St. Patrick’s Church in Kolkata celebrated its bi-centenary of it s foundation, at Dum Dum on February 5.
The event started with a Eucharistic celebration led by Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Nuncio and Ambassador to India.
Archbishop Girelli was accompanied by Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Kolkata Archdiocese and Bishop Shyamal Bose of Baruipur diocese and 25 priests.
Pope Francis sent his Apostolic Blessings on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the foundation of St. Patrick’s Church.
In his message, the Apostolic Nuncio pointed out that “living a Christian life is more relevant (today) than before as there is so much disharmony around us.”
“As salt dissipates to give taste to the food and light dispels the darkness, so must our lives be lived out for others,” he said.
Archbishop Thomas D’ Souza urged the parishioners to be actively involved in the Church and to be faithful to the liturgy and to make efforts to improve their prayer life.
Dr. Utpal Goswami, Parish Pastoral Council Secretary, presented the history of the church, saying that “Christianity has been present in Bengal since the 16th century.”
“The Portuguese built the Bandel Minor Basilica in 1599, perhaps the first church in West Bengal,” he said. In 1783, the East India Company established the Head Office of its armory in Dum Dum
On 9 February 1822, the foundation stone was blessed and laid for St. Patrick’s Chapel. On Good Friday in 1823, the chapel was dedicated and inaugurated with Irish priest M. Murphy as its chaplain.
The year-long celebration was organized under the leadership of Father Irudaya Raj Santhanam, the Parish Priest. He erected a Belfry to usher in the Bi-Centenary Year, which chimed for the first time on 6th February 2022.
Religious dignitaries and lay people attended the event, which had an ecumenical touch with the presence of the Pastor of St. Stephen’s Church, CNI, and Sanjay Nath, Pastor of AG Church. Dum Dum Municipality Chairman, Mr. Harinder Singh, was also present.
Harinder Singh, one of the attendees, said, “Our Bengali people of all religions live in peace and harmony.”
He invoked God’s blessings that “no divisive force should enter to divide humanity on the basis of religion and caste.”
The celebration concluded with a cultural program that carried a theme based on the Encyclical of Pope Francis, ‘Laudato Si’, which emphasized the care of the Common Home. - RVA, Bengali service.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.