Home Miscellaneous TV9 Heegu Unte – Infant Jesus Shrine Mangalore, St. Joseph’s Monastery Carmel Hill (Carmel Gudo)

TV9 Heegu Unte – Infant Jesus Shrine Mangalore, St. Joseph’s Monastery Carmel Hill (Carmel Gudo)

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TV9 Heegu Unte – Infant Jesus Shrine Mangalore,  St. Joseph’s Monastery Carmel Hill (Carmel Gudo)

Source: TV9

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The Shrine and the Design


The general Structure:
Five huge columns encircle and uphold the main structure, while rising to a height nearly double that of the roof and converging under a globe atop of which is planted a luminescent Cross. While at the base the shrine is hexagonal, the roofing is pentagonal. The flooring is generally of marble, except for the aisle and the border along the walls which is granite. The wall itself is constructed of bare granite stones, skillfully chiseled. The columns and ceiling are solid concrete as also the overhead globe. The tubes for illumining the church are concealed; their light is reflected and diffused by the ceiling.

The basement surrounded by the five huge columns is intended to represent the palm of the hand of God, in accordance with the text of Isaiah, ‘I have carved you on the palm of my hand’. And the five columns represent the fingers of this Hand converging towards the overhead globe which obviously symbolizes the universe. The Cross atop the globe is an indication and symbol that God’s love has redeemed all humanity through Christ.

The Doors:
The Church may be entered by three doors, all of which are equally ‘main’ entrances: centre, right & left. The doors are all made of seasoned teak wood, into which familiar Biblical themes are represented. Over each of the doors too, part of the same theme is represented in ‘krinklglas’.

On the door to the right of the centre, as one enters the Church the krinklglas above represents God the Father giving the law on Sinai while the door itself has a figure of Moses giving the law to the people. Here, there is of the Christian assembly.

The door at the centre has a representation of the Nativity scene whereas krinklglas above, pictures the Holy Spirit who overshadowed Mary. Over the door, viz. the one to the left, the krinklglas pictures the last trumpet to the final judgments. On the door itself Jesus is depicted at Emmaus; breaking bread for His two disciples. The Holy Sacrifice will be celebrated till the end of the world.

Flanking the doors:
Each of the doors is flanked by a grills with sketches of Carmelite Saints wrought into them. The door to the right has a frame for St Elias – the prophet – founder of the Carmelite Order and Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified – one of the foundresses of Mangalore Cloistered Carmel.

Flanking the Central door are representations of the two great Carmelite reformers (also mystics and doctors of the Church) ”“ Sts. Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross.

And the third door is flanked by grills wrought-in with images of the ‘Little Rower’ – Patroness of the missions and St Raphael Kalinowski – a Polish Carmelite.

The Windows:
There are eight windows on the grills of each of which is depicted a scene from the infancy of Jesus Annunciation, Visitation, Presentation, Journey of the Magi, Flight into Egypt, Jesus in the Carpenter’s shop, the boy Jesus in the temple and the first miracle of Cana.

The ventilator grills above the windows contain scenes of the passion and glorification of Jesus and Mary.

Circular Krinklglas Frames:
There are five circular krinklglas frames built into the centre of the pentagonal structures supporting the roof. The central picture represents the Risen Lord, while the four others have symbolic representations of the four evangelists, in accordance with the book of Revelation: the ‘lion’ for St. Mark, the ‘man’ for St. Mathew, the ‘calf”™ for St. Luke and the ‘eagle’ for St. John.

The Sanctuary:
The Attar: The frontispiece represents the hands of God, sustaining the universe and the Cross marking the globe symbolizes the sacrifice that is celebrated on the altar for universal redemption.

The Crucifix is not elevated above the ground but planted on the floor of the Sanctuary to indicate ‘God with us’. The image of the Crucified is a carving, all of one piece of teak. To the right of the altar is the Tabernacle and to the left is the Bible, symbolizing God’s presence among us, in word and sacrament respectively. The ‘ambo’ and the tabernacle are cast in heavy metal, the latter displaying modern artistic forms representing ‘life and light’.

There are two niches, one on the right and one on the left, for the statues of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and of the Infant Jesus respectively.

As the ‘star’ guided the Magi to Jesus in Bethlehem, so may this shrine draw people from East and West, North and South, over land and sea, to the Savior and Creator of mankind.



