History Of Pangla Parish
Situated 3km east of NH17, Pangla Parish, comprises of villages like Pangala, Kurlkal, Moodubettu, Innanje etc, within the township of Shankerpura that lies between the towns of Katapadi and Shirva. It can be reached via Katpadi 'Shirva road on NH 17 at Katpadi from west and Karkal / Belmann / Shirva road from the east. It is about 8km to the south of temple town Udupi. It is the only church dedicated to Apostle St. John the Evangelist in the diocese of Mangalore.
Surrounded from all four sides by Christians and the numerous institutions, was once an empty wilderness, full of thick bushes and shrubs, a place for thieves and criminals to hide and plan the next move, and an alter for the superstitious, and animal sacrifices to the local deity.
Today this place is abuzz with spiritual activity, thanks for the sacrifices our long departed elders and the members of the clergy without whom this beautiful church would not have been in existence. Prior to 1910, the Catholics of pangla had to take the tired and arduous journey of almost 8 kms by foot or by bullock cart to shirva, in order to fulfill their spiritual obligations and needs.
Moved by the plight of the panaglaites, the then Parish Priest of Shirva late Rev Fr Anthony Gregory Menezes decides to build a small chapel but due to some reason or the other, his wish does not become a reality.
The First Chapel
After the demise of Fr Anthony, Rev Fr Gregory D'Souza took over as the parish priest of Shirva parish. He petitioned the government (then under the British rule) for a grant of land, he was allotted 6.5 acres of land of which a small portion was fenced, and reserved for the cemetery on the northernmost tip of the plot, its where the present cemetery rests. Later a temporary roof made of hay, grass, and bamboo was raised, this shrine dedicated to St Thomas paved the way for Sunday services and other spiritual needs, but soon dreams disintegrated with the fury of nature. Ghastly winds, and heavy downpour, razed the chapel to the ground. Back to square One, the people of pangla had no other way but to treck all the way back to Shirva.
The second chapel
Thinking of a way, come what may, the people of pangla were bent upon a permanent solution, facing numerous hardships. God heeded to their prayers On 18th April 1918, Rev Fr Gregory D'souza laid the foundation for the new chapel, and dedicated to St Sebastian, unfortunately within a year Fr D'souza was transferred.
The new parish priest of shirva Fr Mathew Menezes continued the good work Fr Gregory had started, with a lot of hard work and contribution by the Catholics of pangla, a permanent chapel was raised.
On 22nd November 1922, Most Rev Paul Perini the then bishop of Mangalore, dedicated this chapel to St John the Apostle. A life size statue of the patron saint donated by Bishop Perini, adores the alter till today. Fr Mathew continued to serve the parishioners till April 1924.
The First Chaplain
By a special Decree No-19/25, on April 19th 1925, Rev Fr Hillary Gonsalves was appointed as, The First " Independent temporary Spiritual Administrator" all spiritual transactions were transferred to pangla from shirva, after taking on the administration of the new chapel, and by the approval of the Bishop Rev Victor Fernandes, on 7th November 1933 Fr Gonsalves started the first,
Rev Fr Hillary Gonsalves
Alter Boys Sodality
Sodality Of Our Lady Of Lourdes- for girls
Sodality Of Our Lady Of Lourdes- for men
A Library- to develop a sense of moral and spiritual values.
A prayer group- for the elders
An uprising broke out in March 1934 on the subject of spiritual administration (Goa Verapoly Schism), with the intention to help Fr Gregory , Fr Hillary was transferred to shirva.
The First Parish Priest
Rev Fr Basil Salvadore Peres (later bishop to be of Mangalore) was sent to Pangla as the new chaplain on 14 April 1934. In order to set an example among the non Catholics, on 26th august 1935 Fr Peres laid the foundation for a Grotto and on 8th September the same year celebrated the feast of Nativity. On May 21st 1936 this Grotto was formally consecrated. Later in the afternoon, for amusement and entertainment of the villagers, sports and cultural activities were held. This culture started by Fr Peres is still prevalent today
Rev Fr Basil Salvadore Peres
31st may 1936, a very special date for the parishioners to remember, written in golden letters in the history books of pangla, because on this auspicious day , The Bishop of Mangalore declared Pangla as a full-fledged Parish, and nominated Fr Peres as the first Parish Priest.
The only source of income for the people of pangla was, agriculture during monsoons, and most of the topography being hilly and above sea level, Fr Peres encouraged the people of pangla to cultivate Jasmine flowers, these flowers tied to gather with dried fiber of banana plant are known for their scintillating fragrance, and are a are a common sight at weddings, events and temples everywhere.
To mention about the academic and educational aspects which Fr Peres started, He upgraded the existing Primary school to Higher primary, and was the Head Master from 1940 to 1948. St John's for boys, and Little flower of Jesus for girls, later both schools merged to be called St Johns High School.
1-4-1945 Fr F. P. Concesao came as Asst Parish Priest to pangla, and later was transferred to Nidvalli Parish on 26-11-1946. 29-9-1947 Foundation stone was laid for the new Church by The Bishop of Mangalore. On one sad day on 31st may 1952 Fr Peres bid a tearful farewell to the people of pangla. He was transferred to Bendoor, and Fr S M A Saldanha came as the new Parish Priest to Pangla from Niddodi Parish.
11:05:1953 unforgettable day for the parishioners, on this day the past Parish Priest, Rev Bishop Peres sanctified the present Church, many programmes were held on this day specially welcoming ceremony for the Bishop, tributes to the past Parish Priests, the elders, masons, carpenters and all those who took an active part in building the new church. A garden party, entertainment, and other cultural activities including anniversary of the school were held for almost 3 days. The new Church was built at a cost of approximately Rs 80,000/-