St. Lawrence Parish of Belle Through the Century - VII [Towards a better future]

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By Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle
Bellevision Media Network


7. Towards a better future


Moodubelle, 15 December 2010: A new era in St. Lawrence Parish of Belle had started with the building and inauguration of the beautiful and magnificent new church building in 2006. By this time there had been all-round progress in terms of education and material wellbeing of the parishioners. With a strong foundation, the parishioners of Belle naturally looked forward towards a better future.


Following the retirement of Rev. Dr. Valerian D’Souza, Fr. Joswey Fernandes, the present parish priest of Belle took charge of the parish on 2 June 2008. He came to the parish with vast experience after working in Attur-Karkala for some years where he constructed the new church building and the beautiful facade of the famous St. Lawrence Church. Later he worked at Niddodi before coming to Belle.



Soon after taking charge of the Belle parish, Fr. Joswey got the new church-bell inaugurated through the previous parish priest, Rev. Dr. Valerian D’Souza on 15 June 2008. In order to save space, he got the KG classes of the English Medium School transferred to old parochial house in July 2008.


Fr. Joswey was keen to see that the parishioners actively took part in the liturgical services and for the first time made arrangements to distribute the readings and other aspects of the liturgy to all the wards of the parish during the calendar feast of St. Lawrence on 10 August 2008.


Thereafter with the intention of building a strong parish community from the grass root level, Fr. Joswey made it a point to attend meetings of the Small Christian Communities (SCC) in different wards and began to register the correct information of each of the families in the ward.


In order to provide an opportunity for the students to have proper foundation in the English language, Fr. Joswey organised the English Speaking Course between 13 to 18 of October 2008. On the Children’s Day on14 November 2008, he inaugurated the Kid’s Park in the Church premises.

With a view to promote personal touch with the parishioners, Fr. Joswey initiated the practice of displaying the birthdays of the parishioners on the notice board and wishing the individuals personally on their birthdays. As the Director of the ICYM, Fr. Joswey got the water-cooler installed near the shrine of St. Lawrence for the benefit of the parishioners attending the services in the church.


In order to collect maximum amount of contribution from the parishioners for the Mission Sunday, Fr. Joswey initiated the practice of auctioning various items donated by the parishioners for this purpose. On the occasion of the All Souls Day on 2 November, he started the practice of cleaning the cemetery and decorating the graves with flowers and candles and blessing and praying in the cemetery along with the family members.


One of the significant event that was undertaken by Fr. Joswey Fernandes as the Correspondent of the educational institutions of the parish was the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of St. Lawrence High School in association with Fr. Paul Sequeira, principal of St. Lawrence Composite PU College on three days-28, 29 and 30 of December 2009.


On 28 December 2009, the Golden Jubilee celebrations were inaugurated with the solemn thanks-giving mass concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Wilson L.V. D’Souza, Secretary of the Catholic Board of Education as the chief celebrant. Following the thanksgiving mass, a grand procession was organised from the Church Aided Higher Primary School ground winding through the main road and church compound terminating in the quadrangle of St. Lawrence High School and PU College. In the High School-College quadrangle, the chief guest of the function-Commodore Jerome Castelino hoisted the School Flag, thus inaugurating officially the three days Golden Jubilee celebrations.



Following the grand opening ceremony of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of St. Lawrence High School in the morning, the chief function of the Golden Jubilee was held on the same day evening, presided over by Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore. The chief guest was Mr. Lalaji R. Mendon, MLA representing the Kaup Constituency. Dr. Aloysius P. D’Souza unveiled the portrait of late Fr. Abundius D’Souza, founder of St. Lawrence High School fifty years ago and offered floral tribute to him. On this occasion, the souvenir commemorating the fifty years of St. Lawrence High School titled “Swarna Vallari” (Golden Creeper) was released by Mr. Lalaji R. Mendon.


On the second day of the three days Golden Jubilee celebrations ‘Guruvandana’ programme was organised which was meant to remember and honour all those correspondents, headmasters, principals and members of the teaching and non-teaching staff, both past and present for serving and nurturing St. Lawrence Educational Institutions with dedication and commitment.


The ‘Guruvandana’ programme was presided over by Rev. Dr. Baptist Menezes, Episcopal Vicar of Udupi District. As part of the ‘Guruvandana’ programme, first of all the past Correspondents of St. Lawrence Educational Institutions were honoured.  Rev. Dr. Valerian D’Souza, popularly known as the ‘Builder of Modern Belle’ received the honour on behalf of all the Correspondents.  The retired teachers and members of the non-teaching staff as well as all those teachers who had left the High School and all the serving members of the teaching and non-teaching staff were also honoured on this occasion.



