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The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Bandra is a Roman Catholic church in Bandra, Mumbai. It was built in 1894 by Jesuit Missionaries. As the catholic population in Bandra increased in the latter half of the 20th century, a new modern structure was constructed in its place. The new church was blessed and inaugurated on 11 February 1981 by Archbishop Simon Pimenta, Archbishop of Bombay.
The authorities of St Andrew Church and Mount Mary Chapel in Bandra provided land for the erection of the church in 1894 to cater to the 215 families living in the present Chapel Road and Bazaar Road areas that were separated in 1891 from the St Peter Church (then under the Propaganda Jurisdiction) with the permission of the Holy See (Rome). The church was built on the banks of the Mahim creek opposite the ‘Customs House’ which still exists today in front of the church, although the creek was reclaimed to form the current Bandra Reclamation locality. The foundation stone was laid on 7 February 1892 by Antonio Pedro Da Costa, Bishop Of Daman, who also blessed the completed church on 1 June 1894. Fr Pio Ellias Saldanha was the first Parish Priest of the church. The need for a new and larger church was felt in the 1960s as more Catholics had moved into the area and in 1975 Cardinal Valerian Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, laid the foundation stone of the new church building.
Some boundaries of Mt. Carmel’s parish, were lined with sandy shores,
Lapped by the friendly waters, hard by the adjoining sea;
And menfolk from these areas, toiled in the waters of the azure deep,
Setting sail ‘midst breezes cool or whistling winds o’er troubled waters,
Unmindful of the weather, to reap the riches of the roaring sea.
And this the elders sustained their families living on Nature’s bounty,
Pursuing a hereditary profession with native talent and ardent seal,
And there was a peace and love amongst them, and all lived in harmony.
Some years before this time, Bandra saw the origin of double jurisdiction of Padroada and
St Andrew’s Church at this point of time was under Padroada jurisdiction,
But some of its dissatisfied parishioners left St Andrew’s in 1849, for Propaganda jurisdiction.
Building a temporary chapel of bamboos thatched with coconut leaves in Koliwada
Was “the beginning of St. Peter’s Church and the double jurisdiction in Bandra”.
Simple, humble, rustic folks under St. Peter’s pastoral care
They lived in obedience to Church authority.
But somehow in course of time, it came to pass
A controversy crept ‘tween them and the hierarchy,
As to the possession and safekeeping of the insignia,
A symbol of the local clan and a totem of the Confraternity.
A grim situation thus arose - other factors too strengthened the big divide,
So with heated head and tempers frayed,
And ire increasing with each passing day,
The gulf grew wider,.. and wider,.. and wider,…….
Hectic efforts were then see on the horizon,
To reconcile both sides and repair the damage done,
So, reconciliation did come through Fr. Dalhoff’s, the Administrator Apostolic
But separation from Propaganda jurisdiction was still problematic.
The Holy See defused the situation by granting the Separation
At the instance of Msgr. Andrea Agati – the Delegate Apostolic
From 1 st June 1988, till the end of May 1991
From 1 st of June 1991, Fr. Brian E Fernandes is in the saddle till this day,
Poised to celebrate Mr. Carmel’s Centenary in a many splendored way,
The Centenary has opened wisely and well, on the 18 th of July 1993
The Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, with a concelebrated High Mass
By Bishop Ferdinand Fonseca of Bombay, being the Chief Celebrant
Who propounding the theme of the Centenary Year in his homily
Emphasized strongly that we should live as one family
And build the parish into a loving, caring and sharing family.
Fr. Brian, the Vicar and his co-operative team has already begun
To labour in this direction, leaving no stone unturned.
Time and again they have strongly brought to the fore
“Building a Christ-centered Community”, as the theme of the Centenary Year.
And while we labour today to build a Christ-centered Community,
Let us not forget the 215 families of the Original Community
Who labored hard by their sweat and toil to build the Church,
Whose Centenary Year with fervor we are celebrating as such.
To trace as many of the descendants living today
And felicitate them in a loving and befitting way.