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Our History

Our History

On Nov. 26, 1880, in Udupi, a chapel for Mother of Sorrows was inaugurated. His Lordship N. Pagani, the then Bishop of Mangalore, issued a decree in 1880 establishing the independent Udupi Parish, appointing Fr. J. N. Masse as the first Parish Priest. Fr. Casmir Fernandes built a small Church, blessed and inaugurated by Bishop Perini on Feb. 8, 1918. From the Udupi Parish emerged two parishes: Christ King Church in Manipal and Stella Maris Church in Kalmady (Malpe).

Udupi District was under the territorial and ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Diocese of Mangalore since 1887. By a Papal edict dated 16 July 2012 from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the revenue territory of the District of Udupi was separated from the domain of the Diocese of Mangalore, and was erected as the new Diocese of Udupi, making it a suffragan to the Archdiocese of Bangalore. Most Rev. Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo took the canonical possession of the Diocese of Udupi on 15 October 2012 as its first Bishop. As a result, Mother of Sorrows Church, Udupi, hitherto under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Mangalore, came under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Udupi.

The historical documents show that Udupi was originally a part of Mount Rosary Church, Kallianpur. In the year 1879, the Tahsildar, Nicholas Britto, along with Jacob Alva and Philip Fernandes, presented a memorandum to Monsignor Nicholas Pagani SJ, the first Vicar Apostolic of Mangalore, through Fr Albert D’Souza, the then Vicar of Mount Rosary Church, Kallianpur, requesting the erection of a church for the people of Udupi, and parts of Malpe and Udyavara, which were then belonging to the Mount Rosary Church, Kallianpur. The permission having been granted, a site of 1.52 acre in Moodanidambur village, where the present church is located, was purchased on 15 January 1880. On this site a chapel was built and dedicated to Our Lady of Dolours (Mother of Sorrows) by Msgr Nicholas Pagani SJ by a decree dated 26 November 1880. It was served by Fr Albert D’Souza, vicar of Mount Rosary Church, Kallianpur.

In 1890 Bishop Nicholas Pagani SJ issued a decree converting the chapel into an independent Parish with the boundaries as North – from Parkala–Perampally Road via Manipal, East – Alevoor River, South – 76 Badagabettu, Bailoor water stream and West – Kalmadi River, and appointed Fr J.N Masse as its first Parish Priest. It was served from Kallianpur till 1902, until Fr D R Goveas (1902-1903) came as the first resident Parish Priest. He was succeeded by Fr R C Mascarenhas (1903-1904), Fr J M Vas (1904-1905), Fr B S Furtado (1905-1910), Fr M P Colaco (1910), Fr P S D’Souza (1910-1912) and Fr J P Fernandes (1912-1913). At that time the Catholic population of the parish was around 1,016.

In the year 1913 Fr Casimir Menezes took charge as the Parish Priest of the church. During his tenure of 19 years (1913-1932) he undertook the construction of the new church building on 14 December 1913. It was blessed by Bishop Paul Perini, SJ on 8 February 1918. Fr Denis Sequeira who served the parish for 9 years (1932-1941) had a new altar of teakwood made and carried out several improvements. He started St Mary’s Primary School in 1940 which was upgraded into the Higher Primary School in 1962. Fr Alexander B Pinto (1941-1953) erected an open-air stage and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. Fr A. J D’Silva (1953-1955), Fr Joseph M Lobo (1955-1957) and Fr Alphonsus Sequeira (1957) served as parish priests. Fr Gaulbert Noronha (1957-1969) built the Don Bosco Hall and the L-shaped Shopping Complex, while Fr Sylvester D’Souza, the then Chaplain of St Cecily’s Convent, assisted him and founded a Youth Club named Don Bosco Club during his tenure.

Fr E A Castelino (1969-1975) was succeeded by Fr J Emmanuel D’Souza (1975-1979) who prepared a 5-year plan in view of the Centenary celebration which was due on 26 November 1980, to erect a befitting memorial, and launched the project on 16 February 1975. However, due to his ill-health, he was replaced by Fr Jacob S Crasta (1979-1980).

Fr J P Tauro (1980-1988), took charge of the parish on 4 June 1980. Soon after his arrival, the parish began to buzz with several activities. The various church organizations were revitalized. The church celebrated its Centenary in 1980.The foundation for the new church building was laid by Bishop Basil S D’Souza on 24 November 1980. Fr J.P. Tauro constructed the new diamond-shaped church which was blessed by Bishop Basil S D’Souza on 17 May 1984. The inauguration of the church was held with great pomp and jubilation. The sanctuary/crucifix, a piece of art, was the work of Raymond Alvares of Bondel.

It was during his tenure various associations like St Vincent de Paul Society, Franciscan Third Order, Legion of Mary, Altar Boys, Catholic Youth Movement, Don Bosco Club, Catholic Sabha and the educational institutions like St Mary’s English and Kannada Medium Schools and St Mary’s ITI were established.

In order to provide financial stability to Mother of Sorrows Church, Fr. J P Tauro started the Udupi Super Bazar which has been yielding regular income to the church which is used for the benefit of the parish with a certain amount set aside for charity and the poor.

Fr Peter S Noronha (1988-1995) succeeded Fr. J P Tauro. He built the parochial house and added a building block to ITI. Fr Peter T D’Souza (1995-1997) was succeeded by Fr Antony M Shera (1997-2004) who was instrumental in putting up the Christa Jyothi and Divya Jyothi buildings which yield good revenue to the parish.
Fr Mathew Vas (2004-2011) worked hard for the good of the parish and purchased 9.16 acres of land at Kannarpady in order to shift St Mary’s English Medium School from the church compound to a spacious location.

Fr Frederick Mascarenhas (2011-2017) served this parish with great zeal for the spiritual and ecclesiastical benefit of the parish. During his time St Mary’s English Medium High School obtained CBSE affiliation in 2013 and Secondary School CBSE affiliation in 2016, along with two more floors for the school building. He also built the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in 2013. He was instrumental in settling the longstanding dispute of JMJ Hospital. Fr Valerian Mendonca (2017-2020) renovated the church and cemetery and revitalized the life of the parish with his love for music and liturgy. Fr Charles Menezes succeeded him in 2020 and continued to serve the parish till June 2021. He was instrumental in implementing the water-conservation project and revamping St Mary’s ITI.

Since 1980 several assistant priests have offered their selfless and zealous service to the parish. In the meantime, Manipal and Kalmady parishes were erected from the mother church of Udupi in 1968 and 1991 respectively. Through the guidance of the successive Diocesan Bishops, and with the sacrifice, cooperation and benevolence of the parishioners, the parish bears monumental testimony in pursuing the goal, aims and objectives in the overall development of the parish, making it one of the self-sufficient and progressive parishes of the Diocese.