The Carmelites in Karnataka:
The Teresian Carmelites had established themselves in Goa and in Kerala in the seventeenth century. And since the region formerly known as the Carnatic, lies between Goa in the north and Kerala in the South, the Carmelites had inevitably to pass through Karnataka when proceeding by land from Goa to Kerala. And it is not surprising to find them residing at least on a temporary basis, in places like Bijapur, which form part of today’s Karnataka. In his ”˜Viaggio alle Indie Orientali”™ Fr. Vincent Mary of St Catherine, has left us interesting descriptions of the beliefs, customs, feasts of the Canara of his time, and even of the scenic beauties and the cultivation and other aspects of life. But he found the Christians greatly neglected. And, on his reporting the need of the Canara Christians to the Holy See, Mangalore secured its first Vicar Apostolic in 1677.

In the eighteenth Century, the headquarters of the Carmelites in Karnataka, was at Sunkery near Karwar, from 1709. From Sunkery, the friars administered to the Christians in north as well as South Canara, especially after 1773 the year in which the Holy See entrusted to the Carmelites, the erstwhile Jesuit missions in Canara and in Mysore. Several religious from Sunkery were appointed Vicars Apostolic of Bombay and Verapoly, and one of them, Bishop John Dominic of St Clare, who had acquired a mastery of Konkani, died at Sirva while on a pastoral visit in 1772. It is reported that on previous visits of this kind he had conferred Confirmation on more than 15,000.

The Carmelite church in Sunkery suffered, at the end of the eighteenth century the fate of more than thirteen other churches, at the hands of the Tiger of Mysore. But it was re-built by Fr. Francis Xavier of St. Ann, a Genoese who acquired enough knowledge of konkani to write an Italian – Konkani dictionary as well as a Portuguese – Konkani dictionary.

Focus on Mangalore:
As Christianity waxed stronger in Mangalore after the death of Tippu Sultan, notwithstanding the conflicts that continued to flare up occasionally between the Propaganda and the Padroado, the Catholics plucked up the courage to request from Propaganda of Vicariate Apostolic headquartered in Mangalore. Their petition was heeded and Msgr. Bernardine of St. Agnes took charge as Pro-Vicar Apostolic in 1845.

The Carmelite bishop’s first concern was the seminary. In 1850 he raised the Rosario Church to the rank of Cathedral. The second Carmelite bishop of Mangalore was Rev. Fr. Michael Antony who was consecrated bishop in Bombay in 1853 and reached Mangalore in September, and set about governing the diocese which he ruled for seventeen years.

A variety of difficulties and problems mushroomed during his regime, and finally, having a list of achievements to his credit, he retired in 1870 – after predicting that the Jesuits would take over the diocese. He departed this life in Bombay on 18th December 1878. And the Jesuit team arrived from Europe on 19th December the same year.

But before the Jesuits took over, there would still be one more Carmelite bishop for Mangalore, namely, Msgr. Marie Ephrem, who went in 1869 as Vicar Apostolic of Quilion, and returned in 1870 as Vicar Apostolic of Mangalore bringing into the diocese the first Carmelite cloistered Sisters. He had also a share in the founding of the Apostolic Carmel. His demise in 1873 seems to have followed from an attack of malaria. He had been the only child of his parents; and, conversing casually with his familiars a few days before his departure from this life, he remarked, “I learnt from my father, the practice of charity, for, I may say that I never heard him speak ill of anyone.”

While Msgr. Marie Ephrem was bishop, the Milagres parish of Mangalore was governed by a French priest who, though belonging to the diocesan clergy, habitually donned the Carmelite habit, and brought it great honour through his assiduous practice of pastoral zeal and unusual asceticism. This was Father Alexander Dubois who, on 14 September 1873, laid the foundation-stone for the Church of the Holy Cross at Cordel, where his mortal remains were laid to rest in 1877 in the odour of sanctity. The following year, there remained only two Carmelites in Mangalore, one of whom, Fr. Victbr of St. Antony, a Belgian, handed over the keys of the Cathedral and the charge of the diocese to the Jesuits.

The Belgian Carmelites, especially those staffing the erstwhile Quilon seminary, decided on founding a house of monastic observance in a Mangalore in 1947 for which purpose they sent Fathers Marcel and Hyacinth as pioneers in 1947. After exploring the city in search of a suitable site, Heaven guided them to what today is known as Carmel Hill. The people were hospitable, especially the Apostolic Carmel community at Maryhill where the Fathers stayed for more than a year. They shifted to Angelore when the construction work on the monastery commenced, and came to Carmel Hill finally to form the new monastic community.

