☼ CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF DOLOURS WADALA (WEST)
A BRIEF HISTORY
CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF DOLOURS, WADALA (W)
Canonically Erected 1985
Archdiocese of Bombay
State of Maharashtra
Once upon a time there was a little chapel that catered to the needs of the few Catholics of Wadala, Govari, Naigaum, Matunga, Antop Hill, Dadar, Sewri, Customs and BPT Quarters. This chapel was constructed in 1853 by Fr. J. Braz Fernandes, Vicar of Salvacao Church (Our Lady of Salvation Church), Dadar.
This chapel was dedicated to Nossa Senhora das Dolores (Our Lady of Dolours). Gradually, with the increase in the number of parishioners and their spiritual needs, the chapel was found inadequate. In 1936 it was demolished and in its place a church was erected out of the proceeds of the properties, bequeathed by Fr. J. Braz Fernandes to the Salvation Church and partly financed by some of the parishioners.
The corner stone of the present church was laid on November 1, 1936, and the church was blessed on October 17, 1937 by Msgr. Charles Ghezzi, S.J., Administrator Apostolic of the Archdiocese of Bombay. The first mass in the newly built church was offered by him with several priests (including former chaplains) concelebrating.
On March 12, 1941 the parish of Our Lady of Dolours, Wadala was carved out from the parish of Our Lady of Salvation, Dadar and given independent status. The first parish priest of the new church was Fr. Augusto Fernandes, a man of great foresight. He not only successfully completed the church but also got plots of land for the parishioners. Not all Catholics accepted the offer to reside in these plots since many considered the place unhygienic. (Today, these plots form the so-called Catholic Colony).
Fr. Augusto continued his work of clearing the place for a church and a school. He built a school dedicated to St. Joseph and procured the recognition from the municipality for an aided English medium primary school. Fr. Augusto was followed by Fr. Walter D’Souza and Fr. Avelino Rebello.
On August 22, 1948, the parish of Our Lady of Dolours with the newly built school was entrusted to the Salesians of Don Bosco who had just established themselves near King’s Circle, a little more than a kilometer away. This was the first parish run by the Salesians in the Archdiocese. Fr. Edward Rego was appointed the first Salesian parish priest and principal of St. Joseph’s School. He was a dynamic priest who was not only responsible for developing the church properties but also for acquiring new lands and developing them with residential buildings. He rebuilt St. Joseph’s School and raised it to the level of a high school in 1955. He further helped the Wadala villagers’ co-operative housing society to get plots of land from the Bombay Municipal Corporation for the construction of houses. Fr. Rego was assisted by Fr. Spratt and Fr. Eleutherius Fernandes.
In 1960, Fr. Fernandes became Parish Priest and was assisted by Fr. Francis Perez and Fr. Joseph Vaz. They had the unpleasant task of dealing with the fury of angry clients of Fr. Rego who were unsatisfied by the housing scheme. To make matters worse, Fr. Rego, who left abruptly, took up temporary residence in Don Bosco, Matunga. His presence, well within the reach of some uncouth characters, turned the hot breath of fury on the new staff who had to make a frantic search for documents that were not properly maintained. It was Don Bosco, Matunga that finally came to the rescue of the parish and helped Fr. Fernandes tide over the crisis. Towards the end of 1961, Fr. Mathew Thalanany and Fr. Victor D’Sousa were the new assistants. It was during their tenure that some of the parishioners were bestowed with papal awards.
Fr. Victor D’souza under the guidance of Fr. Fernandes made strenuous efforts to develop a part of the land into residential buildings at Antop Hill. He also extended the school building to its present form.
While Fr. Mathew Thalanany was Assistant at Our Lady of Dolours Church, he took keen interest in attending to the pastoral needs of the migrant Tamil Catholics of the area around Antop Hill. He developed a night study center, a free dispensary and a non-formal trade center amidst the slums of Antop Hill. He was also the zealous chaplain of the Acworth Leprosy Hospital.
Later, in 1981, the church of St. Dominic Savio was built right in the heart of the Antop Hill slums. It was carved out of the mother parish, Our Lady of Dolours, to enable a better growth and participation of the Catholics living in Wadala East.
