came to Belman from Coondapur, the same place to which Fr. Peter was
transferred on a temporary assignment. Due to ill health, he did not
undertake any major work and was transferred within eleven months.
Phase - Full pledged parish.
This is the stage in which the Belman parish blossomed. As the priests were
taking interest in the well-being of the parishioners, the Christian families
fashioned in all respect.The most important feature of this era was that of
the construction of the present church. There are many reasons doing so.
could not meet the needs of a growing catholic population. It was dangerous
to hold public gatherings in the chapel as its roof had become weak and was
on the verge of falling down. So, on 24th December 1922 the foundation stone
for the construction of a new church was laid. The contractor of the church
was Mr. Monthu Silva of Udyavar.
The people of Belman contributed about Rs.16,000/- and the remaining money
was collected by Fr. Denis Lewis from outside the parish and diocese. Finally
the new church was blessed on 2nd May 1933 by Rt. Rev. Dr. V.R. Fernandes,
the then Bishop of Mangalore. But not all the work of the new church was
completed. Only the sanctuary and main alter were plastered. The three
portions of the church remained unbuilt.
During this phase, a decree was published dated 23rd December 1914. According
to this decree, the boundaries between the parishes of Belman, Kirem,
Kinnigoly and the future parish of Bolkunje were defined.
Rev.Fr. Denis Lewis (1914 - 1934)
simple priest who knew no rest was the parish priest of Belman for 20 years.
He raised the existing elementary school to a higher elementary school and
appointed his nephew, Mr. Joseph Vas, as the Head Master. The spacious building
which housed the present school was constructed by him. He started another
elementary school, "Little Flower", at Abbanadka within the
confines of the Belman parish. As the existing cemetery was small and in
disorder, Fr. Lewis designed and got construction a large and decently walled
cemetery. He started a choir group for the first time. Fr. Apoline Mathias
was acting Vicar of Belman for about a month.
Rev.Fr. P.L. Bothelho (1934 - 1957)
charge of the parish on 27th May 1934 and spent 23 memorable years in Belman.
He was a great orator, singer and musician. Above all, he was a great Konkani
poet. The collection of his poems in the form of a book, "Kavyam
Zelho", has become a best seller.
He got constructed a Lourdes Grotto. For the first time, he organized a
five-days retreat. He fortified the front façade of the church and got built
the three porticos - in the front and on both sides. The parish house was
repaired and the portico was added.
schools, which were run by the parish priests, were transferred to the
Catholic Board of Education on 30th July 1934 for better educational
facilities. He got constructed a bridge between the parish house and the
church sacristy. The front steps of the church were built by him. The
boundary wall with two gates were also built by him. The interior of the
church was plastered and colour windows were provided. The belfry was
constructed which was kindly donated by Mr. M. Mendonca and a new bell was
It was during this era that the Belman parish was assigned an Assistant
Parish Priest. Thus, priests were in the beginning, Head Masters of the
school and / or looking after the day functioning of the school.
1. Fr. Jerome D'Souza, Head Master (10-08-1942 - 10-04-1943)
2. Fr. Ambrose C. Aranha (23-03-1944 - 08-09-1944)
3. Fr. Raymond D'Cunha, Head Master (09-09-1944 - 05-05-1949)
4. Fr. Thomas D'Sa, Head Master (08-05-1949 - 11-05-1954)
5. Fr. Norbert D'Souza (16-05-1954 - 20-04-1957)
Phase - Further Development:
This is the phase in 2which the Belman parish flourished. In this era,
Belmanites became Bishop, priests, doctors, religious, engineers, nurses,
etc. and earned a name for the church and the parish as well.
Another development of the phase is the erection of "St. Antony's
Chapel" at Pakala, Manjarapalke with monthly novena and celebration of
yearly feast on June 13.
The most important development of this era is the creation of a new parish,
Kelmbet (Bola) from Belman parish. A new chapel was erected there, by a
decree dated 11th April 1964. The then Asst. Parish Priest of Belman, Fr.
Gregory D'Souza was appointed as the first parish priest of Kelmbet - St.
John Bosco's parish.
On 21st November 1982, Mukamar was separated from the Belman parish and was
created as a separate parish by a decree dated on 21st November 1982. Fr.