However, the foundation of the monastery, canonically speaking, was in 1947, because that was the year when the Sacred Congregation for Religious in Rome, granted the indult for the founding of the new house, for which the Sacred Congregation of propaganda gave its ”˜nihil obstat”™ on 5th June, 1947, and the General Definitory gave its permission on 6th June. Shortly afterwards we find Msgr. Victor Fernandes, Bishop of Mangalore, visiting Belgium and the Carmelites monasteries there, especially Ghent where he was – according to an official chronicle – from 25th Aug till 12th September.

Fathers Constantine, Nicholas and Herman Joseph left Antwerp for India on a Norwegian cargo ship in 1948 on 14 October. By this time, Fr. Irenaeus had already come to Mangalore from Margao. By the time Fr. Herman Joseph arrived in Mangalore (1950) Fr. Hyacinth had already left for Belgium.

From Margao, Br. Louis came to Mangalore in 1952, to be followed by Fathers Constantine and Boniface in 1953, by which year the chapel and the central part of the construction had already been constructed.

The long-awaited day to which especially many Carmelites in India were eagerly looking forward, came in March 1954. The frontiers of the jungle had been pushed back, the hard, unyielding earth had been leveled, the terrain had been cleared, and a lowly monastic structure had been raised atop the elevation that would henceforth be known as ”˜Carmel Hill”™.

On 18th March Bishop Victor Fernandes – during an open air reception with eight petromaxes lighting up the late evening sky – blessed solemnly the new chapel with its adjoining structure. And the following day Auxiliary Bishop Peres said the first Holy Mass in the newly blessed Chapel.

Fr. Constantine was the first superior of the new community and he was in charge till 1959 by which year Fr. Marcel as well as Br. Louis and also Fr. Herman Joseph had already left Mangalore.

Mangalore under Manjummel:
Before Fr. Constantine completed his term as superior, the Carmelites in the Karnataka region had to be amalgamated with the Kerala Carmelites of the Manjummel unit because of political disturbances between Goa and the rest of India (still Goa continued under Portuguese rule). Hence, candidates joining from Mangalore were sent to Kerala for their Carmelite formation as well as their priestly studies. During this period which lasted till 1981, the local superiors of the Mangalore Community were:

  • Rev. Fr. Bernard Nunes (1960 – 1966)
  • Rev. Fr. Theophin (1966 -1972)
  • Rev. Fr. Gregory D’Souza (1972-1975)
  • Rev. Fr. Anthony D’Silva (1975 -1978)
  • Rev. Fr. Patrick Lobo (1978 -1981)

In 1978, Fr. Gregory D’Souza became one of the Provincial Councillors of the Manjummel Province, and, considering that the time had come for autonomy, moved for the formation of a separate unit for Karnataka. Hence, in 1979 a Provincial delegation for this region was set up. By this time, the number of candidates, most of whom had been nurtured in the Kulshekar Carmel Hill Vocation Home, had risen to 46 – including 29 priests.

The Karnataka – Goa Province:
Finally, in 1981, Fr General constituted the region into an autonomous Carmelite Province, and the Carmel Hill Monastery became the Provincial Headquarters as well as the residence of students who would henceforth be frequenting the Jeppu Seminary, while staying at Carmel Hill.

Provincial Superiors Local Superiors

  • 1979 – 1981 Rev. Fr. Gregory D’Souza (Del. Prov.)
  • 1981 – 1984 Rev. Fr. Nemesio Alzola
    Local Superior : Fr. Richard Castellino
  • 1984 – 1987 Rev. Fr. Nemesio Alzola
    Local Superior : Fr. Michael Morris
  • 1987 – 1990 Rev. Fr. Joseph D’Souza
    Local Superior :
    Fr. Richard & then Fr. A. Gomes
  • 1990 – 1993 Rev. Fr Gregory D’Souza
    Local Superior : Fr. Lawrence D’Mello
  • 1993 – 1999 Rev. Fr Lawrence D’Mello
    Local Superior : Fr. Joe Tauro and then Fr. Egidio Monteiro
  • 1999 ”“ 2005 Rev. Fr. Joe Tauro
    Local Superior : Fr. Dominic Vas and Fr. Gregory D”™Souza
  • 2005 ”“ 2008 Rev. Fr. Dominic Vas
    Local Superior :
    Fr. George Santhumayor and Fr. Patrick Lobo
  • 2008-2014 ”“ Rev. Fr. Archibald Gonsalves
    Local Superior: Fr. George Santhumayor (2008-2011)
    and Fr. Pius James D”™Souza (2011-2014)
  • 2014 May – : Rev. Fr. Charles Seravo
    Local Superior: Fr. Joe Tauro (4th May, 2014 – )


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