In 1985, the community of Salesians at Our Lady of Dolours Church was given canonical status and Fr. Olivio Miranda was the first Rector-Parish Priest. He is remembered for his affable ways and concern for the poor. Fr. Dennis Duarte followed Fr. Olivio. He took steps to improve the liturgical celebrations and the Eucharistic services. He encouraged the participation of girls at the altar – an avant garde initiative since the permission for girls to serve at the altar was yet to be given to the Archdiocese of Bombay.
Meanwhile the years had taken their toll on the structure of the church. This was the concern of various parish priests but for many reasons nothing could be done and it was left unattended. When Fr. Boni D’Souza took over the parish in June 1993, he realised the gravity of the situation and his first task was to meet the urgent need of repairs. The work started in earnest only on January 27, 1994 and was completed in 1996.
Fr. Nelson Carvalho took over as Rector and Parish Priest on 24th May 1999. He had the unique privilege of being the Rector of the very school from which he had left to join the Salesian Congregation in 1962. He is the first Salesian priest from St. Joseph’s High School.
As one enters the Church, one cannot fail to notice the centerpiece which is a statue of Our Lady of Dolours – the Pieta, as it is generally described. The present statue was the third in the series and installed in 1963. This statue was a gift from Mrs. Annie Theresa Barretto and her family in loving memory of her late husband, Mr. David Sebastian Barretto, a great social worker in whose memory the road alongside the church leading to the Wadala station is named.
Wadala, which was once a wilderness with nothing more than a few
villages amidst marshy fields and salt pans, where urbanisation had
not even remotely touched its face, is now a beehive of activity.
The Church has played a major role in educating and
developing the area – a great leap forward for what was once a
A brief Report
Our Lady of Dolours Church, Wadala, Mumbai 400 031
St. Joseph’s High School
The parish of Our Lady of Dolours with its school, St. Joseph’s was entrusted to the Salesians in 1948, about the same time as the Salesians settled in Matunga. The school was co-ed until the Salesian Sisters came into the Wadala Village with the Auxilium Convent for girls.
The parish extends till King’s Circle fly-over in the North, Naigaum, Sahakar Nagar and Kidwai Nagar in the South, Hindu Colony/Ruia College in the West and the Harbour Branch Railway line including the Reynold’s Road, BPT Quarters in the East. These geographical boundaries were drawn after the Parish of St. Dominic Savio, Antop Hill was carved out of Our Lady of Dolours church in 1981.
Most of our parishioners are concentrated in the Wadala Village, Sahakar Nagar, the Catholic Colony and Don Bosco Hsg. Society, Kidwai Nagar, Madhav Nagar, David Barretto Road, Katrak Road and CGS Qtrs. The total number of families in the parish are about 650 (2500 persons). Most of the parishioners, especially the original inhabitants of Wadala and Gowari Villages are East Indians. The rest hail mainly from Goa and Mangalore. These were able to come into Wadala largely because of the buildings built by the Salesians for Catholics.
A special feature of our parish is the presence of numerous educational institutions and Service Centres around the parish church. To name the Catholic institutions and service centres: St. Joseph’s High School-Wadala, Don Bosco High School-Matunga, Auxilium Convent-Wadala, Mazzarello Youth Welfare Centre-Wadala, Don Bosco Youth Services, Don Bosco Recruitment Services, Tejprasarini, Tej Kiran Studio, Bosco Information Service, Prafulta Counselling Centre, Amar Media Communication Center, Anmol Shelter for Street Girls, Shelter Don Bosco, Shelter Don Bosco Research and Documentation Centre, Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, Salesian Provincial House and Development Office.
Groups, Associations and Cells in the Parish :
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Legion of Mary (Seniors and Juniors)
Mother Teresa’s Roses
Ministers of the Word
Perpertual Eucharistic Adoration Group
Peace and Justice Cell (Helpline)
Civic and Political Cell
Alcoholics Anonymous Group
Other Groups and Associations in some way linked with the Parish:
AGNI (Action for Good Governance and Networking in India)
JAG (Action Group)
WNA (Wadala Neighbourhood Association)
VOW (Voice of Wadala)
St. Roque’s Organisation
The New Thrust:
The Parish Church activities have been largely directed by the deliberations of the SYNOD of the Archdiocese of Bombay, held on 21st – 26th January 2001.
