Mangaluru, Dec 01, 2016: The feast celebrations of Pompei shrine, Urwa will be held at the Immaculate Conception Church, Urwa, from December 2 to 11. Addressing media Rev. Stany Pereira, parish priest, said the church celebrates the feast every year on the second Sunday of December. This year, the feast would be celebrated on December 11 with the theme ‘We hear, reflect and live the word of God’
The novena special prayer service would be held for nine consecutive days prior to the feast, from December 2 onwards at 5.15 p.m. followed by mass at 5.45 p.m.
He said the solemn Eucharistic mass will be celebrated on the feast day and Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese Aloysius Paul D’Souza would preside. There would be a public procession in and around Lady Hill and Urwa after the mass. Holy mass would be held at 5.45 a.m., 7.15 a.m., 9 a.m. and 10.15 a.m. on the feast day.
Pompeii Matha Church part of of the historic Immaculate Conception Church has been the divine place for the devotees in Urva and surrounding areas. Matha Maria, the mother of Jesus is called as Pompeii Matha in this form. Hundreds of people visit the holy place every day.
Mangaluru’s Urwa catholic parish & Pompei Matha : Coastal Karnataka’s Churches are known to be ancient and rich in history. The first parish Urwa, born from Rosario was in 1865. It has marked it’s 150th year Jubilee May 1, 2015.
"History of the Diocese of Mangalore” By. Fr.J.Moore SJ. Published 1904. An authoritative Record on the Mangalore Diocese. Pages - 244 & 245, says: "URWA - The suburban church of the Immaculate Conception, Urwa, was begun by Father S Vas, a retired priest who lived in the house of Mr.J M D’Souza. When he began to build a chapel in October 1859, it was intended for a School, but it was later on turned into a church and blessed as such on July 10, 1864. It was regarded as a chapel of ease of Rosario Church, and Mass was celebrated there on Sundays. From May 1865 to August 1866, it had a resident priest and in September was erected into a separate parish with Father Vas as its Vicar. He ruled until his death, February 8, 1874. In 1891 the handsome new church was begun, quite close to the old one and a neat parochial house was added, to which the Vicar contributed Rs.500. Father Balthazar Rebello was Vicar from 1874 till his death, January 1896. Father A J D’Souza was then Vicar for short time till he was succeeded in the same year by Father Antony Goveas, who remained till his promotion to Milagres , May 31, 1901. Father Camillus Rego has been Vicar since that date. The Catholic population (1903) is 1686. A primary school close to the church is frequented by 105 boys and 14 girls.”
Rev. Fr. A. J. D’Souza served as the Vicar of this parish from 1915 to 1930 was instrumental in introducing the devotion to Our Lady of Pompei. He brought the pictures from Pompei and it was enshrined on a side altar. Thus Urwa became a place of pilgrimage for a large number of devotees from every nook and corner of Mangalore. Even though this church is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, quite often, people refer to it as “Pompei Church”. The annual feast of Our Lady of Pompei is celebrated with due pomp and solemnity in the month December, and throngs of devotees, from far and near, irrespective caste and creed, come with great devotion to participate in the celebration. In 1971 the northern area named ’Ashoknagar" became independent, as St.Dominic parish under the Dominican order. The popular historic spot ‘Sulthan batherry’, on the banks of the river Gupura is not far from this church. The large church edifice now seen was constructed by Late Fr John D’Souza (who recently passed away in a road accident), it’s architect being T J Lobo, it was inaugurated on May 1, 1991. Presently, it is estimated consists of around 635 families, with a total of not less than 2,300 parishioners. As a monument to the 150 year Jubilee, a majestic ’Belfry’ with new bell and ’Grotto’ is erected.
Our Lady of Pompeii : Rev. Fr. A. J. D’Souza who served as the Vicar of this parish from 1915 to 1930 was instrumental in introducing the devotion to Our Lady of Pompeii. He brought the pictures of Pompeii from Rome and it was enshrined on a side altar. ThusUrwa became a place of pilgrimage for a large number of devotees from every nook and corner of Mangalore. Fr. D’Souza also started a monthly magazine, “The Trumpet Call” which won him appreciation from the Vatican it self. It must be mentioned here that even though this church is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, quite often, people refer to it as “Pompeii Church”.