St. Lawrence Parish of Belle Through the Century - IV

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By Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle
Adapted from: The Brief History of St. Lawrence Parish, Belle(in Konkani) by Boniface Barboza
Bellevision Media Network


4.    Belle Parish on the Path of Progress


Moodubelle, 24 November 2010: Fr. Valerian G.F. Rego was the fifth parish priest of the Belle who took charge on 16 May 1969. Fr. Rego was the first parish priest who had to shoulder multiple responsibilities. He was not only the parish priest, but also the headmaster of St. Lawrence High School as well as the Correspondent of both Church Aided Higher Primary School and St. Lawrence High School. On 14 April 1972, Fr. Rego celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his priesthood and donated the new altar to offer Mass.


Realising the difficulties that the poor children faced while getting themselves educated, Fr. Rego constituted a fund for helping the needy students. In order to provide additional classrooms for the higher primary school he extended the building with three classrooms. Realising the difficulties faced by the parishioners,  Fr. Rego gave up the practice of voluntary labour (sarthi) for clearing the remaining part of the hillock in front of the high school building and hired a bulldozer to do the job. He also laid foundation of a hall for the high school students.



During the tenure of Fr. Valerian Rego as the parish priest, first, Fr. Godfrey Saldanha and later Fr. William D’Silva served in the parish as assistant parish priests. The latter started the Youth Welfare Association at Belle. Fr. Harry Tauro was the next assistant parish priest who was interested in singing and he developed the parish choir. Fr. Harry Tauro became quite popular among the children as he used to organize games and picnics for the sodality children. Fr. Alphonse D’Lima who arrived as the assistant parish priest later was enthusiastic about the spiritual and social activities. He was a good writer and orator. He endeared to the sick people by visiting them regularly and inquiring about their health.  Fr. Vincent Martis, the next assistant parish priest revived the Catholic Youth Movement (CYM) and got himself involved in many activities of the parish.


After seven years of service as the parish priest of Belle, Fr. Valerian G.F. Rego was transferred to Thottam parish on 21 May 1976. Fr. Valerian G.F. Rego was born on 21 August 1921 at Siddakatte. He was ordained a priest on 7 April 1947. After serving at different places as assistant parish priest, Fr. Rego worked as headmaster at Padua High School in Mangalore from 1952 to 1969. He served as the parish priest and headmaster at Belle from 1969 to 1976. Thereafter, he was the parish priest of Thottam from 1979 to 1983, Pernal from 1983 to 1990 and Kemmannu from 1990 to 1994. He retired from his priestly duties in 1994 and passed away on 3 April 2003.


Following the transfer of Fr. Valerian G.F. Rego to Thottam, Fr. Alexander Lobo, a young and dynamic priest arrived in Belle as the new parish priest. Like his predecessor, Fr. Alexander Lobo also had to share the responsibilities as the parish priest, headmaster and Correspondent.  It was during his tenure that the high school acquired the permanent recognition from the education department.



If Fr. Abundius D’Souza has been remembered for starting the high school at Belle, Fr. Alexander Lobo can be considered as the pioneer who started the Junior College. In 1981, Fr. Alexander Lobo started St. Lawrence Pre University College with 60 students. The Junior College enabled those students who wanted to continue their education after SSLC to pursue Pre-university course in Belle itself. Fr. Lobo raised the building for the hall on the foundation that was already laid by Fr. Valerian Rego earlier. He also provided a spacious office and staff room facilities to the Church Aided Higher Primary School.


In order to improve the results of the SSLC, Fr. Lobo devised a method by which the students who wanted to concentrate on studies were encouraged to stay in the school during the night and were provided food and other facilities. Fr. Alexander Lobo kept a constant vigil on the students and helped them in overcoming difficulties. This innovation worked well and the SSLC results began to improve appreciably. It was due to the efforts of Fr. Alexander Lobo that the education department sanctioned the SSLC examination centre at Belle so that SSLC students could appear for the examination at Belle itself without going all the way to Udupi.


In social field also Fr. Alexander Lobo made a mark by his dedicated work. In order to help the alcoholics to kick off their habit, Fr. Alexander Lobo started the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the parish. After completing seven years as the parish priest and principal, though Fr. Alexander Lobo knew that he was likely to be transferred soon, he visited Gulf countries on a fund raising mission and succeeded in raising Rs.85,000 for St. Lawrence PU College.


