A 'garden' to depict passion of Christ

Each old church in the diocese of Mangalore has its own history and the Holy Cross church at Kulshekar is no exception.

With just 6 days left for the centenary celebrations of the consecration of the church (1912-2012), the church too is wearing a festive look and all the monuments in the church are getting a facelift.

Quite interestingly, the church has many unique monuments including the octagonal faced 3 huge stones that served as the pedestal to the Cross erected in the Cordel-Panjirel forest and preserved with great care by the family of Shabha Silva, the grandson of Antony Joseph Silva, since 136 years; the ‘pillar of scourge,’ the sepulchre and a huge cross inside the church.

The ‘Garden of Passion’ established in the year 2009, to commemorate the birth bi-centenary (1809-2009) just behind the tomb of church founder Rev Fr Alexander Dubois, is slowly becoming a tourist spot with many devotees visiting the ‘Garden of Passion’ as well as the tomb of Fr Alexander Dubois as it is said that many have received favours through him.

The establishment of ‘Garden of Passion of the Lord’ around the existing monuments is unique in more than one ways as no parish has such huge, colourful and appealing stations of the Way of the Cross. The twelfth station of the Cross - the Crucifixion - has been elevated with 20 steps as a memorial of bi-centenary of Fr Dubois. The 7 streams / springs (of course, artificial) from which water flows from the ‘hillock’ is nothing but in accordance with the message in the Bible (Revelation 22:1 - “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb), says Rev Fr Valerian Pinto, the parish priest of Cordel, who is also chiefly responsible for the creation of “Somyachea Paxanvcho Mollo” (the Garden of the Passion of Christ).

Another unique aspect of the Garden is that, there are 15 stations of the Way of the Cross, instead the usual 14. The 15th station depicts the ‘Resurrection of Jesus Christ.’

‘Kullyerda Ajjer’They say, everything happens for good. Rev Fr Alexander Dubois laid the foundation stone for a church at Cordel on September 14, 1873, because he was not allowed to construct a church at Milagres, though he was the parish priest of the Milagres church! And he was fondly called as ‘Kullyerda Ajjer’ (Grandpa of Kulshekar) by the localites.

Born to a wealthy parents in the arch-diocese of Rouen in France on March 19, 1809, Fr Alexander Dubois came to Mangalore in 1865 and served as the parish priest of Milagres church until his death on December 11, 1877, due to cholera. As per his wish, he was buried in the unfinished church of Cordel. It is said that a large number of people irrespective of religion, caste or creed gathered to have a glimpse at the mortal remains of the holy priest. Even to this day, a large number of people pray at his tomb and it is said that many have received favours through him.

‘Holy Rosary Park’As a part of its centenary celebrations, the church has a mega plan of establishing ‘Holy Rosary Park’ on the lines ‘20 mysteries of Rosary’ at Vellar Padom Mathe church at Verampalli diocese in Ernakulam (Mangalore churches were part of Verampalli diocese before the Mangalore diocese was formed). The foundation stone for the same will be laid on February 18, 2012 and the work is expected to be completed within a year and is expected to cost around Rs 50 lakh.

“The Holy Rosary Park will have pictorial depiction of 20 life-size mysteries (structures) that would give theological as well as actual meaning of the mysteries,” says Fr Valerian Pinto.When completed, Cordel church will be the one and the only church to have a Holy Rosary Park in the Mangalore diocese, which has 160 churches under its ambit.

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