Goa is dotted with churches that are lofty, beautiful and are many centuries old. Many are well preserved while others are less fortunate and find themselves in a state of disrepair. Some of the churches which were once unique and timeless have been demolished to make way for a bigger or a newer (mostly newer) church of concrete. Most of the churches that were demolished or are in the process of being demolished were razed due to the ignorance of the lay parishioners to the uniqueness of the structure and also due to the failure of the higher officials of the church (along with the lay parishioners) to recognize its heritage potential and historical value.
This unique church was in a state of neglect until the charismatic Fr. Conceição D’Silva took the charge as the parish priest from Fr. Lino de Sa, who had already begun the work of restoration by plastering the walls. In his brief tenure of three years, Fr. Conceição, recipient of the State Award for Meritorious Services to Society, completed the whole restoration work giving the church, in the process, a new lease of life. The whole woodwork of the main altar, the subsidiary altars and the pulpit are now richly adorned with 24 carat gold, giving us a glimpse, perhaps, of what the church may have looked like a few centuries ago. Experts for the gold gilding work were flown in from Portugal. Now the church basks in pristine and clear light and the gold is seen shimmering.
The floor was repaired as well, with the specialists, this time, coming from Bangalore. Imported chandeliers from Portugal now adorn the church. Near the transept of the church, an azulejos composition of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper has been installed.
|Fr. Conceição D'Silva|
Fr. Conceição is of the frank opinion that the old churches must be preserved and protected. Perhaps, it was this line of thinking which had propelled him to preserve and restore not only the church at Carambolim but also the one at Mandur where he was posted prior to his appointment at St. John the Baptist Church. Fr. Conceição along with the parishioners has spared no expense even for procuring new pews and a state-of-the-art sound system along with the restoration work.
|View of the church|