History of St. Jude’s Shrine & Church, Pakshikere

On the northern outskirts of the city of Mangalore is a small village called Pakshikere, which is endowed with the natural beauty. It is about 25kms... from Mangalore city. There is a place called Haleangady on Mangalore- Udupi highway NH-17. From Haleangadi 3 k.m to the east is situated the place- Pakshikere. It is still covered with forests. Its natural beauty is enriched with the multicolored and chirping birds. Even the national bird, the peacock is a constant sight here which fills one’s heart with joy. The “Pakshies” (birds) are plenty but an adequate ‘kere’ [pond] is almost missing except in the rainy season. Pakshikere belongs to Thokur village of Kemral Panchayat. This unknown and unheard village has become a popular Christian pilgrim centre within fifty years. It is well connected by roads and easily accessible with public transport from Mangalore & Kinnigoli.

About fifty years back there were only a few Christian families in Pakshikere and they were part of Kinnigoli parish. At that time, Rev. Fr. Jacob Lobo who had served as a secretary to the bishop was the parish priest of Kinnigoli Church. He was a man of vision and had the capacity to fulfill it. Prayer and devotion to Mary were his main strengths to accomplish his dreams. He saw the spiritual needs of these families of Pakshikere who were suffering on account of long distance to Kinnigoli. So in 1957 he thought of building a small Chapel there. But there was no place to build it. Then Mrs. Elise Miranda came forward and donated 3.5acres of land for the church. The plot was a hillock. In that plot he laid the foundation for a Chapel on 22-10-1959. He also dug a well and constructed a small presbytery at the cost of Rs. 15,000/-. Within a year construction got over. It was inaugurated by Rt. Rev. Dr. Raymond D’mello, the bishop of Mangalore on 28-10-1960. This was the beginning of St. Jude’s Shrine. At that time the place was full of forests and secluded. No transport was available. Travel was only on foot. However people were zealous to attend the religious services. For four years this chapel was served from Kinnigoli by Rev. Jacob Lobo and his assistants Rev. Clifford D’souza and later Rev. Simon D’souza.

Later seeing the zeal and growth of faith of the people Bishop Raymond D’mello by his decree dated 20th April 1964, erected Pakshikere as the new parish on 11-5-1964 and appointed Rev. Stanislaus R. Pereira as the first parish priest and director of the shrine.

Fr. Stanislaus R. Pereira was a fearless, prayerful and very pious man with lots of plans for the future of the shrine. In the year 1968 he started to construct a new beautiful church. The construction got over within a year. The inauguration and blessings of the new church took place on the feast of St. Jude (28-10-1969). It was presided over by Rt. Rev. Basil D’souza, the bishop of Mangalore. (The present church is the same one but renovated by Rev. Fr. Alban D’souza in 2005). He started a Kannada medium school for the education of local students in 1965 and thereby promoted the literacy in the area.  He planted coconut plants, dug wells, built water tanks, etc... and constructed compound wall around 10 acres of church property.  In 1971, he constructed a new parish hall.

With the help of the “Food for work” programme he built houses for poor, sank the wells and constructed the roads etc. Because of his efforts, bus service was introduced. He joined hands with Rev. Fr. Edwin Pinto to start RUSEMP, the nonformula technical training school.

For spiritual needs he started pious associations in the parish. Devotion to St. Jude was popularized and pilgrims began to throng to the shrine from near and far.His exorcism was well-known across Mangalore Diocese. Certainly this pioneer was the “Architect of Pakshikere”. He was transferred on 25-5-1973.

Rev. Fr. Mark D’sa: (1973 -1978)
He was a pious man. During his time the number of students increased and therefore the school building was expanded. He gave more attention & love to youth and children. Through “Food for work” programme he constructed 20 more houses and dug a few wells.

Rev. Fr. Aloysius Alvares: (1978 – 1979)
He was made Parish Priest for a year when he was Principal of Pompei Junior College & High school, Kirem. He started SVP (Society of St.Vincent Paul) to help the poor. He repaired the school and other buildings. The church compound was clean and was looking pleasant with a beautiful garden during his time.

