Mangaluru, August 11, 2019: The Annual Feast of St Lawrence Church, Bondel was celebrated with deep devotion and solemnity on August 10, Saturday, Most Rev. Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop of Mangalore led the festal Holy Mass in the forenoon in the church.
Rev. Dr Peter Paul, Bishop of Mangalore began the celebration making a call to the people saying “We have gathered here not only to celebrate the feast but also to pray for suffering people due to rains and floods”. In spite of heavy rains, a huge congregation was accommodated outside the church too, devout participation was the hallmark.
On the occasion in his touching homely, Bishop Peter Paul said that St Lawrence martyred in early times by then Emperor Valerian, was an active member of the primary Catholic Church. His humility and love for the have-nots made him a crusader in church and community. Deacon Lawrence was martyred his good deeds and Catholic faith. But he was not scared of death. He kept his faith in Jesus Christ and the Church. He proclaimed that Catholic Church is of the poor and for the poor. St.Lawrence’s death only gave more strength and power to the old church. In Kanara, this great saint still lives in our hearts and does miracles in our families. He is a model for us. He is the inspiration for social service and teaches us to show mercy and love the poor. The Bishop expressed appreciation for the large hardheartedness of Mangalore Catholics in their duty to the church and fellow men.
Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, bishop of Mangaluru, was the main celebrant. Fr Antony Serra, secretary, Catholic Board of Education, Fr Andrew Leo D’Souza, parish priest, Bondel, Fr Cyril Lobo, assistant parish priest, and Fr Cliford Pinto were the main con-celebrants.
The Novena was well attended from August 1 to August 9 in a run up to the feast. The nine day novena, had two Masses offered at the shrine at 11 am and 6 pm and food was served after the first Mass to the devotees. The special relic of St Lawrence was on display at the church premises for the devotees who continuously thronged the Bondel church.
BRIEF RECAP - St Lawrence Church, Bondel: A parish of the Diocese of Mangalore. It is situated 8 kms away from the the City on the road to Mangaluru International Airport. It is a place of traditional goodness surrounded by Pacchanady, Moodushedde, Marakada, Kavoor and Padavinangadi villages. This parish was established April 10 1923. Though it began small it now serves nearly 1000 families, having 27 wards. This Parish has received the service of 10 parish priests, more than 23 Assistant priests who were able and dynamic. Under their leadership the parish has grown in all ways. Rev. Fr Andrew D’ Souza is the present Parish Priest.
A French missionary priest Rev. Fr Alexander Dubois known as Frad Saib (Then PP of Milagres) visited this place in the year 1873 and seeing the natural beauty of this place he called this place as “Bon valle”, A French term meaning good valley (Konkani: Borem Falkay) and hence this place is popularly known as Bondel.
The church is growing today in all the areas including spirituality, education, business, health, culture etc. It has got several associations like Alter Boys, Catholic Sabha, Choir, ICYM, Legion of Mary, SFO, SVP, and YCS. The parish is surrounded by the religious houses like Missionary Society of Infant Jesus, Sacred Heart Fathers & Brothers of Betharram SCJ, Mary Immaculate Convent, Presentation Convent, Bala Yesu Nilaya Convent, Vijayamari Convent, Jyothi Nivas Convent and Nazareth Niwas. The parish is moving towards progress under the president of the parish pastoral parish able leadership of Rev. Fr Andrew D’ Souza and Parish Pastoral Parishad (PPP) which consists of more than 90 members which is a very strong advisory body of the parish. Late Bishop Rt. Rev Dr Basil D’ Souza hailed from here.
Most of the people here are agriculturists, there are also businessmen, working abroad too. The church is vibrant with youth and the elderly working together to build the community. So it has a long history of around 88 years.