4th centenary celebration of the Merces Church
4th Centenary celebration of the Merces Church
The Our Lady of Merces Church, Merces will be celebrating its 4th centenary, the celebrations for which started on September 24th and will conclude on December 29th with the Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao presiding over the Eucharistic celebration followed by the felicitation of the priests nuns and church staff of the village.
Speaking at a news conference in the Church hall, Parish Priest Fr Jose Caetano Costa explained that the Merces Church was originally established as a chapel by the Dominicans in 1600 and was under the Santa Cruz Church.
Later the chapel was re constructed and elevated as a separate parish church in 1613, with Our Lady of Merces as the patroness, Fr Costa informed and added that it was further extended with the merger of the Santa Barbara Church with the Merces parish in 1885.
Fr Costa said the theme chosen for the celebration is ” Somuday, Bhavartache Yatrek Uzvadd ( Small Christian Communities brightens our Faith journey). Outlining the importance of the theme, Fr Costa said it is chose keeping in mind the call of the Pope ‘Year of Faith’ at the diocesan level and the upcoming SCC National Convention and the local level, the handed down faith deposit.
Speaking about the church, Fr Costa said the main altar is dedicated to our lady of Merces also there are three side altars dedicated to Mother Mary. He informed while adding that a unique carving is placed in the sacristy, depicting the role of the trinity in the history of salvation.
The altars are faith reflections of the artist and help us meditate on the life of Christ and inspire us to walk the narrow path, the path of truth justice and love.
Assistant Parish Priest Fr Clifford Castellino informed that they have a record of 35 priests who were ordained from the village from 1768. Of these today there are 19 priests who are still serving in different parts, he stated while adding that one priest from the parish even went on to become the bishop of Karwar and Belgaum.
Some of the priests will be coming for concluding ceremony along with nine nuns from the village. One the celebrations planned by the parish, he said the programs are designed to help spread the message of the church through teaching ministry, healing ministry, ministry of the marginalized and the enterprising ministry.