The St. Sebastian Church in Aquem, Goa is called ‘Sao Sebastiao Igreja em Aquem, Goa’ in Portuguese. The St. Sebastian Church, Aquem is also popularly known as ‘The Aquem church’ locally in Goa. The Aquem church originated from the primitive chapel dedicated to St Sebastian. The Aquem chapel was built in the sixteenth century and was popularly known as Punddam kopel. It could be in allusion to the place being allegedly connected with Punna, the famous disciple of Buddha, or with the legendary Pandavas of the Mahabharata, They are believed to have lived in the very ancient caves existing behind the Aquem chapel. Both these stories are a part of a strong oral tradition among locals. The Aquem chapel, which was affiliated to the parish of Navelim, was elevated to the status of the St. Sebastian Church, Aquem parish church on November 3, 2002.
St. Sebastian Church, Aquem has probably got its name as it was the day of the feast of St Sebastian on 29th Feb 1560, when the owner of the land offered it to be used for building the Chapel. The land was owned by one Sebastiao Coelho and so it could be the Chapel got dedicated to St Sebastian. The St Sebastian Chapel in Aquem after being built was managed and maintained by the Aquem Communidade through donations collected from the faithful patrons who worshiped at the chapel.
Fr. Arduino Dias a priest from the coastal village of Velsao was the first non resident priest who preached at the chapel, His tenure was followed by Fr Joao de Piedade Viegas from the coastal village of Carmona. Fr Viegas constructed the side alter in the chapel to Our Lady of the Rosary as well as to St Joseph.
St Sebastian Chapel, Aquem was enlarged in 1916 with the setting up of a big granite cross at the top of the tower. A residence for the priests was built in 1938 followed later by the St Terezinha school for music and elementary studies in 1957.
The Religious Order of women found in the parish of St. Sebastian Church, Aquem, Goa is the Handmaids of Christ. The Handmaids of Christ in Aquem have their office at St Joseph Convent, Aquem Alto, Margao, Goa. They run the St. Joseph’s Convent High School and the St Sebastian School in Aquem. The Catholic Population of St. Sebastian Church, Aquem, Goa Parish is estimated to be around 3700 parishioners.
The Feast of St. Sebastian Church, Aquem, Goa is celebrated on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday every year.