Vorkady – Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus History

Location: The Vorkady Church dedicated to Sacred Heart of Jesus is situated 30 KMs south of Mangalore. It is in the civil District of Kasaragod in Kerala state. It is part of Kasaragod Deanery belonging to the Latin Diocese of Mangalore. The deanery dedicated to St Thomas has 13 parishes from Talapady-Mariashram to Kasaragod. The number of Catholics in the parish is nearly 2000 in 398 families of 14 wards.

The Beginning: Earlier Vorkady was part of Ullal (Panir) parish. Aware of the long distance from the church Fr Cyprian Coelho, at the end of 19th century, put up a thatched shed in the place and began saying Mass there around 1898 and attended to the spiritual needs of the people. He even tried a sort of schooling of the children.
Jesuit Bishop Abundius Cavadini cut of the place from Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Panir and made it an independent parish on August 26, 1910, and Fr Mathias was appointed the first parish priest. In the year 1910 baptismal details of 747 parishioners were brought from Panir to Vorkady and were recorded on a separate register (This record is preserved in the church archives).

Birth of Twin Parishes: The Karady St Lawrence Parish and Vorkady Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish are twin parishes in their beginnings. Both were part of Panir parish till 1910. A decree issued by Vicar General and Diocesan Administrator Msgr J.B. Rossi SJ dated 30th of July 1910 proves this historical fact. The said decree detached villages of Karady, Vorkady, Thimmangur and Kolchappu from Panir and formed into a new independent parish dedicated to St Lawrence. Moreover Fr Mathias was the first parish priest of both the parishes of Vorkady and Karady. Even though he was residing earlier in Karady but later shifted his residence to Vorkady and was celebrating Sunday Mass alternatively in Karady.Once or twice there were even hot discussions in the parish meetings whether Vorkady or Karady parish is older than the other. The historical references show that Karady was raised to the status of an independent parish on 1st of August 1910 and Vorkady was established on 26th of August 1910. Till 1927 there was no permanent resident parish priest in Karady. The front facade of Karady Church was built and St Lawrence Elementary School was established by Fr V. R. Fernandes who was the parish priest of twin parishes.

Magnificent Old Church: The magnificent old church dedicated to Sacred Heart of Jesus was built under the able leadership of Fr Victor Rozario Fernandes (mostly known as Fr V. R. Fernandes) who was the parish priest of Vorkady from 1912 to 1923. It took 5 years (1917-1922) to build such an edifice with very limited local sources in those times. It is a special attraction especially with its artistic front facade, colourful glasses on the top of the walls and the backdrop of the sanctuary. On the backdrop the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Patron takes the center stage and two historical saints who brought the knowledge of Christ to India showing the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St Thomas the Apostle who brought Christ to India in the first century and St Francis Xavier, the patron of Indian Missions, who brought Christ to Goa in the 16th century show the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the people of Vorkady. During the time of Fr Lawrence Martis new portico was added to the church.

