Our Lady of Dolours Church Sonapur


Mumbai, Maharashtra, India


51, Dr Cawasji Hormusji St, Dhobi Talao
New Sonapur, Marine Lines
Mumbai Maharashtra, India


07:30 a.m. (Konkani)
08:30 a.m. (English)
09:30 a.m. (English)
10:30 a.m. (English)
05:00 p.m. (English)

The Church of Our Lady of Dolours was built over a graveyard . . . In 1794 the Portuguese inhabitants of South Bombay obtained permission to build a new church with a burial-ground, as the old chapel was dilapidated and it was decided to demolish it. On its site was raised the Cavel Church of Nossa Senhora de Saude, which was proclaimed a separate parish Church in 1796. Obviously, the burial-ground of the new church “could not be placed in the closely inhabited quarters of Cavel," in the words of Fr. E. Hull in the BOMBAY MISSION HISTORY, "and it was granted Sonapur, then on the sea-shore but now bordering Queen’s Road, opposite Marine Lines Station. A small mortuary chapel was built in this cemetery and later it was utilised as a filial chapel. At service time it used to be noticeable for the crowd congregated outside for want of room inside. In, 1905 a new chapel was built over the whole of the cemetery area and so the grave yard totally disappeared. The new chapel was called Nosaa Senhora das Dores (Our Lady of Dolours).

On April 17, 1904, at 5 p.m. H.E., the Most Rev. Dom. Sebastião José Pereira, Archbishop and honour of Cranganor and Bishop of Damaun, accompanied by many priests and a great number of laity proceeded to lay the foundation stone, after blessing it together with the area which the mortuary chapel was to be built in the old cemetery. This chapel was to be under the patronage of Our Lady of Dolours and to be affiliated to the Cavel Church, whose Vicar then was the Rev. Missionary Luis Claudino Pera and the chaplain of the filial chapel of Sonapur was Rev. Fr. Daniel X. Fernandes.
First Image of the Altar

First Image of the Altar

The new chapel was constructed with the help of subscriptions, to which were added contributions of the missions of Damaun, of the Fabrica of Cavel Church and of the public treasury of Goa. Tribute must be paid to the Archbishop-Bishop of Damaun and to the chaplain Rec. Fr. Daniel X. Fernandes, without whose zeal and initiative the success of the undertaking would not have been assured.

The opening ceremony of the new chapel took place on February 7, 1906, at 6 p.m. There assembled in the porch of the chapel the Most Rev. Archbishop-Bishop of Damaun the Rev, Pedro João Elias Moniz, Vicar of Cavel, the Rev. Daniel X. Fernandes, Royal Missionary and chaplain of the Sonapur Chapel, many members of the clergy of the Diocese of Damaun, of the Goa Patriarchat and of the Archdiocese of Bombay, the members of the Board of Administration of Cavel and many people. The Archbishop-Bishop solemnly blessed the new chapel and after the Te Deum, preached a fitting sermon, in which he spoke about the advantages, chiefly, to those who would otherwise have to go far to hear Mass, and thanked the people who had helped in the construction of the chapel. He concluded by exhorting the faithful to have recourse to Our Lady of Dolours, the Patroness of the Chapel, whose beautiful image was kept there for public veneration. This image, was presented by Mr. Isidore Fulgencio D'Souza of Siolim, Bardez, Goa.

As a large number of people attended Mass on Sunday and Holidays of obligation, the chaplain was requested to have the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the chapel and also to give Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The Chaplain accordingly applied for permission, which he obtained on July 14, 1906. In the following year the Feast of Our Lady of Dolours was celebrated for the first time with Novena, Salves and Vespers in September. In October 1911, the canonical erection of the Stations of the Cross was permitted and the people of the locality were given yet another facility to participate in the liturgical life of the church and to secure graces and indulgences.

The Chaplain went to Goa for the Exposition in December, 1922 and died on December 19. On hearing the sad news, the residents of New Sonapur and the friends of the deceased held a condolence meeting and collected funds for a memorial in the form of a tablet, on which were written - 'IN MEMORY OF Rev. Danie; Xavier Fernandes, Chaplain for 28 years who died on 19-12-1922. This tablet is erected by his friends in Bombay'

Over the years with successive Parish Priests, our church has undergone some major structural changes with shifting of the Altar and others additions to help accommodate the growing Parish Community. Alongside, the role of our Parish community has grown over the years, thanks to the various activities organised by the many organisations making our Parish a very vibrant one.

The Small Christian Communities entry in the early eighties helped make great inroads into their respective neighbourhoods and fostered a closer relationship among people. Increased participation in various activities both at the neighbourhood and parish level has helped our parishioners to understand and reach out to the members in their community, which has made a lot of difference in their lives and