Vasai’s Lady of Grace is under severe threat

लेखक : उन्मेष गुजराथी

31 Jan, 2023

Vasai’s priest Furgoes Archbishop and laity advice !

Unmesh Gujarathi 
Sprouts Exclusive 

Vasai’s 400 years old heritage structure of Our Lady of Grace Cathedral is apart from its natural ageing threat now under a manmade disaster in the making by its own Parish Priest – Fr John Furgose.

The forefathers of the present-day Catholic community residents who form a formidable percentage of the Vasai population built the cathedral with valiant and heroic efforts despite the constraints of finance and expertise.

The proud inheritors of this historical contribution of their simple ancestors are shaken and at their wits end due to the stubborn attitude of Furgose who is hell-bent on repairing when the laws and locals prefer the restoration of such a grand heritage, unique structure.

Sprouts has documents that show a November 2019 meeting in which, the Archbishop of Vasai Diocese under whose jurisdiction the Cathedral comes – Felix Machado held a preliminary discussion of about 2 hours with Grace parishioners – Ryan Fernandes, Jude Pereira, Bronil D’Cunha, Godfrey Ferreira, Linus Britto, and Glenn Remedios at Bishop’s house, Barampur.

Sprouts learns from its sources that Archbishop Machado was impressed with the inputs and presentation by Ryan, Jude, and Glenn approved the idea and the team returned very satisfied with the minutes sent to Machado for his record. This successful meeting was followed up with another one on December 21.

This second meeting with Archbishop Machado presiding in the presence of Property and Finance Committee members – Clifford Pereira, Julian Rebello, and Gilbert Rodrigues plus the above named 6 members as well as 5 priests – Fathers –  John Furgose, Wilson Rebello, Rajesh Lopes, Peter Almeida, and Eric Alphonso resolved to go for restoration than repairs.

The meeting also decided to rope in restoration experts – Architects Vikas Delaware and Tulio D’Souza, and structural Engineer –  Renold Farose. 

All was well till the meeting of February 22 at the Cathedral in which Fr John Furgose endorsed the restoration plans in the presence of Fathers Brian Dias, James and Property, and Finance members – Bronil, Clifford, Linus, Glenn and Jude.

However, things changed for some extraneous, unexplained reasons and Fr John Furgose did a U-turn opting for a repair route much to the shock and dismay of the laity and Committee members.

A letter dated 10.9.22 by Jude, Ryan, Bronil, Linus, Clifford, Godfrey and Glenn to Fr Furgose highlighted the concerns of the parishioners. But Fr Furgose seems to be on the confrontation path with the laity and even overruling his own Archbishop’s views.

Association of Concerned Catholics, ( AOCC )  Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Baroda, and Mysore branches have pledged their support to the Vasai AOCC unit and assured to give total legal, moral and physical aid to derail Furgose’s dangerous gameplan that may put the historic 400-year-old heritage Structure of Our Lady of Grace under permanent threat and irretrievable forever.

Sprouts and it’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) pledge its full, continuous support to the Vasai parishioners and will feature opinions of Municipal Authorities, Architecture experts, committee members, activists, NGOs, priests, Church higher officials and local parishioners in its forthcoming article that is to follow soon.

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