19 Parish Priests: From Fr Cyprian Coelho who took lead in establishing a separate parish in Vorkady, nineteen parish priests have served the parish as parish priests. Officially Fr Mathias becomes the first parish priest. In 1911 Fr Gregory A. D’Souza took his place, and built a presbytery. He was succeeded in 1912 by Fr Victor R. Fernandes, who did much for the parish including a mighty edifice for the church that has withstood even till today the ravages of time. With good reason, then, he came to be known as the founder of the Vorkady parish. Later he became the bishop of the Diocese of Mangalore who led the undivided Diocese of Mangalore for 24 years (1931-1955).
Fr Joachim Pereira (1953-1956) rendered services which benefited both Christians and non – Christians who cherished his memory with gratitude long after he left the place. For all that he could not have this way with those who opposed his plan of raising the school to the high school level. All that he succeeded in doing was to make it upper primary. Fr Pater Paul D’Souza (1956-1957) had to leave the place within ten months on health reasons. Fr Louis Furtado (1957-1965) was moved by the difficulties of the faithful of Miyapadav. So he decided to construct a chapel there and attend to their spiritual needs. This would prove to be the first step in establishing an independent parish in the place. He was succeeded by Fr Peter Paul Crasta (Fr P. P. Crasta) (1965-1975), immediately coming from Pavur, and bringing with him true missionary zeal and experience. Simple in life, calm and quiet, working for the development of this area he opened Cooperative Society for the people. Additional school buildings were erected during his time; necessary water supply was provided; the entire roof of the church building was overhauled. Fr Remegius Aranha (1975) and Fr Alex Aranha ((1975-1977) rendered whole hearted services for shorter durations. Fr Andrew Rodrigues (1977-1985) who was jovial and kind hearted was successful in making Miyapadavu as an independent parish on 13.10.1983.
Fr Denis L. Mathias (1923-1933) who succeeded him in 1923 held the office for ten years. One of the services he did was inviting the Ursuline Sisters to work in the parish. His successor, Fr Thomas Acquin Lobo (1933-1939) worked for the poor and needy, supplied free medicines to the sick, and won people’s heart with his kind deeds. He secured the new church bell, too. Fr Alex Paul D’Souza (1939-1953) always wore a smile on his face. That and what lay behind it drew people to him, Christians and non-Christians alike. He celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the parish as well.
Fr Joachim Pereira (1953-1956) rendered services which benefited both Christians and non – Christians who cherished his memory with gratitude long after he left the place. For all that he could not have this way with those who opposed his plan of raising the school to the high school level. All that he succeeded in doing was to make it upper primary. Fr Pater Paul D’Souza (1956-1957) had to leave the place within ten months on health reasons. Fr Louis Furtado (1957-1965) was moved by the difficulties of the faithful of Miyapadav. So he decided to construct a chapel there and attend to their spiritual needs. This would prove to be the first step in establishing an independent parish in the place. He was succeeded by Fr Peter Paul Crasta (Fr P. P. Crasta) (1965-1975), immediately coming from Pavur, and bringing with him true missionary zeal and experience. Simple in life, calm and quiet, working for the development of this area he opened Cooperative Society for the people. Additional school buildings were erected during his time; necessary water supply was provided; the entire roof of the church building was overhauled. Fr Remegius Aranha (1975) and Fr Alex Aranha ((1975-1977) rendered whole hearted services for shorter durations. Fr Andrew Rodrigues (1977-1985) who was jovial and kind hearted was successful in making Miyapadavu as an independent parish on 13.10.1983.
Fr Lawrence Martis served the parish from 1985 to 1992. In order to help the poor he established the Society of St Vincent de Paul. The old presbytery was remodeled together with a new portico of the church building. To contribute to Our Lady’s devotion among people he built a grotto of Our Lady of Vellankani. Fr Peter Serrao (1992-1999) who was much interested in children’s education arranged special tuition classes for them; constructed belfry, sank a borewell, provided the church property with additional protection, encouraged greater participation by each parishioner in the Sunday liturgy, special training to ladies through the Legion of Mary, established Catholic Sabha for bringing out the leadership qualities of the laity and firmed up SCC. He also started chapel at Kommangala for the people of Votepadpu and Paivalike who were nearly ten KMs away from Vorkady. He built the school hall near the church to accommodate more classes.
Fr. Apolinaris Crasta (1999 -2008) kept up the steady tempo of the good work. A new block for the school, installation of the Calvary scene, grotto of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the construction of a new chapel at Kommangala were held during his tenure. Fr Denis Suares (2008-2015) added a floor to the new school building. Fr Francis Rodrigues (2015-…) is the 19th parish priest of Vorkady parish.

Birth of Miyapadav: Fr Louis Furtado, the parish priest of Vorkady together with parishioners had held serious discussions in 1955 to plan for a separate center to meet the spiritual needs of people of Miyapadav. It took three to four years to get a concrete shape to their planning. Mr Baptist Monteiro and his family of Kolchappu ward donated 4.98 acres of land to build new church. In 1959, the then Vicar General Msgr W.A. Lewis laid foundation stone for the new church. It took number of years to complete the church building mainly because of the scarcity of economic resources. The Vorkady parishioners tried all possible means to contribute towards the Church building. Still it was a very hard and slow process. In 1965 Fr Louis Furtado blessed the church and celebrated first Mass in 1965. The walls had not been plastered. In 1969 Fr P.P. Crasta took the initiative and put up a presbytery which was completed in 1972.
On 27th of September, 1983, the independent parish of Miyapadav was established with demarcation of boundaries of the parish. Fr Cyril Pinto was appointed first parish priest who resided in Vorkady for some time to complete the pending works. The Vorkady Parish (Mother Parish) gave to the newborn parish Rs 5000/- as its share to the daughter. The amount was spent on plastering and furnishing the presbytery. The plastering and electrification of the Church was taken up later. The local people of Miyapadav were extra generous and ever creative to develop the independent parish of Miyapadav.

