A Humble Beginning
Initially the Catholic community of Vadgaon Sheri belonged to the Sacred Heart Parish, Yerwada. For convenience of the people, Sunday Mass was celebrated in Shanti Ashram Chapel, Vadgaon Sheri. Later when the number grew bigger the Mass was shifted to Stella Maris School Hall in the same campus which became a ‘Mass Centre’.
Seeing the inconvenience of the people to go to Yerwada parish, the Society of St. Ursula in their Chapter held in 1985 decided to give the portion of their land beyond the existing Nalla to the Diocese of Poona for a Parish Centre. Bishop Valerian D’Souza, the then Bishop of Poona was very happy and grateful for this offer.
On the erection of St. Francis de Sales Parish, Shanwadi in the year 1988, Vadgaon Sheri became part of this new parish. Priests from Shanwadi Parish celebrated Sunday Mass at Stella Maris School Hall and also catered to the spiritual needs of the people. Catechism classes were held in the School Hall after Mass and were managed by the sisters and the Fransalian Seminarians along with choir practices.
Moment of Bliss
In the year 2004, Bishop Valerian D’Souza, announced the decision to carve out a new parish in Vadgaon Sheri. Rev. Fr. George D’Souza was appointed to take care of the spiritual needs of the people who explored possibilities of constructing a new Parish Church on the land donated by the Ursuline sisters. Fr. George lived in a rented house nearby and celebrated daily Mass in Shanti Ashram Chapel and Sunday Mass in Stella Maris School Hall. He did all he could to cater to the spiritual and pastoral needs of the people of Vadgaon Sheri and build them into a close knit and loving parish community. He strove to raise funds for the construction of the new Church. To the joy of everyone, the Parish was named “Divine Mercy Centre”. It gave the people immense joy and drew them closer to the Merciful Heart of Jesus.
Thousand Helping Hands
In addition to the regular catechism classes a youth group, Mahila Mandal, Vincent de Paul Society, Couples for Christ, SCCs in different areas, and a good parish choir were all functioning well. Since the land still belonged to the Society of St. Ursula, the church was built as part of Stella Maris School campus. The approach road was another hurdle which was overcome when the road was completed in 2008.
Fr. George was transferred and Fr. Julian Misquita was appointed as Parish Priest. The blessing and inauguration of the Church was done on 21st June 2008. I feel overjoyed for the Chapter decision in 1985 which I believe was the working of the Holy Spirit. The people of Vadgaon Sheri can now be proud to have their own Church, and the Diocese can be prouder still to have a Church dedicated to the Divine Mercy.
Today I see the Divine Mercy Church vibrant and teeming with activities, and my heart rises to Almighty God in praise and thanksgiving. The Church enters its 10th year of existence which is surely a matter to Celebrate. My heartiest congratulations to Fr. Malcolm, Fr. Vivek, the previous parish Fathers and all the parishioners. May all those who enter the portals of Divine Mercy Church truly experience the peace, joy and mercy of the Lord.
Sr. Rekha is the former Provincial of The Society of St. Ursula. At the moment she is the Superior of Shanti Ashram Community in Vadgaon Sheri, Pune.