Goa: Our Lady of Stella Maris Chapel at Miramar

Goa: Our Lady of Stella Maris Chapel at Miramar

The Catholics here celebrate the feast on the third Sunday of October, which falls on October 15 this year.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Monday, October 16, 2023, 09:50 PM IST
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Our Lady of Stella Maris Chapel | The Goan Network

The chapel located in St Mary’s Colony, Miramar, is dedicated to Our Lady of Stella Maris – Star of the Sea. It is affiliated to St Agnes parish at Santa Ines, Panaji. The Catholics here celebrate the feast on the third Sunday of October, which falls on October 15 this year.

Origin

There was a sizeable catholic population in Miramar, who had to depend on public transport to attend religious services in the St Ines Parish Church, which was quite a distance. So, for them, Mass was celebrated first at Hotel Miramar and later, when the government of Goa took over the hotel, at Rosary school in La Campala Colony.

In August 1970, Fr Jose Felix Filomeno Dias, the parish priest, seeing the difficulties faced by the people, decided to fulfill their desire to have a chapel here. Various committees were formed to look for a suitable place and for finances.

The Confrarias Reunidas da Igreja de Panjim had agricultural land in Miramar, which was being developed by real estate Beneferns and Co in the early seventies. This land was subdivided into small plots and sold to the public for the construction of residential accommodation. The then Apostolic Administrator, Rev Raul Nicolau Gonsalves, directed the Confrarias to release a plot free of charge for the construction of a chapel here. So, in 1977, a plot measuring about 914 sq. metres was allotted for this purpose, in memory of Maria Pereira, who in 1898, had gifted the entire property to Confrarias Reunidas.

The Confrarias gave the power of attorney to the Vicar of St Agnes Church ‘pro tempore’ and with the assistance of the locals, to construct a chapel with funds raised by the Miramar residents. It was also decided to dedicate this chapel to Our Lady of Stella Maris.

From 1982, fund-raising activities began. Arjun De Souza designed an aesthetic chapel; he would also see to the supervision of the work. The archbishop of Goa, Daman and Diu, Rev Raul Nicolau Gonsalves, laid the foundation stone on September 12, 1982. The construction work began in 1984.

The project was divided into two phases: the chapel per se would cost ₹3,40,000. The actual cost of the chapel, when ready came to almost ₹7 lakh. By the decree CP-Dec / 148/1989, dated May 29, 1989, the chapel was formally and canonically erected under the name Our Lady of Stella Maris, affiliated to St Agnes Church.

The donors included Julius and Lyria Nazareth (statue of the patroness), Diogo and John Dias (bell), J L Martyres (tabernacle), Domingos and Helen Lourenco, (altar crucifix), Joe and Avita de Souza (altar furniture). The chapel was blessed on May 30, 1989 by the archbishop Rev Raul Gonsalves.

ALTAR

The altar is in the form of a chalice, below it is the scene of the Last Supper; a large life-sized crucifix is at the back wall. It is flanked by the ambo, that depicts an angel, ox, lion and eagle representing the four evangelists. The statue of Our Lady of Stella Maris, was blessed and installed on May 28, 1989.

DEVELOPMENTS

In course of time, the Catholic population had grown here and the chapel could not accommodate all. Hence, it was felt to extend it and to construct a residence for the chaplain and a social centre. In 1995 and also in 1997, the chapel was extended using the vacant place; a presbytery was also constructed wherein the first floor was for the residence of the priest, a guest room on the second floor and an office and sanitary installations on the ground floor.

On December 8, 2001, the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, designed by the architect Sunil Sardesai was blessed. On January 16, 2002, the statue of St Joseph Vaz was blessed and installed by the then Archbishop of Goa, and now Cardinal, Filipe Neri Ferrao

The feast will be celebrated on October 15 this year, before which is the Maddi and the thematic Novena.

(The writer is Superior at Casa Professa, Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa

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