History of the church

The quite reliable Parish History Book gives a succinct account of the historical background of the beginning of our Church in following words: “From times immemorial there was only one Catholic Church at Kallianpur dedicated to our Lady of Miracles.The jurisdiction (was) from Airody north and Udyavara river south on the sea coast. After the Concordat in 1857 between Portugal and Rome there was erected one Church close to the mother Church. Later a chapel was built at Barkur under the control of Kallianpur Milagres Church with the united help of all the parishioners, even Udyavara parishioners inclusively.

The Udyavara parishioners who formed one ward belonging to the Kallianpur Church underwent many hardships and inconveniences to perform their religious duties… Seeing their difficulties one of the parishioners of Udyavara named Domingo Gabriel Pereira Son of Peter Pereira, persuading Mr Philip Fernandes, a wealthy landlord and also one of his friends Louis Lobo met together with several other co-parishioners in Mr Fernandes’ house, held a meeting there and resolved to send a petition to His Grace the Rt Rev. Metropolitan Archbishop of Goa to grant them permission to build a Church at Udyavara and give a resident missionary priest to provide for the needs of their soul, at the same time craving aid from the mother Church of Kallianpur. The Muktesar of Kallianpur then was Balthazar Lewis, who was uncle to Domingo Pereira. The Vicar too was very friendly to Domingo Pereira. Hence they evinced much interest in this affair and promised their cooperation. According to the resolution, Domingo Pereira accompanied by Louis Lobo and started from Udyavara to Goa travelling by land, a journey of about 6 or 7 days. The Oriental Archbishop Dr Amorin Passoa after hearing all their grievances was pleased to grant permission to build a Church at Udyavara and allowed a priest to reside there, recommending the Portuguese Government to sanction a congrua of Rs.30/= per month to him, understanding that there were only a few families in his parish.

On receiving the order, they tried to purchase a good plot of ground to build the Church. After many hardships they succeeded to get land on the road side and erected a temporary thatched shed and temporary lodging for the Vicar. Having finished the required accommodation they again went to Goa to call the priest. In the year 1866 and in the month of January the Vicar said Mass for the first time in the temporary shed. The name of the Vicar was Rev. Fr John Louis Marian D’Souza of Bardez. He was Vicar from 10.1.1866 to 30.12.1879. During his vicariate the chief Muktesar Domingo Pereira and Louis Lobo together with other co-parishioners tried their utmost to build a church in honour of St Francis Xavier as patron. They sought advice from Rev. Fr Ferandes, the Vicar of Karkal… They began to build a beautiful Church in those days and succeeded to finish almost all. But to their disappointment the site of the place being sandy and damp, the building did not last long. Gradually it turned into a dilapidated condition… In 1884 the facade which was erected high, collapsed and day by day rafters of the roof were eaten by worms.”

From the above account, we can establish following facts:
1. After initial steps, Udyavara Parish was founded on 10.1.1866 as the first Vicar offered Mass.
2. Till then Udyavara was one of the Wards of Kallianpur Milagres Church.
3. St Francis Xavier was its Patron.
4. First Parish Priest (Vicar) was Rev.Fr John Louis Marian D’Souza of Bardez.
5. Domingo Pereira and Louis Lobo are considered as Muktesars (founders) of the Church.
6. The location of the first Church is near the rock temple in Melpete, Udyavara,.

Now, with these facts, we can lay to rest the contrary claims that Udyavara Church started in 1863 (?). May be the starting of Barkur Church that year inspired the leaders of Udyavara to think of a new Church here. The other often cited evidence of a wooden Altar with the statue of St Francis Xavier and having the inscription of “1865” found in the old house of Gratian Pereira S/o Late Dominic Gabriel Pereira in Bolje and the claims of Masses being offered in the upper room of this house, do not suffice to establish the foundation of a Parish in Udyavara before 1866 as such. That apart, in the succeeding years the centenary of the Parish was planned in 1966 and celebrated only in the year 1967 confirms that this Church was founded in 1866 !

A few historical connecting details now: Fr John Marian, the first Vicar returned to Goa in 1897 and in his place Fr Aprezius Loyola Deniz was appointed as Parish priest. He was vicar from 30.12.1897 to 31.05.1903. Following the Concordat between the Pope and the King of Portugal, in 1886 when the new Hierarchy of the Church in India was established which abolished the double jurisdiction of Padroado system, Kallianpur and Udyavara protested. Fr Aprezius had to leave the Church and stay at Shirva. Lordship N.Pagnai SJ Bishop of Mangalore promised some privileges and asked Fr Deniz to retake the charge of Udyavara. Hence the Church was reopened in 1889 under Propaganda jurisdiction. Fr Deniz was vicar till 1903. He wanted to rebuild the dilapidating Church and started to collect funds, bought 20,000 tiles from Mangalore and got ready 6,000 stones. But old age prevented his work. On 03.3.1903 he resigned his vicarship.

St Francis Xavier
Mass Timings
Monday - Thursday - 6:45 am
Friday - 6:45 am and 5:30 pm
Saturday - 6:45 am and 4:30 pm
Sunday - 7:30 am and 10:00 am