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Goethals News Bulletin
Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, Kolkata
Vol. X I No. 2 Bulletin April-June 2008

News Update | Articles | Researchers | New Arrivals | Mails & Emails

Church is a place of worship or house of worship where a group of people (a congregation) comes to pray or perform acts of religious praise, honour or devotion. The form and function of religious architecture has evolved over thousands of years for both changing beliefs and architectural style. In Christianity, some “private” places of worship are called chapels, while major public ones are designated by a term reflecting its ecclesiastical status, such as cathedral (seat of a diocesan bishop), basilica, or minster.

Different religions have different names for their places of worship

Bahai House of Worship - Bahai Faith
Buddhist temple - Buddhism
Church - Christianity
Derasar - Jainism
Fire Temple - Zoroastrianism
Gurdwara - Sikhism
Jinja - Shinto
Kingdom Hall - Jeovah’s Witnesses
Mosque - Islam (also referred to by its Arabic name: Masjid)
Pathi - Ayyavazhi
Synagogue - Judaism


Heritage Churches

  Bandel Basilica of Most Holy Rosary
  Calcutta St. Patrick's Church
  Calcutta St. John Evangelist Church
  Calcutta St. Francis Xavier's Church
  Calcutta Queen Of Peace Church
  Calcutta St. Thomas Church
  Calcutta Our Lady Of Dolours Church
  Calcutta St. Teresa's Church
  Calcutta Shrine Of Our lady Of Fatima
  Calcutta Church Of Christ The King
  Calcutta Auxilium Church
  Calcutta Cathedral Of The Most Holy Rosary
  Calcutta Prabhu Jisu Girja
  Calcutta Stella Maris Church
  Chandannagar Sacred Heart Church
  Dum Dum St. Patrick's Church
  Howrah Our Lady Of Happy Voyage Church
  Howrah Nirmala Mata Maria Girja
  Kidderpore St. Ignatius Church
  Lenin Sarani Sacred Heart Of Jesus Church
  Market Street St. Joseph's Chapel
  Weston Street Sacred Heart Chinese Chapel


Heritage Churches of Kolkata

Church of Our Lady of Bandel
Bandel, (the name came from the Bengali word "bandar" which means "port") appears to have been the port of Hooghly at the time of Portuguese and Mughals. The only relics of the Portuguese settlement are the Church (Basilica) and the monastery. It is about 2 kms away from the Bandel railway station.

The present church and monastery are said to be built in 1660 by Gomez de Soto having the key stone of the old church bearing the date 1599 over the eastern gate of the Monastery. In front of the Church stands a ship's mast which was presented by the captain of a vessel which had encountered a storm in Bay of Bengal and was saved by the grace of Virgin Mary. The statue of "Our lady of Happy Voyage" is in the middle of the Church.

Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary, Murghihata
Started in 1797. The main church of the Padroado in Kolkata till 1834, it became the first Parish church of the newly erected Vicariate Apostolic of Bengal. The Salesians, who took over charge from the Jesuits in 1921, handed it over to the Diocesan Clergy in 1972. The Cathedral Annexe was built in 1979.

St. Thomas' Church, Middleton Row
In December 1841, when Mother M. Delphine Hart and her intrepid band of 11 Loreto nuns arrived in Calcutta from Ireland, they were housed in "a splendid three-storied mansion, Number 5, Middleton Row, a noble building. Earlier occupants of the building included Henry Vansittart, Governor of Bengal (1760-64), Sir Elijah Impey, First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at Calcutta (1774-82) and from 1824, the Second Anglican Bishop of Calcutta, Bishop Heber.

On January 10, 1842, Loreto House School was opened in this building. Meanwhile, the construction of St. Thomas' Church, on the same premises had begun from November 11, 1841. The Catholic Archbishop of Calcutta, Mgr. Carew, also constructed a residence for himself next to the church and at the doorstep of Loreto House. This building was then known as St. Thomas' House. The only original buildings on the premises now are St. Thomas' Church and a part of the building where the college was first established.

St. Joseph’s Church, Raghabpur
Fr. Zubiburu, a Spanish Carmelite with the support of Mr. Crow the then District Magistrate of 24 Parganas, made the first Catholic effort in the area in 1841. But after seven years of work it was abandoned. The mission was started again in 1868.

Fr. Deplace SJ. was considered as the founder of Raghabpur Catholic Mission. In the year 1876 he started living at Raghabpur. At the time of his coming at Raghabpur, there were already 250 Catholic families living in and around Raghabpur.

In the year 1877, he established three small Churches for the Catholic community. In the same year a primary school was opened at Raghabpur. In 1885, the Catholic Mission became a parish. In 1890 Fr. De Prins S.J. built the present Church. In 1893 two boarding's were opened, one for the boys and another for the girls.

The period from 1876 to 1930 was the period of hope and despair. On the one hand, the mission was expanding but on the other hand natural calamities like famine, flood and disease were common occurrence. Very often it was not clear, whether the people had come to the Mission for spiritual needs or for material needs.

