Sacred Heart Church Andheri East


Mumbai, Maharashtra, India


Mahakali Road
Andheri East
Mumbai Maharashtra, India


06:30 a.m. (English)
07:30 a.m. (Konkani)
08:45 a.m. (English)
10:00 a.m. (Children)
10:00 a.m. (Hall)
04:15 p.m. (Hindi)
05:30 p.m. (English)

The history of Sacred Heart Parish, Andheri East is full of events, struggles, and achievements from its conception till date. Today, we can proudly say that it is one of the best and vibrant parishes in the Archdiocese of Bombay, in all spheres.

Our Parish was conceptualised on June 21, 1987 by the Archdiocese of Bombay, and entrusted to the pastoral care of The Society of Divine Word [Societas Verbi Divini (SVD)] Fathers. Prior to June 1987, many of the parishioners were members of Holy Family Parish, our Mother Church and in fact till recently, we were allowed to use the cemetery as a final resting place for our deceased. The parish today is contained within the boundaries of the new parish unit, the Sacred Heart Chapel, proposed by Fr. Frederick Sopena S.J. in his communication dated 14.12.1982 to the Episcopal Vicar of the Holy Cross Church, Kurla.

The very idea of Sacred Heart Church in our area emerged out of a decision taken in 1979 by the erstwhile Parish Priest of Holy Family Church, Fr. Frederick Sopena S.J. He gave up his position as parish priest and moved into a chawl in Achanak Colony to cater to the pastoral needs of the parishioners staying there. A part of his residence in the chawl was converted into the Sacred Heart Chapel where Holy Mass was celebrated on June 1, 1979 for the first time. This can be treated as the real beginning of our Parish, although then it was only a chapel of the Holy Family Church.

During the late fifties, Fr. George Proksch SVD (Guru Gyan Prakash) came down to Bombay and tried to set up an ashram in this area. Impressed by the richness of Indian culture he decided to totally identify himself with India even to the extent of Indianising his name. He set up the Gyan Ashram in 1958 on a piece of land purchased on the hillock by the side of the present church building complex. He continued his efforts to acquire more land to fulfill the vision he had. Meanwhile the Hindi Sanskriti Sangam Trust was registered on 1.9.1955 and in 1962, another Charitable Public Trust was registered under the name All India Soverdia Sangam. Through these trusts, and organizations like Gyan Ashram, The Institute of Indian culture etc. constituted under them, various activities were undertaken by the SVDs in the area, and the city of Mumbai. These activities gave tremendous impetus to other Catholic Institutions and various other religious orders to move into this area. As a result, Carmel Monastery, Home for the Aged, Holy Spirit Hospital, Dominic Savio Boy's home, Cheshire Home, Canossa Convent etc. were established in the area. Gradually the number of catholic families settling down in this area began to increase.

Towards the late seventies, spilling into the early eighties, more and more housing colonies like Gracious, Takshila, Sher-E-Punjab, MHADA, Poonam Nagar, Namaskaar and Greenfields at the farthest end came up and middle class and even upper middle class families began to move in. Among them were many catholic families. Fr. Sopena's foresight to set up the Sacred Heart chapel at Mahakali Caves Road stood in good stead to meet the religious and pastoral needs of all the Catholics who had moved into the area. In true spirit of the IInd Vatican Council, Fr. Sopena encouraged participation of laity in the affairs of the Parish to the fullest extent. Fr. Fredrick Sopena led the people by his own example, and he can truly be called the founding Father of Sacred Heart Parish, Andheri East.

With so many activities, the need for land and a proper church building thereon became very urgent. The SVD congregation by 1985 showed interest in taking over the parish in this area, and the Bombay province of the Society of Jesus, who was taking care of the pastoral needs, wrote to the SVD provincial in a letter dated Oct 21, 1985 expressing happiness over the development. On September 7, 1986 it was officially made known to the parish council of Sacred Heart chapel that the Archdiocese of Bombay would constitute a separate Parish, to be under the pastoral care of the SVD Fathers at Gyan Ashram campus. It was on June 21, 1987 that Sacred Heart parish was born at a concelebrated mass held at Canossa Basement Hall. The main celebrant of the mass was Bishop Ferdinand Fonseca. While the Bishop announced the birth of the parish, Fr. Joseph Panthalathy, the then Provincial superior of the Southern India province of SVD, announced that one acre land of SVD will be earmarked for the use the Parish.

Fr. Joseph Lopez, the first Parish Priest together with two young trainee priests, Fr. Augustine Rodrigues and Fr. Joseph Kalanchira. deputed to the parish for one year began their work of setting up the new parish office. The parish Fathers and parishioners of Sacred Heart acquired a place which was once a poultry shed. With generous donations from the SVD Provincial and from parishioners, well-wishers and friends, the necessary changes including re-wiring, painting etc, of the structure was