Victor Pinto was the first parish priest.
Rev.Fr. Nicholas J. Pereira (1957 - 1973)
arrived from Miyar, Fr. Pereira took charge of the Belman parish on 24th
April 1957. He had acquired the art of curing people of snake bite.
He got repaired the school building and re-roofed it. Porticos on either
sides of the church were completed. Flooring work of the church was also completed.
The main alter of the church was redone artistically. A new block was added
to the school in 1959. He built and blessed the new chapel at Kelmbet. A new
block was added to the Little Flower School at Abbanadka and upgraded it to
higher elementary school.
the whole house and the church were provided with electricity. The chapel at
Mukamar was built and blessed by him. He started a welfare society in 1971 by
collecting shares. Milk Co-operative Society was started by him. He started
the sodality for the boys and girls.
Rev.Fr. Aloysius Rodrigues (26th May 1973 to 20th May 1978)
Rodrigues arrived from Omzoor and took charge on 26th May 1973.
He started youth club in Belman and continued socio-economic programmes.
Added a new block to the school. He started food-for-work programme. He
started construction of a hall at the school premises but could not complete
it because of his untimely demise on 21st May 1978. His funeral was held at
Belman and he was laid to rest in the church cemetery.
Rev.Fr. Lawrence Gomes (1st July 1978 to 14th May 1986)
arrived from Kadaba and took charge of Belman parish on 1st July 1978. Fr.
Gomes was a strict disciplinarian and he expected the same from his parishioners.
Fr. Rodrigues Memorial Hall was inaugurated and blessed by Rt.Rev.Dr. B.S.
D'Souza, Bishop of Mangalore on 30th August 1978. Benches were provided for
the church. Funeral Hearse and fans were provided. New sound system was
installed. He constructed the present compound wall, dug a new dwelling well
and built an overhead tank and also installed a pump set. He started the
"Mother & Child Health Programme".
was the founder of St. Joseph's High School, Belman. In 1981, the foundation
for the construction of a high school was laid and the work of the ground
floor started. The ground floor was inaugurated by the Bishop of Mangalore,
Rt.Rev.Dr. B.S. D'Souza. The painting of the church, sanctuary, façade and
the belfry was undertaken by him.
11. Rev.Fr. John Fernandes (18th May 1986 to 28th June 1994)
Fernandes took charge of Belman parish on 18th May 1986. He was transferred
from Katapadi parish to Belman parish.
He toiled for 8 years for the development of Belman parish. He undertook the
completion of the construction of the high school building. The first floor
and terrace was constructed. The play ground in front of the high school was
leveled. Sound system was also provided for both high school and the
elementary school. A big new well was dug behind the high school. A new
section was added to the 10th std. During his tenure, the high school got
permanent recognition from the government. New furniture was added to the
higher primary school.
council was revitalized. Changed the liturgy to make it more meaningful for
the active participation of people during the mass. Also started Saturday
Parish house was renovated. Asst. Parish Priest's room was made self
contained. All the steps in the front side of the church were repaired and
cemented. Cemetery was beautified.
The structure of St. Antony's Chapel was improved and the land was purchased
from the government. Started the practice of holding prayer meetings in each
ward. Started a social center - "Manavika" - in Belman, a school
for mentally retarded children.
The parish of Belman celebrated its 100th year jubilee(Centenary Jubilee)
under his leadership and to commemorate this event, a souvenir was released.
During the whole phase, along with the parish priest, the assistant parish
priests were also very active all along. They were:
Gregory D'Souza (March 1958 to 1964): He assisted Fr. Pereira. He was
appointed as parish priest of St. John Bosco Church, Kelmbet, Bola.
2. Fr. J.M. Pereira (15th August 1965 to 20th January 1966): He came to take
rest as he was ailing. He expired during the time at Kankanady and was laid
to rest at Kenha (Mudarangady) church.
3. Fr. R. Moras (16th April 1966 to 15th October 1968): He was transferred to
Neerude parish as parish priest.
4. Fr. Charles Moras (31st April 1969 to 24th April 1971): He was transferred
to the Cathedral church at Mangalore.
