Sunday, December 2, 2012

St Xavier’s Church Pune Camp gets 150th anniv makeover

Sakal Times
St Xavier’s Church gets 150th anniv makeover
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 AT 12:20 AM (IST)
Tags: Saint Francis Xavier’s Church
PUNE: Saint Francis Xavier’s Church, located on St Vincent’s Street in Pune Camp, is getting a new look as it prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary in two months.
The same team of experts, who undertook a massive renovation drive at St Patrick’s Cathedral recently, is presently busy sprucing up the church’s heritage artefacts.
The first mass at the church, which was still under construction, was held on December 2, 1862 on the feast of St Francis Xavier, after whom the church is named. The present church structure built in Gothic architectural style was constructed only in 1864.
Parish priest, Father Bertie Rozario, told Sakal Times that the renovation will cost around Rs 90 lakh.
“The funds for the renovation are being raised by our parishioners. Despite being one of the oldest churches in the city, the number of our parishioners has now dwindled to merely 150 families. Most of the young parishioners from Pune Camp have left during the past few years, to reside in spacious houses in Wanawadi, Fatimanagar and surrounding areas,” said Fr Rozario.
The renovation works include painting the church building, restructuring }of stained glass paintings and repainting the over a century-old statues of saints.
Incidentally, St Xavier’s Church is presently the only parish in the city which is looked after by Jesuit priests.
Vasai-based Mingleshwar Sequeira and his brother Benzoni, who are doing the work of restoration of wooden statues and other artefacts at the church, are fourth generation artistes.
Having launched the work in May this year, their team of artistes has given a new look to nearly 20 antique statues and also polished the pews and other old furniture.