From 'Friday boy' to Blessed Joseph Vas

he Blessed Joseph Vaz Shrine.DH Photos/ Author

The shrine was built on Holy Hill at Mudipu to commemorate the saga of service of the Apostle of Canara and Sri Lanka - Blessed Joseph Vaz, who was in Mangalore between 1681 and 1684. Fr Joseph Vaz became a priest in 1676 and had served in different parishes in Goa till 1681. Later, he was sent to Canara and he had served in Honnavar, Basrur, Kundapura, Gangolli, Mulki, Mangalore and finally Ullal -  Panir.

He served in various places in Sri Lanka to rekindle the Christian faith and died in 1711.
What makes the Mudipu shrine more prominent is the miraculous spring on a rock, which never dries throughout the year even when there is not a single drop of water in the 60 feet deep well next to it. People from various parts of the State and outside throng to have a glimpse of the miracle at the shrine.

History

Assistant Parish Priest Fr Vinod Lobo told City Herald that Blessed Joseph Vaz, who was born at Benaulim in Goa in 1651, was serving people in Mangalore for four years. “A group of men including landlords were opposing the good deeds of Fr Vaz. They decided to finish him off through a conspiracy. Accordingly, a group of armed men waylaid Fr Vaz and took him to the top of the Mudipu hill. Fr Vaz knelt down and requested the armed men to give some time to pray. As he started praying by holding a stick in his hands, there was light in the night and three springs sprouted from the rock with water gushing out of it,” Fr Lobo explained.

Visitors can see the wet rock and water filled hole, which is well-preserved. A shrine was built to protect the rock and believers pray lighting candles near the rock.

Well without water

Another miracle, one can see at the shrine is a well without a drop of water in it. Inspired by the spring, which fills water in the holes without interruption, Rev Fr Rodrigues Salvadore dug a well near the springs in 1940. He dug well on the laterite with a hope of finding water, but his attempts went in vain as he could not trace the spring even after 60 feet depth, Fr Lobo explained. People cutting across caste and religion pray near the well and put offerings for the fulfilment of their wishes, he said adding, “it is believed that the dreams of devotees will be realised, if they put money into the well making a wish,” he added.

Mass

The shrine celebrates the annual feast of the Blessed Joseph Vaz on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the first week December every year.

Weekly prayers are being offered on Thursdays, Fr Lobo said adding that from February onwards, the mass will be held on Fridays. “Blessed Joseph Vaz, who is also known as ‘Friday Boy,’ was born on Friday and most of the important events in his life also had taken place on Fridays. Hence, we have decided to hold the mass on Fridays,” Fr Lobo added.

The shrine on the hill was blessed by Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza and was inaugurated by the then Minister for Transport Ramanath Rai on February 6, 2000. The parish priest of Mudipu Fr Andrew D’Souza is in-charge of the shrine at present.

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