Ursuline Franciscan Sisters: The local born Ursuline Franciscan religious Congregation of the Sisters started their ministry of animating the poor parishioners of rural Vorkady in 1926. For a year they came from Mangalore and contributed spiritual and socio-developmental animation. With the invitation of Fr Denis Mathias, the then parish priest the sisters started to reside in Vorkady in 1927. As there was no separate residence initially they resided in one of the class rooms of St Joseph’s ALP School. Sr Monica as Superior and Sr Ezabella as assistance started their full pledged missions in Vorkady. Sr Elisia Suares was very enthusiastic in making people aware of the need of education. In 1930 the independent Convent building was put up. Later to help the children from distant places in their education, a children residence was put up next to the convent building. Still later a separate and bigger house was built for the residence of poor children from distances through the assistance of Andheri Hilfe. A number of children benefited from this work of the sisters and could pursue the elementary studies.
In 1995ww the sisters started St Joseph’s English Medium School which was later renamed as St Mary’s English Medium School. Simultaneously typing, tailoring and embroidery classes were given to the needy to make them economically and professionally independent. Presently the St Mary’s English Medium School has been upgraded as High School under CBSE. The sisters render their services in education, SCCs, orphanage, and other pastoral spheres of the parish through three Convents – Holy Face Convent, Assisi Nilaya and St Joseph’s Convent.

St Joseph’s AUP School, Kaliyur-Vorkady: There are a couple of references that priests who were coming from Panir for spiritual ministry in Vorkady had put up a thatched shed in 1885 in Vorkady in the name of St Joseph and started a lower primary school. Possibly it must have been started by Fr Cyprian Coelho. Later all the parish priests of Vorkady have taken initiative to develop the school in multiple ways and means. The services of lay people transcending the barriers of caste and creed to develop the school are referred in couple of places. The services of Thomas Lobo, Krishna Padhakannaya, Kalluraya and Konila Shankara Bhat were well appreciated.
The service of Fr Joachim Pereira (1953-1956) towards the school which benefited both Christians and non – Christians who cherished his memory with gratitude long after he left the place. For all that he could not have this way with those who opposed his plan of raising the school to the high school level. All that he succeeded in doing was to make it upper primary in 1955 by quietly going to Madras for related official works. He put up new building on the other side of the road for the school. The school developed to extra heights with the appointment of A. Babu Purusha as the Headmaster in 1953 with the formation of PTA, Old Students’ Association etc. He was retired after serving the school for 30 years as Headmaster (1953-1982). After A. Babu Purusha Ramayya Shetty, Parameshwara Adyanthaya, Robert D’Souza, Sr Helen D’Souza, Sr Mary Pinto have given the leadership as HMs of the school. After teaching in the same school for 23 years Pushpavathi has taken over the HMship from June 2016.
Fr Peter Paul Crasta put up an open well to help the children as well the public. In his time the number of students went above 700. Fr Lawrence Martis put up toilets, staff room, school office, water tanks etc. Fr Peter Serrao put up a school hall near the church to accommodate more classes. Frs Apolinaris and Denis Suares put up new terrace school building through the assistance of Manos Unidas. In 2016 new school hall was put up in the school campus. As to form the young kids on the way to primary studies Pre-primary section was established in June 2017. Presently 715 students study in Primary Section and 110 students are formed in Pre-primary section.

Kapiri ALP School: The Kapiri ALP School situated around 10 KMs away from Vorkady Church was established by Bantappa Naik in 1920. In those times when Konila Shanker Bhat was the teacher the school was in a thatched building in Kapiri with around 30 students. It has been spoken by the elders of the locality that in 1922 when the application for aid was given to Madras government, there were nearly 50 students with three teachers. With this situation the Madras government accepted it as aided school. In the later years as the number of students was weakening, Somayya Poojary who was a teacher in the same school with the permission of Bantappa Naik put up a thatched roof in the place where the present school exists and shifted the school to this place. Even then the situation was not very encouraging. In this background Jankala Narayan Naik and then Vorkady Parish Priest Fr A.P. D’Souza jointly referred the matter to Bishop V.R. Fernandes. Being former parish priest of the locality and knowing the situation bishop accepted the school into the management of Catholic Board of Education in 1939. In 1998 Fr Peter Serrao established Pre-primary unit. At present around 60 students are trained with interest by four aided teachers and a few supportive staff. It is known as ‘Namma Shale, Nammoora Shale’ (our school, school of our locality). It is wholeheartedly taken care by the people of the locality and old students crossing the barriers of caste ad creed.
Earlier the school land was in the hands of Subramanya Shastri and Jankala David Cutinha who donated the land. In 1948 new building was put up and later Jankala Marku Cutinha also donated land for the school. After Narayan Naik Koragappa Sapalya, Narayana Rai, Konila Shankara Bhat, Somayya Pujary, Dhavid Master, A. Babu Purusha, K.Ramayya Shetty, K. Parameshwara Adyanthaya, Thyampanna Alva, A. Ramachandra Purusha, V. Parameshwara Bhat, Leelavathi Teacher, Mable Sequeira, Evelyn D’Souza, Benny Crasta and Celine Crasta have given the animation to the school as In-charges. Suryamoorthy Master who led the school for number of years had taken special interest to keep the school alive with maximum students possible. At present Sujatha D’Souza is the Head Mistress.