5. Fr. Richard Saldanha (22nd April 1971 to 6th December 1974): He assisted
in the erection of the chapel at Mukamar. He was transferred to Padukone as
6. Fr. Andrew Lewis (16th November 1974 to 30th May 1979): He was appointed
as Asst Parish Priest of Belman soon after his ordination. After the demise
of Fr. Rodrigues, Fr. Lewis acted as the parish priest and completed the
construction work of "Fr. A. Rodrigues Memorial Hall". He was
transferred to Pakshikere as parish priest.
7. Fr. Rosario Fernandes (22nd May1980 to 27th June 1983): He was transferred
as the parish priest of Parapady.
8. Fr. Walter D'Mello (9th May 1984 to 25th May 1987): Fr. Walter came to
Belman from Belthangady. This active young priest was the president of
"Belman Jaycees", a service organization. He was transferred as
parish priest of Manipal church on 25th May 1987.
9. Fr. Gerald D'Souza (26th May 1987 to 23rd May 1988): He was also the
director of Belman Youth Club. He was transferred to Kadaba as the parish
10. Fr. Victor George D'Souza (24th May 1988 to 11th June 1990): He came to
Belman as Assistant Parish Priest from Milagres, Mangalore. He was sent for
higher studies in Canon Law to Canada.
11. Fr. Peter D'Souza (7th June 1992 to 24th May 1993): Belman parish was
without Asst. Parish Priest for three years. Fr. Peter was a better organizer
of camps and a good musician too. He was transferred to Jeppu Seminary to
12. Fr. Sylvester D'Costa (14th June 1993 to 19th May 1995): He came from
Valencia, Mangalore. He was transferred to Permannur parish as Asst. Parish
12. Rev.Fr. Thomas D'Souza (28th June 1994 to 31st December 2001)
D'Souza took charge of Belman parish as the Parish Priest on 28th June 1994.
He was transferred from Bondel parish to Belman parish.
Fr. Sylvester D'Costa, Asst. Parish Priest, was transferred to Permannur
parish as Asst. Parish Priest on 19th May 1995. Fr. Michael Santhumayor,
newly ordained priest was appointed as Asst. Parish Priest of Belman parish
on 21st May 1995.
Laid the foundation stone for the "Centenary Memorial Building" of
St. Joseph's H.E. School on 15th August 1995 by Rev.Fr. Cyril D'Souza,
Secretary, Catholic Board of Education, Mangalore.
of the project was Rs.28 lakhs.
Constructed laterite stone compound wall around the high school and higher
primary school premises. The cost was Rs.1,83,000/-.
Conducted charismatic retreat for the parishioners for a week from 17th March
1996 through Rev. Fr. Francis Rebello, S.J.
Extended the building of St. Antony's Shrine at Pakala to provide more space
at the cost of Rs.97,000/-.
Construction work of St. Joseph's Church Commercial Complex started on 22nd
March 1996 in the church property situated near the Belman bus stand. The
parish council decided to give the shops on ownership basis at Rs,.2,75,000/-
per shop which was approved by the Bishop of Mangalore, Rt.Rev. Basil S.
The Government gave recognition to the mentally retarded school - Manavika -
on 26th October 1995.
On 31st December 1996, the St. Joseph's Higher Primary School, Belman,
celebrated its centenary. Rt.Rev. Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza inaugurated
the newly constructed centenary memorial building and presided over the
In May 1997, Fr. Michael Santhumayor was transferred and Fr. Dolphy Monteiro
arrived in his place as Asst. Parish Priest. In August 1997, the commercial
complex and the parish hall were inaugurated in the absence of Rev.Fr. Thomas
D'Souza who was hospitalized.
Having rendered one year's service as asst. parish priest, Fr. Dolphy was transferred
to Narampady as parish priest. Fr. Jerome D'Souza took his place as asst.
parish priest, who was also a teacher in the parish high school. After two
years of teaching in the high school, he was transferred to Pompei Junior
College but he still continued as assistant in this church. Daily, he would
travel to Kirem and return in the evening.