Fr. Alexander Lobo did a lot of work for the material progress in various ways. He got a well dug with abundant water near the church and carried on coconut plantation. He also got another well dug in the church property at Mattar and promoted horticulture at that place. In order to help the poorer parishioners, Fr. Lobo founded St. Vincent De Paul Society on 20 October 1978. He also established a fund for helping the girls from poorer families to get married. He started a project to provide houses for the needy. On the land donated by Albert Sequeira of Kanaradi, Fr. Lobo got a well sunk and constructed three tile roofed houses for the poor families. He also worked towards getting financial assistance to the poor families through his contact with foreign philanthropists. He also worked for the promotion of the youth by organising various competitions at the parish as well as inter-parish level.


Fr. Robert Michael Miranda (presently Bishop of Gulbarga) was the assistant parish priest during the tenure of Fr. Alexander Lobo as the parish priest. Under the direction of Fr. Robert Miranda, for the first time the story of Christ (Christha Katha) was presented in Indian style during the Easter night.  As Fr. Miranda was good in singing, he gave a new life to the church choir and raised it to new height. He was also instrumental in erected the big cross on the Cross Hill on Good Friday that enabled the parishioners to meditate on the sufferings and death of Jesus on the cross. After the transfer of Fr. Robert Miranda, Fr. Frederick D’Souza assisted Fr. Alexander Lobo. Fr. Frederick D’Souza was a good musician that helped in improving the parish choir. The next assistant parish priest was Fr. Claude Paes.


After seven years of dedicated service in Belle during which he had undertaken a number of great works including the establishment of St. Lawrence PU College, Fr. Alexander Lobo was transferred to Rosario High School, Mangalore as headmaster on 20 May 1983.


Fr. Alexander Lobo was born on 12 December 1933 at Derebail and was ordained a priest on 2 March 1959. He served as assistant parish priest at Kallianpur Milagres Church from 1959 and 1961 and Puttur between 1961 and 1962. He was the headmaster at Kundapur from 1967 to 1974 and was later appointed as the parish priest of Balkunje between 1974 and 1976 and Belle as the parish priest and headmaster from 1976 to 1983. He served as the headmaster of the Rosario High School Mangalore between 1983 and 1992 and was appointed as the parish priest of Madanthyar from 1992 to 1994. Later he served as the parish priest of Allipade between 1994 and 2002 and Pangala (Shankerapura) between 2002 and 2007. After retiring from active pastoral activities, Fr. Alexander Lobo is presently Guardian for retired and sick senior priests in the Vianney Home at Kankanady, Mangalore.



Comments on this Article
vijay shetty, edmer/saudhi arabia Mon, December-6-2010, 5:51
As per I know Rev.Fr.Lobo helped lot of people in belle without looking what his religion. Today I am in good position because of Fr.lobo who help me to study in high school by giving free books, no fees, etc. Thanks to bellevision for writing about Fr.lobo.Unfortunatly I could not meet Fr. lobo after he has been transferred from Belle. But I am always remebering him.
Marian, Moodubelle / Kuwait Sat, November-27-2010, 1:37
Fr. Lobo was a fearless,bold,agressive and with clear vision induced displine and confidence in children as well adults. He surely left a mark in belle.
Thomas D\ Sa, Moodubelle Thu, November-25-2010, 2:39
In the recent history of belle parish both Fr. Rego and Fr. Lobo are done marvelous job for the upliftment of the churh as well as its institution, thus laid a strong foundation in the field of education. Fr. Rego was a highly intellectual and visionary priest and was a silent administator. Fr. Lobo was the revolutionay priest of Belle. He has totally changed the style of functioning of parish and brought the changes. And was very dynamic and produced many leaders. Though people were bit reluctant initially, later they realized the difference. He induced the self confidence with the leaders and showed the way for the distressed people.
Benedict Noronha, Udupi Tue, November-23-2010, 10:48
I can say REv.Fr. Rego was a blessing to Belle. St Lawrence might have worked for his posting to Belle high school as Head master . he was Parish priest after Rev. Fr. abundius D souza, a right choice at that time. His mission and commitment to uplift the poor made Belle what it is today. We want priests of such commitment to service to the people. Fr Lobo further continued the mission and a Junior college at Belle was the necessity and it was his contribution.
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