Rev. Fr. Andrew Lewis: (1979 – 1986)
He was a calm and peaceful priest. He was always available for the needs of the people. He put all his efforts to popularize the devotion of St. Jude. He kept all the associations alive and active, by conducting cultural programmes now and then. He also did some construction works and repaired the church ceiling. The approaching road to the church was widened. He encouraged people to partake in political elections, by organizing the awareness programmes. During his time there were two ordinations held in this parish: Fr. Victor Jerald D’souza was the first Priest and the second priest was Fr. Victor David Miranda.

Rev. Fr. Raphael D’silva: (1987 – 1990)
He was known as a bold priest. Even at the age of 72, he actively served the parish and tried his best to keep parish life alive and active. During his time he took extra efforts to reconcile the families who were not in good terms with each other. He was extremely successful in this effort. The Vijaya Bank building was built by him with loans from that very bank and repaid it within 8 years. Now it is a source of income to the church.

Rev. Fr. Raymond C. Moras : (1990 – 1995)
He was a very simple, humble and disciplined priest. He served the church quietly. He demolished old dilapidated building of the school and built six new rooms. He acquired six acres of land to the church from the government. During his time initial work of introducing the SCCs was done. Dominican Sisters started a community at his time in Pakshikere in 1991. They have a novitiate and a house for poor girl students.

Rev. Fr. Charles Noronha: (1995 – 1997)
He was a man of prayer and simplicity. Within a year he could do a lot of service to the church. Through his service, he tried his best to bring new awakening in the society. With the help of C.O.D.P., he started Housing scheme. For this he chose twenty poorest of the poor families, and built houses for them.

Rev. Fr. Elias D’souza: (1995 – 1997)
He was a simple and holy priest. Within two years he accomplished the works which would take five years. He repaired all the damaged buildings. The church hall was made available for public for rent. Three more rooms were constructed to the building that houses the bank; Church compound wall was built; the ceiling fans and decorative lights were installed in the church. He introduced SCCs in all the wards. Charismatic preacher like Rev. Francis Rebello was invited and charismatic retreat was held. Parish bulletin “Yathrik” was started. He started the lay association called “Catholic Sabha”. With the help of Fr. Mullers Hospital, regular homeopathy medical camp was organized for poor patients of the society.

Rev. Fr. Basil Vas: (1997 – 2004)
He was an energetic priest with multi dimensional interests. Though short in stature, he commanded respect from both christians and non christians of the locality. His tenure of seven years revived the former glory of Pakshikere.

His achievements: Rev. Basil was a charismatic preacher. He started one day retreats on Fridays. An hour of adoration was added to Tuesday novenas. He popularized the devotion to St. Jude. Pilgrims were provided with counseling, special prayer for the sick, free meals etc.  As a result number of pilgrims increased.

The SCCs in the wards, and other church associations were rejuvenated.  New compound wall was constructed. A beautiful grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes was constructed by him. So also an underground Adoration Chapel was built for the casual visitors to the church. The feast of St. Jude in October came to be a week long celebration during his time with various programmes.

He has improved the infrastructures related to the shrine and church. All the amenities of a full pledged shrine were established by him. A few animals reared in the church compound added further attraction to the visitors.

He would organize various training programmes and inter-religious programmes in the locality and was admired by all. His effort to help the alcoholics was commendable. He started A.A.A (Alcoholics Anonymous Association) and de-addiction programmes during lent. Thus many could give up the evil of alcoholism.

He put up a new school building with compound wall. Present presbytery was built by him. While being the parish priest and director of the shrine he was also the director of RUSEMP. The computer center was added to RUSEMP during his time.

One can say that during his time past glory of Pakshikere was revived and people held him in high esteem as “great philanthropist” (‘Samaja seveya harikaara’). When he was transferred to Bela, even non- christians also went to bid him farewell.

Rev. Fr. Alban D’souza: He arrived on 15th May 2004. On that very day the parishioners were attracted by this gentle and kind young priest who came from Cascia.