In accordance with the directives of the BASIC (Bombay Archdiocesan Synod Implementation Committee) our parish drew up the Vision Statement with the participation of all the Area Coordinators, Steering Committee members, core-group members and the Parish Team. Through reflection, prayer, Parish Feast Novena themes and group discussions at various levels, the Vision that became clear was the following.
“AN EMPOWERING CHURCH DISCOVERING GOD IN COMMUNITY LIVING”
The Vision was then spelt out in the Mission Statement through a participative process over several sessions. The Mission statement consisted of specific, measurable, achievable, result oriented and time bound goals. We identified the main areas of concern in the parish and proceeded to put down one or two goals for each area of concern. Each Small Christian Community would then look at itself, list the goals in the order of priority and work out a plan to achieve the goals in the community.
The Cultural Cell….
Our Lady of Dolours Church, Wadala West, Mumbai
All the action that takes place in Our Lady of Dolours parish, Wadala is mainly due to the very motivated and dedicated work of the Cultural Cell – the Event Management Cell.
The Cultural Cell headed by our Parish Priest Fr. Aloo, has on its team 21 members – Area Co Ordinators, Senior Citizens, Youth, Parish Council Members, Teachers, a Head Mistress and a mix of parishioners from various parts of the parish – all with a common goal… to animate the Parish.
Earlier, we used to meet as and when we needed to conduct a programme, but now we have taken on so many events that we meet regularly every Monday after the evening Mass for about 2 hours or more starting with some delicious snacks generously brought by our members. Our planning sessions are noisy - of course, not everyone is always in agreement with a view point – but that only adds to the fun generated that makes us an envious group.
Our events for the year 2009-10 were planned at the beginning of the term and are as follows:
We started the year with a Farewell party of our outgoing Principal Fr. Tony and a Welcome to the incoming Fr. Bernard in May’09. This was a fun filled Dinner prepared and enjoyed by all Cultural Cell members with the Parish Team and Priest from the Sheltor Don Bosco.
2. Indoor Games Festival
Six teams (each having senior citizens, females, males and children) competed against each other in indoor games like Carrom, Table Tennis, Scrabble Relay, Draughts and Dumb Charades for prize money of Rs.3000/- for the winning team and Rs.1000/- and Rs.500/- for second and third place. The prize money was raised from donations from parishioners.
The Indoor Games was conducted in June’09 over two days and it was lots of fun to see our old and young enthusiastically take part in the scrabble relay or engrossed in a game of draughts. Snacks were sold on both the days and the event concluded with t a housie session and dinner. This was a great success but takes a lot or organizing and planning.
3. Parents Day
In July’09 we celebrated Parents Day with a cultural programme put up by the Sunday School Kids, followed by games which the Youth helped us organise, and cake, patties, wafers and soft drinks for all. We sold 282 snack coupons at Rs.15/- only. There were lots of prizes for the games and spot prizes too. A well organised evening dedicated to our care givers – the precious Parents.
4. Marian Quiz
A much awaited event by the Sunday School children…. An afternoon of fun and games and loads of prizes. Every single person got a prize. This event is generally held in August each year.
Here, 8 teams of around 15 per team take part in loads of quizzes of all types from the very easy to the slightly difficult all based on the life of Mother Mary. A paper with details of events in Mary’s life is provided to the children a month in advance and all the quizzes are based on this. Delicious Noodles, chocolates and soft drinks were provided to the eager children.
This takes a lot of planning on the part of the cultural cell and we
have reached an excellent standard in conducting this.
We have almost 15 games for the children and we try to vary
the games each year to make it more interesting… Although it’s a lot
of hard work getting all the games and quizzes organised… it’s great
fun to see the children await the details of each game with such
anticipation.. the finale is the drawing relay where the hall
reverberates with each and every child taking part and the Judges
having a hard time choosing a winner where necessary.
5. Elders Day
To concide with World Elders Day, the Cultural Cell organises a lunch for Elders on 2nd October (a holiday – Gandhi Jayanti). Our Elders who have come before for this, look forward eagerly to get their coupons well in time. It’s a morning of fun and games, entertainment, music and dancing, loads of prizes, snacks and a lunch. Prizes are generally sponsored by our Parishioners. 132 coupons were sold. A lot of trouble was taken this year to decorate the hall and tables and make our elders feel special. Elders in the Cultural Cell group too are made to be participants instead of organisers for this event.