The Old Students and Parents-Teachers Associations held their combined programme in the morning of Wednesday, 30 December 2009 with games on the ground and stage function in the hall followed by lunch. The programme honouring the past meritorious students was held in the evening of the same day. While Fr. Joswey Fernandes presided over the function, Sr. Eugene D’Souza, Superior General of the Holy Cross Sisters of Chavanod who is the past student of St. Lawrence High School was the chief guest. Philip D’Souza, the first ever student of St. Lawrence High school to secure the top position in the state in the SSLC examination was honoured. On this occasion the new and improved website of was inaugurated. The entertainment programme for the evening was arranged by Bellevision (UAE) by presenting music and singing by Rhythm Udupi under the name ‘Rasa Manjari’ following which the Tulu Comedy play “Panandhe Padhrad” was presented.



The three days Golden Jubilee celebrations of St. Lawrence High School was a great success due to the efforts of all the people who were associated with these celebrations under the leadership of Fr. Joswey Fernandes, the Correspondent and Fr. Paul Sequeira, the principal of St. Lawrence Composite PU College with the cooperation of the staff members, Old Students’ Association, Parents-Teachers Association, parents of the students, well-wishers and donors and the students themselves.


As the Belle parish was to complete 100 years on 2 November 2010, the yearlong centenary celebrations were inaugurated on the annual parish feast day on 6 January 2010. With the ideal of ‘building the parish community unitedly’ Fr. Joswey thought of a plan to build the parish community from the basic level spiritually and socially. Hence, he initiated the ambitious programme of the journey of St. St. Lawrence through each of the 22 wards, the statue remaining in each ward for a week during which it was taken to each and every home where prayers were recited and hymns were sung. Masses for the sick and elderly in the ward were offered on a particular day in each of the wards. The visit of St. Lawrence in each ward culminated with the Ward Day celebration where the ward members manifested their unity and cooperation through entertainment programmes, games and community meal. The entire programme of the visit of St. Lawrence to all the 22 wards that had started from mid February continued till the end of July 2010. The report of the Journey of St. Lawrence through the wards of Belle parish was regularly serialised in


As a part of the Centenary celebration, the Cross Hill has been given a new shape with flat surface on the top so that more people can be accommodated during various occasions such as Vespers on the eve of the annual parish feast and the blessing of new paddy on the feast of the nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary on 8 September every year.


On 1 November 2010, the Parish Day was celebrated with a solemn Thanksgiving Mass offered by Rev. Dr. Valerian D’Souza as the chief celebrant. Following the Mass, in a brief stage programme, three couples who had completed 60 or more years of their married life were honoured. Similarly, the past vice presidents and secretaries of the Parish Pastoral Council, those gurkars who had served their wards for more than ten years, caterers who had organised the community meal on that day, few other persons who had served the parish in one way or the other, and the entire team of the priests of the parish were honoured with shawls and bouquets. Thereafter, the entire parish community participated in the community meal that was prepared by the parishioners themselves with the cooperation of four caterers of the parish-Best caterers, Preetham Caterers, Alwyn Caterers and Golden Caterers. The arrangements were excellent and everything was done with a sense of unity and cooperation.


The ICYM organised ‘Sangam-2010’ an inter-parish cultural competition on 7 November 2010 in which five parishes-Shirva, Pamboor, Udyavar, Kuntalnagar and Thottam had participated, Pamboor, Shirva and Thottam parishes winning first, second and third positions respectively. Earlier, on the evening of 8 September 2010, the ICYM had organised the Talents Day in the parish.


On 9 November 2010, seventeen parishioners under the leadership of Fr. Joswey went on a ten days pilgrimage to the Holy land. After successful pilgrimage the group returned on 19 November 2010 after a successful pilgrimage to the Holy Land with sweet memories.

Born on 1 September 1948, Fr. Joswey Fernandes was ordained a priest on 8 May 1976. He served as assistant parish priest in Modankap (Bantwal) and Bendur, Mangalore from 1976 and 1981. He worked as the editor of the monthly magazine ‘Amchi Mai’ and Director of Vocation Centre from 1981 to 1983. For ten years, Fr. Joswey served as the manager of the Kodialbail Press. From 1993 to 2001 he was the parish priest of Attur-Karkala and that of Niddodi between 2001 and 2008. While in Attur-Karkala, Fr. Joswey was instrumental in celebrating the bi-centenary of the parish dedicated to St. Lawrence. It is a coincidence that he was destined to take the lead in the celebration of the centenary of the establishment of St. Lawrence Parish, Belle.


During Fr. Joswey’s tenure as the parish priest, Fr. Navin Pinto served for few months as the assistant parish priest before proceeding to study for the B.Ed. course. Presently, other than Fr. Joswey Fernandes, there are three other priests in the Belle parish-Fr. Paul Sequeira, principal of St. Lawrence Composite PU College, Fr. Arun Mendonca who teaches in St. Lawrence High School and Fr. Lancy Saldanha who is the principal of St. Lawrence English Medium School.


