Mangaluru, Jun 28, 2019 : Highlighting the vision of first potential Mangalurean saint of the church and founder of the indigenous Bethany congregation - Servant of God Raymond F C Mascarenhas - a ’Heritage Park’ was inaugurated at Bethany Complex, Bendur in the city on June 28. commencing with the enthronement of the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Mgr Maxim Noronha, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Mangaluru. Mgr Maxim Noronha who conducted the blessings, he appreciated Bethany Sisters for their unique contribution to the society by setting up this park. He encouraged the audience to be the bearers of love, peace and harmony which comes from a pure heart.
Sr Rose Celine, the Superior General inaugurated the Heritage Park replete with memorials spiritual and of practical values. She also unveiled the statue of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Sr Lillis, the Assistant Superior General and mastermind behind this heavenly park in her introductory speech said that the heritage park highlighted the vision, ideals and spirituality of the Servant of God RFC Mascarenhas, the Founder of Bethany Congregation and the Former Vicar General of the Diocese of Mangaluru. She called upon all Mangalureans to recapture these values especially compassionate love that Mgr Raymond translated in to his daily life.
Rev Fr Vincent Monteiro, the Parish Priest of St Sebastian Church, Bendur, opened the scene of Jesus crucified on Calvary. Sr Wilberta, the former Superior General paid homage to the portrait of St. Joseph centrally placed in the garden. Mrs Sabitha Misquith, former area Corporator unveiled the image of the Servant of God RFC Mascarenhas and honured by all present. This was followed by the various key nun leaders inaugurating different pieces of spiritual art and culture in the park. Children present took delight in unveiling the portrait of Jesus with children and posed for a photographs.
The other attractions to the Heritage Park are: Mgr Raymond Museum, Spiritual-Cultural Centre containing the First house of Bethany Congregation, the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, the renovated Chapel built by Mgr Raymond with religious painting, and an underground tunnel. People were urged to visit this gracious spot often and be filled with peace and joy.
About ’Servant of God’ Raymond F C Mascarenhas : Born January 23, 1875, . He was the seventh among the 13 children of Lazarus and Joanna, who were at that time serving officila at Shovamogga. One could perceive that this was an exceptional child, destined for great things. In his education and the seminary which he joined at 16 his record bears proof of his intellectual acumen. He was ordained priest at the age of 25 for the Diocese of Mangalore on March, 1900, at Rosario Cathedral.
A man of vision and holiness, he read the signs of the times and worked tirelessly, for the spiritual welfare of all. His passion for the word of God led him to translate the entire New Testament into Konkani and made it available to the ordinary people. He has authored many other books. He served the Church as parish priest in Udyavar from 1903 to 1910 and Agrar from 1910 to t0 1914, and the newly carved out parish of Bendur for 17 years from 1914 to 1931. As a zealous pastor he worked to meet the spiritual, intellectual and specially material needs of his people. The two church edifices he built at Udyavar and Bendur, and several schools speak volumes about his zeal for welfare of humanity. His service as Vicar General of the Diocese of Mangalore and first Vice President of the Catholic Board of Education is laudable.
Among his pioneering works, his ‘Magnus Opus’ founding in 1921, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany, to serve the cause of the poor and marginalized has won him laurels and has rendered his memory immortal. The Sisters of this Congregation serve in three continents – Asia, Europe and Africa at inumarable centers and communities, working for the uplift of the least and the lost. Having lived a life of holiness, achieved through hard work, suffering an d sacrifice endured for God and above all, his trust and confidence of divine support. He rendered his immortal soul to his Maker on December 23, 1960 at Bendur where his remains and fond memory rest now.