Bela church, where miracles abound
Thousands of Catholics migrated to erstwhile Canara (Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Kasargod districts) following calamities in Portuguese ruled Goa and the fear of captivity by Tippu Sulthan.
A small group of these people who took shelter in Kasargod region built a small thatched church at Kudrepady which was later shifted to Bela in 1880, separating from Ullal-Panir. Interestingly, it was blessed by Most Rev. Nicholas Maria Pagani, the first Bishop of Mangalore Diocese, on January 10, 1892.
The “Our Lady of Dolours shrine” at Bela, about 15 kms from Kumbla,the oldest in Kasargod district, was meeting the spiritual needs of not only the people of region, but also of many other faithful from far away regions, mainly due to the miraculous power of the church, as claimed by many.
However, the establishment of the new church, by the side of the old shrine in 2001, construction of a 300-metre cave with a sepulchre and a model of resurrected Jesus in 2008, a holy pond at the end of the cave (existed since many decades, where water never goes dry) and a separate cave for meditation - has put Bela in the tourist map. In fact, the cave is unique and one of its kind. Antiques and artifacts found in the region have been displayed at the exit of the cave.
Speaking to City Herald, the present parish priest Rev Fr Vincent D’Souza said that the number of devotees visiting the church, irrespective of caste and creed, has been increasing over a period.
Narrating a couple of incidents, the parish priest said that many people have been benefiting after offering prayers in the shrine. He also showed the testimonies of those who claim to have been benefitted after offering prayers in the shrine. Be it the cure of terminal illness, hole in the heart, hopeless cases as declared by doctors, the list is long.
The church in association with Fr Muller Hospital also conducts homoeopathy medical camps every fortnight and people from all walks of life attend the camps. Interestingly, Fr D’Souza is also an active Lion Club member and member of Indian Red Cross having credit of organising a large number of blood donation camps wherever he served.
Edn institutions ray of hope
The Bela parish has received the gift of Sisters of Charity Convent, which was established in the year of 1932. They render valuable services to the parish. Moreover, they manage St Bartholomew Aided School in Bela, which offers education till 7th standard. They have hostel and educational facilities for the poor girls for the last 39 years. St. Ann’s Sisters and Dominican Sisters too are offering their services in the region.
The establishment of St Mary’s Higher Secondary School and St Mary’s College of Commerce & Administration has changed the face of Bela. The high school has the credit of securing cent per cent results ever since it was established, says Fr D’Souza.