After three years of service in this parish, Fr. Jerome was transferred to
Kinnigoly parish. On 7th May 2002.Fr. Lawrence Mascarenhas arrived as our
asst. Fr. Thomas was often sick and had to be hospitalized. In September,
foundation stone was laid for the mini hall near the church. It was a need of
the parish to have a place for the meetings of the associations and small
gatherings of the parish and parishioners. The work of the construction was
going on under the supervision of Fr. Lawrence. Fr. Thomas was away for long
periods. Fr. Lawrence shouldered the full responsibility of the entire
parish, still as an assistant. Fr. Thomas' health deteriorated and on 31st
December 2001 he breathed his last at 3:00 p.m. at Fr. Muller's Hospital at
Kankanady, Mangalore. The last rites were performed on the 2nd January 2002
at 3:00 p.m. The Bishop of Mangalore, with a large number of priests,
concelebrated the Holy Mass. Thousands of people attended and Fr. Thomas was
laid to rest in Belman church cemetery.
Fr. Lawrence was made in charge parish priest by the Bishop. During lent,
there was a charismatic retreat by Jerry, S.V.D., which was an occasion for
many people to come close to God. On the 17th April, our annual parish feast
On the 19th May, was a simple function inaugurating the mini hall. Fr.
Lawrence himself blessed. That day itself was the elders' day in our parish.
Our elders occupied the hall for the first time. On 25th May 2002, the new
parish priest arrived.
Rev.Fr. Lawrence Rodrigues (25th May 2002 to 1st June 2009)
p.m., the new parish priest took the charge of the Belman parish. The very
next day, Fr. Lawrence Mascarenhas was transferred to Allipade as the parish
priest. On 27th May 2002, Fr. Pascal Menezes arrived to render service in
this parish as an asst.
Fr. Rodrigues took charge of Belman parish when there were still three more
months for him to retired from Pompei Junior College, Kirem, i.e., on 31st
August 2002, at the age of 58. He shuttled between Belman and Kirem daily on
week days for 3 months discharging his duties at both the places.
During the seven years of Vicariate at Belman, Fr. Lawrence was assisted by four
priests. They were:
Pascal Menezes (27th May 2002 to 22nd May 2003). He was with the Fr. Lawrence
for 2 years at Madanthyar and was now recuperating his health at Shirva,
helped as a 'Socius' in Belman for a year. He was a good singer, dynamic and
talented priest and was popular. He was transferred in May 2003 to Parapady
as in charge parish priest.
2. Fr. Praveen Amrith Martis (17th May 2003 to 17th May 2005): Fr. Martis was
a newly ordained priest and was in Belman for two years as an asst. and was
transferred to Bidar in May 2005.
3. Fr. Vijay Lobo (16th May 2005 to 27th May 2007): He was a newly ordained
priest and served the parish as an asst. for two years. Thereafter he was
sent to Manipal church as a resident to do B.Ed. at Udupi.
4. Fr. Rocky Ravi Fernandes (10th May 2007 to 30th May 2009): He was a newly
ordained priest. After serving in Belman as an asst. for two years, was
transferred to Bendur church as an asst. parish priest.
The development activities during the tenure of Fr. Lawrence Rodrigues as
parish priest can be identified as follows:
effort was made to build up the parish community; existing pious
associations, S.V.P., Tersiaries, Alter Boys' and Girls' Sodalities, ICYM,
YCS, Catholic Sabha (were strengthened), and Shthree Sanghatan were
- In lent, annual retreats were conducted; Senior Citizens' Day (for above 65
years) was celebrated; Parish Day was celebrated for the time on 7th December
2008, important persons were honoured, sumptuous dinner was served and an
attractive cultural programme was arranged in the evening.
- Regular Small Christian Community (SCC) meetings were held ward wise.
- Ward feasts and ward picnics were conducted.
- In May 2006, May 2007 and May 2008, ordinations for priesthood were held.
- A socio, economic and educational survey was done personally by the parish
priest in April 2003.
- The church cemetery which was in a bad shape, was given a face-lift by
terracing (creating four layers) in November 2002.
- The Fr. Thomas D'Souza Memorial Mini Hall, adjacent to the presbytery,
started by Fr. Thomas and inaugurated just before the arrival of Fr. Lawrence
in May 2002, had no window and door shutters. They were done at the cost of
more than Rs.40,000/- in spite of financial constraints.
- The roads inside the church compound, leading to the main road were
asphalted at government cost of Rs.1,20,000/-, thanks to the influence of the
parish priest and the then first ever catholic president of Belman Panchayat,
Mr. Xavier D'Mello, on local (Kaup Constituency) M.L.A. and minister, Mr.