Devotion to Our Lady of Velankanni: The people of Vorkady and neighborhood have a special devotion to our Lady of Velankanni. A miraculous statue of O.L. of Velankanni was brought from Velankanni in February 1991 under the leadership of Fr Lawrence Martis, the parish priest and the initiative of the Vorkady parishioners. It was brought in procession to the specially designed grotto and was installed in that during a solemn festival of Our Lady of Velankanni. Since then every Saturday evenings the devotees of O.L. of Velankanni participate in the Eucharist and take part in the novena. With the completion of 25 years of Novena to Our Lady of Velankanni there was novena jubilee in Vorkady on 26th of February 2017.
Most Rev. Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, the bishop of Mangalore presided over the Eucharistic celebration and led the Novena to Our Lady of Velankanni on this day. Jubilee procession was held before Mass. The Bishop was honoured by the parishioners of Vorkady on the occasion of Bishop’s triple jubilee of episcopacy, life and priesthood. More than 3000 devotees participated in the celebrations.

Komangala Chapel: The Komangala chapel situated 14 KMs away from Vorkady Church dedicated to the Holy Family was started on 16th of November 1994 in a small chapel built by Fr Peter Serrao on a land of 43 cents purchased and donated to the Church by 14 families. Twice a month Sunday Mass was celebrated then and Sunday catechism was taught to the children under the guidance of the parish priest. 1.5 acres of land was added in the later years. In due course Mass was celebrated on every Sunday together with catechism classes taken by the sisters except on first Sunday of the month.
Under the leadership of Fr Apolinaris Crasta a new and spacious chapel was built in Komangala and was blessed on the 9th of November 2006. In April 2015 new cemetery was established on 46 cents of land donated by the local Christians. The decennial year of the new chapel building was celebrated on the 9th of November 2016 with colourful solemnity. From then onwards the Sunday Mass is celebrated every Sunday including first Sunday of month. Three wards from three different parishes are members of this chapel. Votepadpu Ward of Vorkady parish with 19 families, Chippar Ward of Vijayadka parish with 17 families and Kalai Ward of Miyapadav parish with 8 families belong to Komangala.

Families to Bola and Mudipu: With the establishment of new parishes of Mudipu in 1997 and Bola in 2006 the parish boundaries of extensive Vorkady parish were re-demarcated. There have been discussions and efforts to re-demarcate the parish boundaries of Vorkady near Mudipu and Bola for number of years. But the willingness of some families to move into new parishes and the unwillingness of some others to move into new parishes, the process of re-demarcation took number of years. In the year 2006, 40 families of Vorkady were officially transferred to Bola. But after deeper study and wider discussions, a new decree was issued by the Bishop of Mangalore on the 10th of August 2011. Accordingly 14 families of Udanabettu St Antony Ward, 20 families of Kedumbady Mother Teresa Ward and 6 families of Kalimanja St Luke Ward joined Bola parish. 7 families of Thimmangur I St Peter Ward from Nachirapadavu-Kootathaje and 10 families of Thimmangur II Rosario Ward from Kananthur, Nandarapadavu and Boddodi joined Mudipu parish. Three families from Sunnangala and Bornody joined Bola parish in August 2016.

Bajalakaria Infant Jesus Chapel: In the year 2000 on the occasion of 2000th year after the birth of Jesus (Yesu Christha Jayanthi 2000), there was a suggestion by the parish priest Fr Apolinaris Crasta to think of some permanent memorial of the Jubilee. Giving a serious thought to this suggestion the members of Nadibail, Thimmangur and Kalimanja Wards joined together to put up a small grotto of Infant Jesus in Bajalakaria, three KMs away from Vorkady church. Feeling the scarcity of the place for novena prayers on Sundays, the localites put up a bigger chapel in 2011 in the name of Infant Jesus on 2 cents of land donated by Denis D’Souza. As there was pending work with regard to grotto, the local shrine committee referred the grotto to the Parish Pastoral Council in 2015. After having taken up the responsibility of the grotto by the Parish Pastoral Council, the local trust members have handed over the land as well as grotto to the parish of Sacred Heart of Jesus, Vorkady. Every Sunday the local devotees come to the chapel for Novena to Infant Jesus. Number of vehicle drivers and travellers have experienced special grace through the little Infant Jesus Shrine of Bajalakaria.