The period from1930 to 1954 was the period of consolidation in which the newly converted Catholics were given instructions to become good Catholics. The period from 1954 to 1970 was the time of expansion and construction. The number of Catholics increased. A good number of mission stations with church centers were established. In 1968 Keorapukur was bifurcated from Raghabpur and canonically erected as a Parish.
(Kaikhali Chapel built in 1841, 16 miles South of Calcutta)

The period from 1970 to 2005 was the period of growth in spiritual, and educational field. In 1977 Baruipur became a diocese. In 1991 the Mission celebrated its 1501h anniversary and the Church celebrated its centenary. The school was recognized and upgraded by the Government of West Bengal to 6th standard in 1983, to 8th standard in 1987, to 10th standard in 1990 and to 12th standard in 1999. During this period, many other parishes emerged, Keorapukur in 1968, Kalyanpur and Thakurpukur in 1971, Baruipur in 1987, and Sajnaberia in 2000. St. Joseph's Catholic Church is the oldest Catholic Church in 24 Parganas (S) District of West Bengal. According to the census of 2005 it has a Catholic population of 5812 of which 2678 are in Raghabpur and the rest are in eight sub stations such as Gostomath, Hogolkuria, Salpukur, Debipur, Balarampur, Chak Rosul Mammud, Keordangi and Nursikdarchak.

Church of Our Lady of Dolours, Boitakhana
Founded in 1810 as parish of the Padroado, It has a shrine of Mother of Mercy.

St. Francis Xavier’s Church, Bow Bazar
A chapel was built in 1844, which was badly damaged by the 1897 earthquake. The foundation stone for the new church was laid by the then Archbishop Goethals on the 12th April 1898. Blessing of the Church was on 7th June 1900. It became Parish on 2nd December 1903.

St. Teresa of Avila Church was formerly built in 1889. Fr. C. Hogger SJ was the Parish priest then. The foundation stone of the present church was laid on 28th December 1895. The church was blessed by Msgr. Goethals on 22nd April 1897. The Parish was canonically established on 25th April 1897. This church was later renovated and made two storied exactly after hundred years on 25th April 1997 under the supervision of Fr. Vincent Lobo. The blessing of the new church was done by Mother Teresa.

St. Patrick’s Church, Dum Dum
Church built in 1823, partly with the help of Irish Fusiliers, partly by contribution from Kolkata Catholics led by Mr. Joseph Baretto; initially intended for Irish soldiers stationed at Dum Dum with resident military chaplain. Now a full parish with resident priest since 1955. A presbytery was constructed by Msgr. Leander D’Costa, and was blessed on 17th March 1987.

Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Dharamtala
The foundation stone was laid on the 12 February 1832, and the church was solemnly blessed on Easter Sunday, the 30th March 1834. A Parish of the Padroado, it became a parish of the Vicariate in 1844. The Church was renovated and re-dedicated on 3rd October 1971.

St. John’s Church, Sealdah
The first chapel, called the Cemetery Chapel was built in 1902 and was canonically erected as a parish in 1903. its original purpose was a railway chaplaincy. From 1st January 1970, Kanchrapara with 150 Catholics was detached from the parish and joined to its original parish of Barrackpore. From 1972 Asha Niketan was housed in the Presbytery till 1990. After that Missionaries of Charity Sisters Contemplative branch took over the presbytery in April, 1990.

St. Ignatius Church, Kidderpore
It was founded in 1911. For many years the Kidderpore area was looked after by the Military Chaplain of Fort William, residing first at St. Xavier’s College up to 1871, then at Hastings from 1871 to 1891 and in the old Kidderpore Presbytery on Ekbalpore Road from 1897. In 1904 the central room of the Presbytery was arranged into a Chapel. Fr. Hipp built the Church in 1910 and it was blessed in 1911.

Carmel of Christ the King Chapel, Outram Street
Four sisters from the Carmel of Mont sur Marchienene, Belgium arrived in Kolkata in November 1935. Their convent was not yet ready; so they enjoyed the kind hospitality of the Daughters of the Cross at St. Vincent's Home, Kidderpore, for 18 months. On June 28, 1937, Mother Prioress, 3 professed sisters and 3 postulants left Kidderpore for the beautiful convent of Christ the King which His Grace Msgr. Perier had prepared for them at 4 Outram Street.

His Grace received them at the gate and in a few touching words bade them take formal possession of their new home. "Here you will serve God in peace and solitude" said Msgr. Perier. "Pray for the conversion of sinners and implore God's blessings on the labours of our missionaries and our active religious. Here you will offer reparation for sins that are daily committed in this large city, and by your holy lives, you will co-operate with all those that toil for the establishment of Christ's Kingdom in Bengal".



Fr. Felix Raj SJ, was conferred the First Catholic Association of Bengal (CAB) Community Development Award along with four other awardees: Archbishop Henry D’souza, Frs. Rosario Stroscio SDB, Louis Gobetti SDB and Sr. Cyril Mooney IBVM on Saturday, April 19, 2008 at 5.00 pm at a public function held at Don Bosco School, Kolkata.

