Tension rent the air at the Holy Trinity Church, Benaulim on Monday after hundreds of parishioners assembled at the church to demand the transfer of the Parish Priest, Fr Anthony Rodrigues.
Episcopal Vicar Fr Lucio Dias, besides district and police authorities rushed to the Holy Trinity Church to avert a law and order situation as the parishioners refused to budge demanding the transfer of the parish priest.
Agitated parishioners assembled at the Church on Monday noon and continued to agitate till evening. It was only Fr Anthony Rodrigues addressed a letter to the Archbishop tendering his resignation from the Holy Trinity Church as a parish priest from May 31 that the parishioners left the church.
In the resignation letter addressed to the Archbishop, a copy of which was handed over to the parishioners, Fr Anthony Rodrigues stated that he is resigning on his own from Holy Trinity Church, Benaulim as Parish Priest from of May 31, 2023.
Trouble started on Monday afternoon after a group of Parishioners came to attend a meeting with the representatives of the Church sent to discuss the demand seeking transfer of the parish priest.
Sources said the meeting yielded no result after the Bishop’s representative made it clear that the right to transfer vests with the Bishop.
The parishioners contended that they have been demanding the transfer of the parish priest since the last two months, but the Church authorities did not act on their demand. The parishioners also questioned the move to transfer an assistant parish priest within a year’s time pointing out that this is the first time that an assistant parish priest was transferred out of the Holy Trinity Church when the predecessors had a four years stint at the church.
A parishioner told the media that the PPC and the youth had given separate representations to the Bishop to transfer the parish priest, but in vain. “Then the parishioners in general submitted a written representation to the Bishop office demanding the transfer of the parish priest and to call a meeting”, he said.
Even as hundreds of parishioners assembled at the church, the parish priest was holed up inside the office as police tried to keep the parishioners at bay.
Attempts made by the Episcopal Vicar Fr Lucio to calm down frayed tempers by assuring the parishioners that a meeting will be called by the church authorities before June 5 fell on deaf ears. As the parishioners remained firm with their demand, Fr Lucio made another appeal, saying the church authorities will call for a meeting with the representatives of the parishioners on June 1 to discuss and decide over the demand for transfer.
The plea, however, was outright rejected by the parishioners as they insisted for the immediate transfer of the parish priest.
Sub-divisional Police Officer, Margao DySP Santosh Desai along with Colva PI Theron D’Costa sought to mediate between the agitated parishioners and the church authorities led by Fr Lucio Dias.
Sub-divisional Magistrate, Margao Uday Prabhudesai along with Additional Collector Srinet Kothwale also descended at the church to avert a law and order situation and work out an amicable solution.