ST.RITA CHURCH CASCIA AT ITS 75th YEAR
St Rita of Cascia is the Saint of the Impossible.Once the part of the Cathedral parish, Cascia chaplaincy was formed by the decree of Bishop Victor R. Fernandes on March 1, 1935 by separating the some of the eastern areas of Cathedral parish and from Jeppu and Bappal. It was named Jeppu-Bappal chaplaincy.The first mass was offered by Msgr J.L.A. D’Souza in a rented house on June 1, 1935.Fr Francis Xavier Fernandes was the founder chaplain.He christened the church Cascia, after the place in Italy of the patron saint St Rita.During his time (1935-1968) the new church building, the belfry, the presbytery, the parish hall, the marble Altar, and the portico were constructed.
Bishop Victor R. Fernandes canonically constituted Cascia into a parish on February 3, 1947 with Fr F.X. Fernandes as the first parish priest. The 8 feet tall statue of St Rita was brought from Italy and donated to the church by Mr.Alex Pais. Fr Francis Xavier Fernandes built the belfry and installed three bells brought from Italy.
The parish of Cascia, Mangalore (near Morgan Gate) dedicated to St. Rita, came into existence in 1935, bringing together several households of Rosario, Bajal Jeppu and Bappal areas. Its first parish priest was Rev Mgr. F. X. Fernandes, the then asst. priest of Rosario Cathedral. St. Rita (of Cascia, Italy) is known to be the “saint of the impossible” and true to this adage, Fr. Fernandes put his faith in God and St. Rita and ventured into acquiring the land, raising a church building, a magnificent altar made of marble and wood, parochial house, bell ower, parish hall, Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, nursery school establishing the St. Rita girls; school and Cascia High School.
Earlier the new parish was named as ‘Jeppu Bappal’; however, Fr.Fernandes changed it to “Cascia Parish” for obvious reason. Rita was born in Umbria (Italy) but was baptized in the nearby Cascia church hence she came to be known as Rita of Cascia. She wanted to become a nun but much against her wish, she had to get married; she bore two sons. however, her husband and both the grown-up sons died under tragic circumstances and Rita miraculously joined the convent. Due to her most pious and dedicated life, miracles took place during her lifetime itself. About 110 years ago, she was declared Saint.
Fr. F. X Fernandes retired after serving the parish for 34 long years and was conferred the title “Monsignor” in recognition of his dedicated service to the people of Cascia. He died on 23-6-1969 and was interred in the church he assiduously built.
Then came the priest in his place such as Rev Frs. A j D’Silva, John Menezes, J J Saldanha, Robert Pinto, Aloysius Paul DSouza (the present bishop), Denis D’Souza, Cyril D’Souza and the incumbent Vincent Victor Menezes (formerly the editor of the Diocesan Konkani Weekly RAKNNO). The work of Fr. A P DSouza was absolutely praiseworthy in that he gave priority to the spiritual needs of his flock.
Cascia is now in the 75th year of its existence. In memory of this occasion the church is repaired and renovated and will be blessed and inaugurated on 6 Dec 2009 at 10am by the Bishop, who will be the main celebrant of the Holy Mass to be offered thereafter. The Bishop, who will be the main celebrant of the Holy Mass to be offered thereafter. The Bishop himself serverd this parish for 7 years as Vicar! (1985 – 1992). Financial help from the parishioners and devotees came continuously to carry out the renovation works. Now the Vicar Fr. Vincent V Menezes and the parishioners are eagerly awaiting the D-day to enter the renovated church to offer their thanks to God and St. Rita.
CHURCH OF ST RITA
Cascia, Mangalore – 575 001
TELEPHONE : 241 5702
LOCATION: This church is situated at a distance of 4 kms from the diocesean headquarters, Mangalore and is surrounded by Bajal, Rosario Cathedral, and Permannur parishes.
PARISH PRIEST : Rev. Fr Cyril D’Souza
RESIDENT: Rev. Fr Peter Fernandes (Diocesan Estates Manager)
CATHOLIC POPULATION :Total : 1,658 Male : 830 Female : 828
CATHOLIC FAMILIES: 320
PARISH WARDS: 8
PARISH NEWSLETTER : Casciacho Gulob (Bi-monthly)
Fr A.P. D’Souza the present Bishop of Mangalore had served this parish as the Vicar for 7 years (1988-1995) and he constructed a chapel in the cemetery. During the time of Fr Denis D’Souza the parish celebrated its golden jubilee and the centenary of the sainthood of St Rita. The present presbytery was built by Fr Denis D’Souza. Bishop William D’Mello, presently the Bishop of Karwar hails from this parish.
Fr F.X. Fernandes established two schools, Cascia High School and St Ritas Girls’ School. St John’s School was brought under the control of the parish. He constructed a new building for St John’s School. The English Medium School was started later.
Fr Cyril D’Souza is the 8th parish priest of Cascia.