6. Mission Sunday Fete
This event only gets bigger and bigger each year and all for a good cause. We organise a mini fete with a cafeteria selling items donated by parishioners, game stalls, music request, a raffle, an auction and jam session. We rope in the Youth and members from various cells to help in the event. This is a well patronised event by all parishioners and you can see eager parishioners at the cafeteria from morning waiting to see who brings what to sell.
7. GEMS Nite
Our Parish Feast is celebrated with much gusto with a GEMS Nite (Goans, East Indians, Mangaloreans and South Indians). This is an evening of family entertainment and dinner and we get around 400 to 450 parishioners (some sponsored) coming for this event. Games, Snacks, Dancing, Dinner and Entertainment are all part of the festive evening.
8. Dolours Funfair
What started as a fund raiser to raise money to start a CCO, has now become an annual 3 day event in the parish, growing bigger and better each year. Parishioners look forward to these 3 days of fun, food and a fiesta atmosphere with daily stage shows in the evening, competition for kids, stalls selling various items and of course food stalls including our parish canteen which again is a big draw selling items donated by parishioners.
For the first time, this year from the end of August we started “Housie” twice a month catering mainly to our senior citizens who look forward to this evening out. Of course others are also welcome. Snacks are sold…. making this an attractive evening out.
We end our year with Telegames now held annually on the 1st of May. Telegames is an outdoor event held on the School grounds. We bring in the Youth of Youth Team from St. Peter’s Church, Bandra who organise the games very professionally. Six teams of around 20 each from the Small Christian Communities (the grouping is done in advance) compete with each other to be the winning team of the Parish. In addition to the games, we have prizes for the best team costume, the best mascot, the best cheer leaders. Here again, the team must comprise people from various groups like seniors, gents, ladies and so people of all age groups (except the small kids) get a chance to participate in the fun events. Lots of spot prizes too are given out. Special spot games are organised for the kids and the spectators. This event is growing bigger and better each year with teams coming out with really good mascots, team names, costumes, etc.
After the Telegames… the Cultural Cell team takes a much needed break… but have our planning meeting for forthcoming events during this time.
Activities of Wadala (W) Unit of Salesian Co-operators for 2009-2010
1. Recitation of rosary before the evening mass from Mon-Sat.
2. Adoration conducted every Thursday and 1st Friday at the Parish level.
3. Some co-operators are Eucharistic Ministers, SCC members, Steering committee members, Parish Councilors, SVP and Catholic Sabha members & Pre-baptism Catechist and Charismatic members
4. We help in cafeteria on Mission Sunday, helping hand in Shelter Diwali mela at Don Bosco and Anmol Dhamaka at Auxilium Convent.
5. Vianney Sunday celebration by hosting dinner for all the Priest of our Parish & Shelter.
6. Stitching of Altar cloth and church decorations.
7. Spendint time with Anmol girls, playing games and arranging dinner for them.
8. Serving mid-day meal at St. Joseph school.
9. Participating in all spiritual activities for self growth for Salesian charism.
10. Visited Khandas sisters and offered them lunch and gave clothes, medicines, biscuits and cash. Also visited Sheltor at Karjat and donated Rs.5,000/- to them given by Fr. Aloo to us for mission outreach.
11. Collected old clothes and distributed to deserving children of Baroda.
12. Sent woolen clothes worth Rs.3,500/- from our unit funds and sent to Fr. Leslie, Alirajpur for his borders.
13. Each cooperator adopted Priest from our parish and Sheltor for one year offering prayers and sacrifices for a specific Priest since it was the Year of the Priest. Night vigil praying for the Priest was conducted involving all the SCCs of the parish.
Members : 20
Aspirants : 6
CHARITY SUNDAY – 26th and 27th SEPTEMBER 2009
Today is the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul and also it’s Charity Sunday
As you are aware, the Wadala Conference of St. Vincent de Paul (known as SVP) established in 1948, has been reaching out to the needy and the marginalized of both our Parishes viz. St. Dominic Savio and Our Lady of Dolours. We have 23 active members and 11 auxiliary members and would welcome more members, both active and auxiliary, in this act of mercy.
Our areas of concern are primarily education, health, food, shelter and empowerment.
