St. Francis Xavier Cathedral , Bangalore

A glorious past is the way towards a glorious future. If it is so, then it is to the utmost responsibility of the Parishioner to know about the origin of their Parish, the priests responsible for its origin, their aims and goals, their toils and struggles to build the Parish, so begins a forwarding note on the "History" found in the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral Family Record Book.

Fr. Chevalier was the first Parish Priest. He built the first Church of St. Francis Xavier in 1851, on a site measuring 550 feet square. Mrs. Zulime Watkins, a French Catholic and the widow of an English Commander, Capt. Watkins, sold the land to Fr. Chevalier for a sum of Rs.1,000/-. After the death of Bishop Charbonnaux, Fr. Chevalier was appointed Bishop of Mysore in 1873. He died in 1880, and laid to rest in St. Patrick's Church, Bangalore. In 1894, Fr. P. Jansoone was appointed Parish Priest. Fr. J.B. Servanton, after working hard in Shimoga, Hassan with great Missionary zeal, was appointed Assistant to Fr. Jansoone in the Parish. Fr. Servanton showed keen interest in the Parish. Eventually in 1898, he was appointed Parish Priest. For fifty years till his death in 1948, the little Parish of a thousand Catholics grew with him into fifteen thousand Catholics. It comprised the present Parishes of Holy Ghost, St. James, Marianapalya, St. John the Evangelist, M.R. Palyam, Ascension Church, St. Mary's Town, St. Pius X, Kamanahalli, Good Shepherd, Murphy Town, Our Lady of Lourdes, Whitefield and a portion of Christ the King, Malleswaram. In 1909, he erected a Chapel in honour of St. Rock, as a protection against bubonic plague of 1898. St. Rock is the patron of the plague-stricken and confided to his care the whole of the Parish. In 1940, the Parish Hall was built. He also started St. Anthony's and St. Rock's primary schools, built the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, and a number of Chapels in the Parish. St. Anthony's in Bharatinagar, now converted into a Community Centre, St. Anthony's and St. Michael's in Nehrupuram, St. Maria Goretti in Baidrahalli.

The old Church was becoming inadequate due to growing population. In 1905, the cross from the tower of the old Church fell down, which he considered to be an outward sign to build a new Church. The foundation stone for the new Church was laid in 1911. To raise funds, Fr. Servanton tapped every source by personal appeals., holding concerts and dramas. He went with a begging bowl from door to door. Finally, his dream was realised after 21 years of toil, the new Church was opened on 26th May 1932. During his 50 years, Fr. Servanton worked in the vineyard of the Lord without taking a single holiday and never went back to see his homeland. He loved his flock and gave generously to the poor. Fr. Servanton died at the age of 83, in 1948, after a heroic life and was buried in his own Church. The Corporation of the City of Bangalore honoured him after his death, by naming the Circle in front of St. Germain High School as "Father Servanton Circle" in 1961.

In 1940, Bangalore was erected as a separate diocese, and St. Francis Xavier's Church was chosen as a Cathedral. Most. Rev. Thomas Pothacamury was the first Indian Bishop of Bangalore appointed in 1942. The first Plenary Council of India was held in the cathedral Parish Hall in 1950. Fr. Servanton was succeeded by Msgr. I.B. Pinto as Parish Priest. Msgr. William D'Mello, Parish from 1972 - 1977, was later appointed the first Bisshop of Karwar. Msgr. Ignatius B. Pinto, Parish Priest from 1984 - 1987 was appointed the first Bishop of Shimoga. Archbishop D.S. Lourduswamy (Cardinal Lourduswamy in Vatican, Rome) introduced the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Cathedral Church. To look after the Adoration, he brought the Sisters of St. Ann, Madras and built the Lourdes Convent in the Cathedral Compound and the Management of the St. Rock's School was handed over to the Sisters of St. Ann from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Tarbes.

Archdiocesan Prelates: The Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Pothacamury (1943-1967), Most. Rev. D.S. Lourdusamy (1962-1971), Most. Rev. Dr. P. Arokiasamy (1972-1986), and the current Archbishop of Bangalore Most. Rev. Dr. Alphonsus Mathias (1987-....

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Thought for the Day:" Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did they fathers to the false prophets." Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26



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