A Chapel In The Valley

Seeds of faith are sown in our childhood and our chapel dedicated to the Mother of God has most surely contributed to my vocation as an ordained minister. Summer holidays were always Goa bound and Sunday mornings were special. My grandmother, Maria Ermila or my parents, Edmund and Winifred would accompany me and my siblings to this little chapel which seemed lost in the middle of nowhere.  Little feet always make the journey seem long; not so now that I have all grown up. Dressed in Sunday best, the journey to the chapel was a bit of an adventure. You had to pass innumerable homes, way side freshly painted white crosses, the village ‘posro’ and finally a short cut past the primary school. The massive trees along the road to Sunday mass made it seem like a trudge through a forest and after what seemed eternity, behold there was the chapel.

For an English speaking city boy, Konkani was like some alien language but the singing at mass was something special. The old violin creaked but struck up some powerful music and from nowhere the Chapel exploded with heavenly voices. It seemed that God had given the Goans melodious voice. For a little child who loved music, this was special and while the never ending homily finally wound down, my favourite part of the mass took centre space; the intercessions.  Well those were the days the ‘doyal bapa’ was sung and it was the only Konkani I knew. With great enthusiasm I would lend my voice to the singing, somehow convinced that God had heard my petition too.

It was in April 2000 that I returned to the chapel; this time as a newly ordained priest, the oil of ordination still fresh on my hand. I had come to Goa to celebrate a thanksgiving mass and to offer it especially for my departed grandparents, Edward D’Souza (Guido) and Maria Ermila. This was something that was set upon my heart, while my grandmother was still alive, in the hope that she would be around.  Now that she had passed away I decided to celebrate the mass at the Holy Family Church in Alto Porvorim. But as they say, man proposes and God disposes. No sooner than I arrived in Goa after my ordination, news reached us that Adriano from the village had passed away, his funeral mass was to be held in the Chapel in Paeton. And so it was, the first mass that I was to celebrate was to be in our beloved chapel.

My last trip to the chapel was two years ago and this was to have a closer look at this magnificent chapel. Having been appointed the convenor for the preservation of the Artistic and Historic Patrimony of the Church and as director of the Archdiocesan Heritage Museum, something that I was so proud to set up; I wanted to have a closer look at this tiny chapel with its imposingly beautiful pulpit. The tiny side door was opened by Jacint, someone who holds all the oral traditions of the chapel well secured in his mind. He tells the story of the chapel’s two hundred and fifty years history as one who has known its blessings first hand.  Up in the choir loft he revealed some beautiful painted panels that got my heart skipping; albeit in need of great restoration. The pulpit and reredos were magnificently maintained and nestled below it was THE bench; the very bench I sat upon as a child. Happy memories flooded my heart with gratitude to God; for He had kept me faithful in a place that once filled me with faith.

Fr Warner D’Souza

Spread the love ♥

You might also like

3 thoughts on “A Chapel In The Valley”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *