Bejai Parish dedicated to St Francis Xavier is celebrating 100 years of its existence. The parish was formed in August 1912. The year-long centenary celebration which was inaugurated on Sunday, 7th August, 2011, will come to a close on Sunday 14th October 2012.
History : Bejai was a part of Rosario Parish for long. It was in 1912, it became independent with Fr. Sebastian Noronha as the first Parish Priest. From then on 14 priests have rendered their services here with 48 others as Assistants. The present church was built by Fr E.A.C. Colaco in 1928. The parish has done much progress in every field, both Spiritual, social, religious, educational and economic. This parish has a total strength of 1350 families with 6500 population; more and more catholic families are being added to this parish.
At present four priests render their services at Bejai Parish. Fr. Victor Machado, Parish Priest, Fr Anil Roshan Lobo, Assistant Parish Priest, Fr Ferdinand Gonsalves, Principal and Fr. Richard D'Souza, resident, while pursuing his Post Graduate studies at St. Aloysius College. A 100 strong Parish Pastoral Parishad works hand in hand with the priests for the growth and development of the people. This parish is known for its vibrant life manifested by the very many and variety of talents of the people. This has been the birth place of artists, musicians, dramatists, educationists, social workers, business people and politicians. Indeed it has been a mosaic of human and Christian life. In the past Bejai was known for its Jasmine Flower cultivation.
Their fragrance had spread all over. Due to various reasons this has almost disappeared. But the achievement of the people has truly spread to the four corners of the country and of the entire globe.
The parish has given great importance to the education of the children and youth of this place. St Francis Xavier Higher Primary School was begun way back in 1915 and has catered to the needs of all sections of the people without distinction of caste, creed and religion. The past students have been holding positions of importance in the society.
The Lourdes High School begun solely for the education of girls has been a boon to the women of the locality. Now it has opened its portals to boys as well. The twelve years old Lourdes Central School with CBSE Syllabus has made its mark as a prestigious educational Institution obtaining 100% results in the X and XII Stds for the fifth and third time respectively.
The Religious Congregations in the Parish : There are Four Religious houses in Bejai parish. 1) Capuchin Fathers with a variety of religious duties 2) Jesuit Fathers have their preliminary Formation House 3) Ursuline Franciscan Sisters render their services in the school and in the parish 4) Daughters of St Paul involve themselves in various activities besides their Media Ministry.
Social activities : The parish pays much attention to the upliftment of the poor, the needy and the marginalized helping them out in every way possible. The various Associations like the Catholic Sabha, S.V.P., Youth Movements, Ladies Social Service League do their best to develop the economic and social conditions of the people.
The parish bulletin "Izoicho Kolo" published periodically keeps contact with the people in and outside the parish. This has brought about a sense of belongingness to one another as one community living their faith to the best of their ability.
Right through this year they have paid great importance to the growth of Christian faith and the cultivation of social and civic responsibilities of the people. They have brought them together in various groups and given them training and formation towards their integral growth. Various competitions were conducted for different age groups, thus giving them an occasion to develop their talents and to excel in their performance. The celebration held at ward level on different occasions has manifested their unity among themselves which is a healthy sign of Christian life.
The finale of the Centenary was preceded by a Cultural evening on the 12th October and a procession of tableaus on our culture and religion on the 13th October.
The grand closing function will be on the Sunday, 14th October presided over by Most Rev Dr. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, Bishop of Mangalore, Mr. Charles Lobo, Post master General, Goa, hailing from Bejai will be the Chief Guest. The central part of the celebration is the thanksgiving Holy mass. A few prominent people, who have rendered their services to Bejai, will be honoured.
These include the past parish priests and the Assistants and some lay leaders. A Musical play on St Francis Xavier will be staged by the artists of Bejai. A 100 strong choir will sing at the mass. The Silver Jubilee band of Mr. Harold D'Souza, will be in attendance.
This celebration has brought the people together in faith and unity. The motto has been, "Our faith, Our parish, Our celebration". They have tried to live by this and will continue to do the same.
The future plans : (a) Building houses for the poor (b) Scholarships for higher education, (c) Environmental Protection, (d) Renovation of the Hr Primary School, (e) Upgrading of the Central School.