- The parish bulletin 'Betkati' was strengthened.
- The entire church building was painted/renovated wherever necessary, at a
cost of Rs.1,60,000/-.
- The church façade and the roof, which were badly damaged by lightning were
repaired at a cost of Rs.1,50,000/-.
" In October 2007, an electricity transformer was installed at cost of
Rs.1,40,000/- after paying heavy penalties imposed by MESCOM and to avoid
- Two adamant tenants were evicted on court order without any relief.
- The new presbytery was inaugurated and blessed by the Bishop of Mangalore
on 10th January 2006. The cost of construction was Rs.45 lakhs. This excludes
the cost of wood; wood was obtained from the seasoned teak and jack trees
from the church compound.
- The newly built adoration chapel, constructed at the cost of Rs.12 lakhs
was blessed by the Bishop of Mangalore on 11th February 2007.
- The newly constructed arch (Mahadwara) in front of the church, sponsored by
Mr. Simon D'Souza of Mumbai (who was born and brought up in Belman) was also
blessed by the Bishop of Mangalore on 11th February 2007.
- The two mahadwaras (Arches) at the northern side of the church and at the
cemetery which were sponsored by Mr. Maxim Mathias, an electrical contractor
in Mumbai (originally from Belman) were inaugurated and blessed on 13th May
2007 on the Platinum Birthday Jubilee Celebration of his mother, Mrs.
Bridgith Mathias, who resided near Belman church.
- In spite of carrying out various projects, the church finance position was
raised. The position as on 31st March 2009 was:
i) Church funds - Rs.13.5 lakhs;
ii) St. Antony's Chapel - Rs.7 lakhs;
iii) Parish bulletin 'Betkati' - Rs.2.58 lakhs;
- A compound wall was built to St. Antony's Chapel, Pakala, Manjarapalke at
the cost of Rs.1,60,000/- during April-May 2004. Monthly novena and annual
feast are being held there.
- The roof of St. Antony's Chapel was renovated at a cost of Rs.90,000/-
during March/April 2003.
- Toilets were built and a bore well was drilled with the provision of pump
set in May 2008 at a cost of Rs.75,000/-.
- Celebration of Silver Jubilee of St. Joseph's High School, Belman, was
observed in November 2007.
- A new block having a kitchen and store room for mid day meal on ground
floor and a computer lab/library on first floor with 12 computers were put up
in St. Joseph's High School, Belman. It was sponsored by Mr. Maxim Mathias of
Rev.Fr. Lawrence B. D'Souza (1st June 2009 to Till date)
Lawrence B. D'Souza, came from Kenha (Mudarangady) parish, and took charge of
Belman parish on 1st June 2009. On the very next day, Fr. Lawrence Rodrigues
left to Yermal, a small parish, because of his failing health.
Fr. Lawrence is a man of few words and deep thinking, smart, self disciplined
and hard working individual.
Born on April 9, 1951 to Late Belchor D'Souza and Mrs. Josephine D'Souza of
Balkunje, he had his primary education in Balkunje, and high school studies
in Kirem. He graduated (B.A.) from St. Aloysius College, Mangalore. In 1966,
he joined St. Joseph's Seminary, Jeppu, Mangalore to become a priest to serve
in the wine yard of Jesus Christ in Mangalore Diocese. On 5th May 1977 he was
ordained as a priest.
After ordination, he was sent to Udyavara (Udupi) as an assistant parish
priest. Later, he served in Indabettu (Bangady) mission center as a
missionary for 7 years. Then he was sent to Taccode (Moodabidri) as a Parish
Priest and he was there for seven years. He has also served in Milagres
(Kallianpur) parish as an assistant.
At this time, he was sent to Belthangady by his superiors to shoulder greater
responsibility as a Vicar Vara of Belthangady Varado, in addition to
Belthangady parish as a Parish Priest. He successfully completed seven years
In 2002, he was asked to take charge of Kenha (Mudarangady) parish as a
Parish Priest, and after serving there for seven years, he took charge of
Belman parish as a Parish Priest effective 2nd June 2009.
He was a better hockey and football player both at the college and at the
seminary. Fr. Lawrence believes in 'simple living and high thinking' besides
being a visionary.