Twin Jubilees of the Parish: The year 1898 is a historical year in the history of Vorkady as the celebration of Holy Mass was begun that year in Vorkady by the priests coming from Panir which is 18 KMs away from this place. As to mark the 100 years of the celebration of Mass in Vorkady, the parishioners of Vorkady with able animation of Fr Peter Serrao, had three days centenary from 27th to 29th of December 1997. The first day was celebrated as seniors’ day, the second day was the family day and the third day was the jubilee valedictory. The jubilee witnessed the presence of Most Rev. Dr Alphonse Mathias, the Archbishop of Bangalore, Most Rev. Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, the Bishop of Mangalore, Shri Kayyara Kinhanna Rai, the poet and author of national awards and many more socio-religious-political leaders. The seven story belfry was built to remember the Jubilee year. The Vorkady church was officially established as an independent parish on the 26th of August 1910. As there was already a solemn jubilee in 1997, the centenary of the parish was celebrated in simpler form on the 30th of December 2010.

Parish Vocations: There is no record of former diseased priests, religious and brothers who hail from Vorkady parish. Neither there is any information from any parish families about such members in their families. Presently there is definite information about priests and religious hailing from this parish and who work in different places.
Presently altogether 22 priests, sisters and seminarians hail from this parish. Among them two are priests- Fr Frederick D’Souza OFM Cap. (With the demarcation of new parish boundaries he becomes the member of Bola parish) and Fr Felix Monteiro SJ, a Jesuit. One Pallotine, one Capuchin and two Don Bosco (SDB) seminarians perceive their studies and are being formed in different stages of priestly formation. There are 7 Ursuline Franciscan Sisters (UFS), 4 Bethany Sisters (BS), two Charity Sisters (SCCG), two Helpers of Mount Rosary Sisters (HMR) and one Jesus and Mary Sister (CJM).

Vorkady Today: The extensive parish of Vorkady has been brought to a little less distance with new demarcation of parish boundaries of Mudipu and Bola parishes in 1997 and 2006. Even then this is the second biggest parish amidst 13 parishes of Kasaragod deanery. The 398 families have been divided into 14 wards. Two chapels of Komangala and Bajalakaria are centers to celebrate the faith in localities. Three schools of St Joseph’s AUP School Kaliyur, Kapiri ALP School Vorkady and St Mary’s English Medium School cater to the educational needs of the locality. Ursuline Sisters of three Convents are involved in multi-pastoral spheres. The St Vincent De Paul Society established in 1992 is actively involved in silver Jubilee year. The Catholic Sabha, Legion of Mary Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM), The Parish Coir Group, Young Christian Students (YCS), Alter Boys Sodality and Marian Sodality for children are creatively involved through number of socio-religious activities. All the Wards come together, pray, reflect the word of God and respond to the needy through Small Christian Communities. Rony D’Souza Pada is the active Vice President and Jayaprakash D’Souza is the smiling Secretary of the Parish Pastoral Council. All the parishioners have joined together and have planned for a new church building to be completed in the years to come.

Sources used to construct parish history:


  • 1. ‘Defiant Submission’, A History of the Diocese of Mangalore, Volume II by Rev. Dr Devadatta Kamath S.J. with Rev. Dr Pius Fidelis Pinto, 2014.
  • 2. Souvenir of Centenary Jubilee of the celebration of Mass in Vorkady, 1997.
  • 3. Platinum Jubilee Souvenir of the Catholic Board Education of the Diocese of Mangalore, 2007.
  • 4. ‘Kurpechim Paulam’ Post-centenary Jubilee Souvenir of the Diocese of Mangalore, 2012.
  • 5. Bishops’ Decrees with regard to the parishes of Vorkady, Miyapadavu, Karady-Vijayadka, Mudipu and Bola.
  • 6. Minutes of the meetings of Parish Pastoral Council of Vorkady Parish.
  • 7. Sunday publication books and Parish archives of Vorkady Parish.

Parish Council (Govlik Mandali)

Rev. Fr Francis Rodrigues(President)

Rony D'Souza
(Vice President)

Jayaprakash D'Souza(Secretary)

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