. Fr Oswald Lasrado who succeeded him continued the good work started by Fr William Gonsalves.
During the time of Rev. Fr Stanly Pereira as the Parish Priest of Milagres church, the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Miracles was installed at the right side of the Church building with the construction of a shrine in its honour. The novena to our Lady of Miracles is conducted every Saturday and not only Catholics but even non Catholics flock to this shrine of Our Lady of Miracles with their prayers, intentions and petitions. The Parish bulletin Milarchi Laram was started in 1994 with Dr Jerald Pinto as its founder editor.
When Rev. Fr Xavier Pinto became the Parish Priest in 1997, he undertook the renovation of the Church building along with meaningful participation of the faithful in the liturgy. The church floor including the sanctuary and the altar was renovated with marbles. He was instrumental for the repair of college building, play ground and gallery, putting tar to road leading to the Church in front, tar ground to the English medium school, the repair of St Joseph high school, forming small Christian communities in the Parish, discipline and cleanliness. Nevertheless he had to his credit building of a strong faith filled Parish community with necessary motivation and direction to children in matters of faith and morals.
St Vincent D’Paul society started Ozanam home in 1985 for the senior citizens and Pilar fathers started residing in the territory of the Parish in 1994. Bethany sisters render their services at Ozanam home with one of the Assistant Priests appointed at Milagres Church as its chaplain.
Milagres Church on its way to Tri Centenary Celebrations
The Tri centenary jubilee was inaugurated by Rev. Fr William Gonsalves on 15th November 2005. The concluding programme of the Tri centenary jubilee took place on 6th December, 2006 under the leadership of the Parish Priest Rev. Fr Marcel Saldanha and the Assistant Parish Priest Fr Edwin D’Souza, Mr Leslie Lewis the vice president and Mr James D’Souza the secretary of the Parish pastoral council. Several programmes both spiritual and secular including entertainment programmes were conducted in view of the Tri centenary jubilee namely, senior citizens day, family day, day of the single (unmarried) and youth day. Youth day was commemorated with an inter Parish tournament. A provision was made to serve midday meals to one thousand school children.
The following plans and programmes were undertaken and were materialised with the cooperation and support of the Parish Priest, Assistant Parish Priest, members of the Parish Pastoral council, parishioners of Our Lady of Miracles church, the old students of our educational institutions, our well wishers and benefactors. They are as follows.
1.Construction of a welcoming tower in front of the church.
2.In view of the completion of the seventy five years jubilee of Milagres high school, the construction of a new school building at the cost Rs. One crore.
Rev Fr Stany B. Lobo took charge of the Parish on 9th June 2011. Since then the spiritual, social and educational ministries are being carried out with the help of the Assistant Parish Priests, Priests teaching in our educational institutions, and members of the Parish Pastoral Parishad, at the retirement of Fr Frederick Mascarenhas, the Principal of Milagres College, Dr. Neri Cornelio has been appointed as the Principal. Rev. Fr. Ivan Rodrigues is the Principal of Milagres P.U.College, Fr. Canute Barboza is as the staff of M.S.W department. Fr. Paul Prakash is the Assistant Parish Priest. Fr. Anil D’Silva is the Head master of Milagres English Medium school and Fr. Arun Mendonca is as the staff in the Milagres high school and is the chaplain of Ozanam home.
We wish and pray that this Mother Church of Our Lady of Miracles spread its spiritual fragrance far and wide in days and years to come. Let Milar Mai (Our Lady of Miracles) help us, her children to lead a faithful and truthful life filled with deeds of unconditional love and selfless service.