For your information, during the year, we have been able to carry out the following:
1. Finance, by way of weekly allowances, to 19 adopted families.
2. Distribute food grains every second Saturday of the month to 90 families.
3. Christmas Hampers were distributed to 250 families
4. 12 girls were trained at the Tailoring & Embroidery Classes conducted by the Canossian Sisters, Wadala East.
5. Our dispensary at Wadala East, which is manned by 3 Doctors, duly assisted by our SVP members, treats around 100 patients a month. Medical aid to parishioners for various major operations and to the terminally ill, is also taken care of by SVP.
6. Part payment of school fees for the children from KG to College and NIOS. During the year 5 children have passed SSC and 1 has Graduated.
7. Total annual expenditure was approximately Rs.4 lakhs.
We have been able to carry out all the above works of charity through the generosity of our parishioners, our benefactors and our well wishers. Since we have no other source of income, we depend entirely on you to bring smiles on the faces so sad, of those we aid with plight so bad.
We are also grateful to the Priest and Religious of both our Parishes for their whole-hearted cooperation.
You may not see, you may not know, just where your gifts of money go. But one in need, somewhere, some place, will kneel and pray with an upturned face and say: “Dear god, I humbly pray that you bless these benefactors today and everyday”.
Thank you and bless you all for being part of us.
Educational Grant (To date) Rs.65600/-
For this academic year
DOLOURS CENTRE FOR EMPOWERMENT
The Dolours Centre for Empowerment was started in June 2007. This centre reaches out to the poor and marginalized, irrespective of caste, creed or area.
During the year, the focus has been on empowering the youth/dropouts and women/housewives to be self-reliant. We have succeeded in training more than 400 youth/dropouts in various training programmes like Computer Classes, Career Guidance Workshops, Personality Development Classes, Beautician’s Course and English Speaking Classes. We are also supporting the Evening Study Classes for the poor students in St. Joseph’s High School. Our Self-Help Groups are doing great and are planning to expand their scope and area of expertise. We have organised Eye and Bone Density Camps and more than 500 people were able to take advantage of the free/subsidized eye treatments and medicines provided.
Our latest venture is Senior Citizen Care. We found this section of society totally neglected and kept on the sidelines, be it their health concerns, their medicines, their food or their emotional needs. We are in the process of having monthly get-togethers to understand their needs and finding ways and means of helping them to live with dignity.
- A 3 months Computer Course was started on 1st July 2010, the next batch will begin in October 2010.
- A 2 months Weekend Beautician Course will be starting soon
- Our Senior Citizens meet every alternate month for Games and Lunch and also get to know a thing or two about what they should and should not do at this age.
- Dolours Self Help Group makes Phenyl
- DISHA Self Help Group makes yummy puranpuries, modaks, potato chops, cutlets and many other delicious food items at reasonable rates. They also make special masalas.
- HELPLINE has started once again from Mondays to Fridays from 6.30 to 7.30 pm with job offers, help in problem solving and if you generally want to unburden yourself.
FAMILY CELL REPORT (15TH August 2010)
Members : 16
Meetings : Every 2nd Friday of the month at 7.30 pm
Avg. Attendance at meetings : Around 80%
1. Quarterly Wedding Anniversary Mass:
The Wedding Anniversary Mass is held on the last Saturday of the months of Feb, May, Aug and Nov.
Personal invitations are sent to those couples celebrating their Wedding anniversary in that quarter. The couples participate in animating the Mass. As part of the service, the Wedding anniversary pledge is recited by the couples, followed by a special blessing by the Celebrant.
After the Mass there is a short fellowship arranged in the school hall where there is sharing by couples, games and snacks.
2. Visiting the sick, lonely and home bound:
The cell members regularly visit the sick, lonely and home bound in the parish.
3. Deanery Meetings
Cell Members participate in the quarterly deanery meetings. It is a time when we learn and share the functioning and activities in other parishes.
4. Training for Family Animators
The Parish Priest has nominated two of our cell members who are undergoing training as Family Cell Animators.
5. Enrichment Programs
Last year we had organised a program for enriching Family life. The program was open to married couples. Single spouses were also welcomed. The focus was on couple relationship and Parent-child relationship.
This year too, in the month of September we have planned a program for the youth and the confirmation students on Family Values.