The Belle parish has been a fertile ground for religious vocations. A large number of priests, both diocesan and belonging to religious orders and religious sisters have been working as missionaries in many parts of north India and even abroad.  Three of the Belleans are Bishops serving in north India. Besides these priests and nuns a considerable number of young people have been working as teachers and lecturers in different schools and colleges. Four to five persons from the Belle parish have acquired Ph.D. degree.  Many people have been working in higher posts within and outside India. Many parishioners have started their own construction, catering or other gainful businesses. Thousands of Belleans are working in the Gulf countries as well as in Europe, America and Australia. Many young men and women are acquiring higher education. Some parishioners have entered politics and have been serving the society in their own way. While, Mr. Gerald Fernandes served as the member and for some time the In-charge President of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat, Mrs. Jacintha Aranha was elected as the president of the Belle Grama Panchayat. Mr. A.G. D’Souza is the member of the Belle Grama Panchayat, while Mr. Henry Fernandes is the former Grama Panchayat member of Kodibettu village.


The people of Belle, irrespective of their religion and community have been living in peace and harmony. The parishioners in general live comparatively in comfortable and spacious residences and have better living standards due to liberalisation and globalisation of the economy. The number of vehicles has increased appreciably which can be witnessed in the church compound on Sundays and other feast days. The parishioners are quite generous and have been contributing to various good causes.


Thus, St. Lawrence Parish of Belle has grown in all respects, materially, educationally and spiritually since it was established hundred years ago. It is a matter of great pride and satisfaction to the present generation that our forefathers had made great sacrifices and maintained and passed on the faith that they had acquired to the succeeding generations. As the parish completes the programmes associated with the Centenary Year on 5 January 2011 with the solemn annual parish feast and valedictory function, let us salute Fr. Casmir Fernandes and all the succeeding parish priests and assistant parish priests, all the lay people who had rendered service to the community and look forward to a new era of greater spirituality, cooperation and brotherhood.




As the series on the history of St. Lawrence Parish Belle under the title “St. Lawrence Parish of Belle Through the Century” concludes, I would like to add that the original history of the parish from its inception till 1985, the Platinum Jubilee Year was written by Emmanuel D’Souza (Monnu Master) in Konkani under the title: “Boliye San Lores Firgajechi Sankshipt Charitra” which was published in the Souvenir of the Platinum Jubilee (1910-1985). Boniface Barboza (Benny Master) built upon this base and continued the history of the Belle parish up to the construction of the new church building and its inauguration in January 2006, under the same title which was published in the Souvenir ‘Suvaad’ issued on the occasion of the blessing and inauguration of the new church building on 5 January 2006. I am grateful to both late Monnu Master and Benny Master for their great work in recording the history of St. Lawrence Parish of Belle which I used extensively in reconstructing the history through this series under the title: “St. Lawrence Parish of Belle Through the Century” in I am also grateful to Fr. Joswey Fernandes, the present parish priest of Belle for his whole hearted support in writing this series. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the entire Bellevison (UAE) team, especially, Elias D’Souza, Sigfred D’Souza, Valerian Alva, Wilfred Menezes and Ronald Saby D’Souza for their support and encouragement in writing this series.

Dr. Eugene D’Souza, Moodubelle



Comments on this Article
Joel Dsa, Moodubelle/Bahrain Wed, December-22-2010, 2:31
Very well explained Dr. Eugene, Yes there are many people who have contributed to the improvement of Belle parish and its educational institutions. I salute all of them. But after the inception of most of the people got the deserved place in the history of Belle parish through the articles written by Dr. Eugene in the website. So the credit of all this goes to Bellevision and Dr.Eugene in perticular, as this is a herculian task to gather information by running around piller to posts. thank you for enlighting all the people world over about Belle parish and its place in history. lets continue to support the cause hand.
Philip Mudartha, Qatar Fri, December-17-2010, 6:43
Dr. Eugene has rendered us a yeomen service in documenting the founding, nurturing and sustaining the Catholic faith in Boliye. The church and its leadership has served as rallying point for the laity in accomplishing its goals of improving the living conditions chiefly through secular education, while holding the flock together through church activities. With each vicar focusing on the needs of his times, we are witnessing a renewal of faith through liturgy, adoration and prayer services and faith-based small group activities that takes the church to their homes, instead of exclusively to be reserved for the grandeur of the main church building. This is very much what I believe Pope John XXIII wanted to achieve in the early sixties, reformation of the church, through Vatican Council II. Certainly, the changes that the council brought about had a lot to do with what we are today: a tolerant and inclusive community of the faithful, living in peace and harmony among those not belonging to our faith. Where do we go from here? That, I think, is a good topic for the thinkers belonging to the parish, including Dr. Eugene
Benedict Noronha, Udupi Tue, December-14-2010, 10:44
An excellent portrat of a Priest in Rev. Fr. Joswey Fernandes for the people of Belle Parish. St Lawrence is indeed working wonders today for his devotees and the parishoners of Belle. In my view Fr. Fernandes is walking in the foot prints of St. Lawrence. May God bless him abundantly and help keep up the spirit. Dr Eugene , being a member of the Belle Parish (church) has done wonderfully well in making this lovely and lively write up for viewers of Bellevision. May St lawrence also bless him and keep him long to do this yeoman service.
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