Fr. Alban is a charismatic preacher. His homilies fascinate the people. The gift of preaching is accompamied with approachability make the people feel at home and they go to him day and night. He spends long hours listening to their problems, worries. His counseling as well as prayers attract the people from near and far.
Fr. Alban began his ministry at Pakshikere by undertaking many repair and developmental works like bathrooms, compound wall, renovation works, leveling the ground etc. The church needed a face lift and other repairs. This was undertaken in 2005 and was completed at the cost of Rs. 43 lakhs.

Lot of pilgrims come to Pakshikere from different places seeking spiritual solace and they had to be accommodated but there were no facilities. Moreover a boarding house was required for the poor children who were looked after by the church. Keeping these both intentions in mind, a beautiful new building “Ashraya” was constructed in the year 2008. It has a mini hall as well. It cost Rs. 50 lakhs.

Agriculture was also given due attention and now it yields well. There is sufficient water now.

Parish life during these years is rejuvenated because of small Christian communities. The Parish Priest and Assistant Priest take active part in the SCCs. So also all the associations of the parish are functioning well. Now girls are also allowed in the Altar Servers Sodality. Christian Mothers Sodality has made way to Secular Franciscan (Tertiary) Order. (SFO)

The parish priest – Rev. Fr. Alban takes up retreats not only in the diocese but also in far away places like Bombay and even in Israel where Mangalorean Konkani Catholics work. The annual celebration of the feast of the patron is made meaningful with other celebrations like inter-religious get together, blood donation, voluntary service at public places etc. The community wedding which was started recently during annual feast is appreciated by many. So far 36 (thirty six) couples have benefited from this unique venture.

The bimonthly night long vigil attracts the devotees. The various services available in the shrine need the presence of priests. Therefore Bishop sent Rev. Fr. J. Martis, a retired priest as Socius during 2006-2008. He was rendering his services at the Holy Eucharist and confessional. In 2007, Fr. Sunil Veigas arrived, as an assistant Parish Priest and was active in the parish ministry for two years. When he was transferred to Tallur as Parish Priest in 2009, Fr. Anil Joel D’souza took his place and is serving the parish diligently.

It must be mentioned that in April 2009, the Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Alban D’souza celebrated the decennial of his priestly ordination. The Parish rejoiced at this occasion and thanked God for his person. The Parish bulletin “Yathrik” brought out a special issue on this occasion.

The golden jubilee year (2010): The Chapel and the Shrine of Pakshikere which was started in 1960, has grown into a full pledged diocesan shrine and satisfies the spiritual hunger of pilgrims. The Patron Saint, St. Jude Thaddeus who is known as the saint of the impossible, attracts hundreds and thousands of pilgrims from all over. All those who come to him go back contended.

The jubilee year was inaugurated on 28th Oct 2009 on the feast day of the patron by Bishop A.P. D’souza. A year long programmes have been planned and implemented. Each section of the parishioners (Children, youth, women, aged etc) is given attention. Bible quiz is held every month. An adoration Chapel is being constructed near the belfry. A new church bell would be imported and a new generator would be installed.

The finale of the jubilee year will be held in the month of Oct 2010.
Fr. Alban directs the programmes of the jubilee year along with his asst. parish priest Rev. Anil D’souaz and active pastoral council. With all his multidimensional services to Pakshikere parish, he could be called “Modern Architect of Pakshikere”.

During these past fifty years, besides the parish priests many of the lay leaders have also contributed their service towards the progress of Pakshikere.

Here is a list of lay administrators and vice presidents of the parish pastoral council.

2010 -               Mr. Dolphi Miranda

2004 – 2010    Mr. Louis D’ Souza
1997 – 2004    Mr. Walter D’ Souza
1994 - 1997     Mr. Gilbert M.N D’ Souza
1992 - 1994     Miss Theresa Sequeira
1991 - 1992     Mr. William Sequeira
1989 - 1991     Mr. Ligoury M Sequeira
1988 - 1989     Mr. Joseph Miranda
1977 - 1988     Mr. J .A Sequeira

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Parish Priest/Director
St. Jude Thaddaeus Church & Shrine
Pakshikere, Kemral Post, 574 146
Via. Haleangady, Karnataka, India

Mobile: 9845758504, 8277939389
9945878504 (Church Office)

Email: [email protected]