His Eminence Telesphore P. Cardinal Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi was the Chief Guest and presented the awards in the presence of His Grace Archbishop Lucas Sirkar SDB of Kolkata. The award carried a silver plaque and a cash prize of Rs 5,000/-.

Accepting the honour, Fr. Felix Raj said, “I must express my unworthiness to this great honour. What I am doing is just a drop in the ocean. But I feel happy and overjoyed when I experience that this drop is not the only drop. There are numerous ones.

He accepted the award in the name of his team members and the underprivileged children whom he strives to serve. The CAB’s appreciation and encouragement will surely make us march forward with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. I always remember what Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of these brothers and sisters, you do unto me”, he added.

The Catholic Association of Bengal acknowledged the altruistic contributions of this wonderful priest, educationist and economist who quietly resonates young minds with sounds of education, empowerment and enlightenment.

St John's Church,
originally a cathedral, was among the first public buildings to be erected by the East India Company after Kolkata became the effective capital of British India.

It dates from 1787. The overgrown graveyard here has a number of interesting monuments, including the octagonal mausoleum of Job Charnock, founder of Calcutta, who died in 1692. Admiral Watson, who supported Clive in retaking Calcutta from Siraj-ud-daula, is also buried here.

(Mausoleum of Job Charnock)

The obelisk commemorating the black hole was moved from near the GPO to a corner of this graveyard. It was constructed between 1784 - 87, at a cost of Rs. 2 lakhs. Based on Greek architecture and designed by Lt. James Agg, the graceful Church is made entirely of stone. It is the earliest example of British masonry in India. Near the west wall is a replica of the Holwell Monument - originally erected at the site of the Black Hole of Calcutta.

Inside the church there are the famous paintings of The Last Supper by John Zoffany, a marvellous stained glass window and memorial tablets of prominent citizens through the ages.

St. Paul's Cathedral
The foundation for St. Paul's Cathedral was laid in 1839 largely due to the efforts of Bishop Wilson. In 1847 it was consecrated as the first Episcopal Church of the Orient. Its Indo-Gothic architecture is credited to Major W.N. Forbes. An earthquake destroyed the original 61-m. high tower in 1897. After restoration, it was again destroyed by another earthquake. Finally, it was rebuilt as a replica of the Bell Harry Tower of Canterbury Cathedral.

The church is 247 ft. in length and 81 ft. in width and the tower is 201 ft. high. The Cathedral is set within huge grounds with several ancient trees. The interim of the church is a feast for the eyes, with excellent floral designs on the walls. Beautiful architecture and exquisite mural painting captivates the beholder. The life and work of St. Paul is vividly described in pictures. Bishop Wilson lies in his eternal rest in a coffin inside an underground chamber. The commission plate conferred on him by Queen Victoria is still exhibited here. The ambience of the church is very soothing and tranquil.

Armenian Church
Armenian Church is located in Armenian Street, at the north-west corner of Barabazaar, near Howrah Bridge in Kolkata.

Built in 1764, designed in the early 18th century, the Armenian Church is today the oldest extant church in Kolkata. Three oil paintings - 'The Holy Trinity', 'The Last Supper' and 'The Enshrouding of Our Lord' - by the English artist A E Harris also adorn the altar. Remains of the Armenian cemetery can be seen in the premises.

The Armenian Christians have been staying in India since remote antiquity. They claim to have arrived in India before the British. On 22nd June, 1688, the East India Co. had entered into a contract with the Armenians in Europe. As per the contract, the East India Co. was supposed to construct a church in all corners of India where a minimum of 40 Armenians would inhabit. The EIC would also grant 50 pounds to the appointed priest as his remuneration.

A Jewish Synagogue
A Jewish Synagogue in Kolkata is situated in canning street, very close to Barabazar.

This is the place of worship for the Jews. Previously, this place saw the existence of a temple of the Jews named as 'Nevch Salome' Later on, that gave way to the 'Makhan David' Synagogue. Built by Mr. Elias David Joseph Esra to perpetuate the memory of his father, Mr. David Joseph Ezra who died in 1882. This is the largest Synagogue in the East and is magnificent in architecture and design.

It was opened to the public in 1884. The tower of the synagogue offers a splendid view of the city. It is 140 ft. in length and 82 ft. in width. The tower bears a marvelous sight with a clock fitted to it.

An Economic Festschrift


A festschrift in honour of Prof. Raj Kumar Sen, titled Indian Economy: Economic Ideas, Development and Financial Reforms was released on the 30th of March 2008. The volume, consisting of twenty-six research papers, is compiled and edited by Dr. Fr. J. Felix Raj, S.J. A unique feature of this festschrift is that the authors of the various essays in the volume belong to the common category of research scholars of Prof. R. K. Sen and all these essays are indicative of their respective areas of research.

The book release function was graced by His Grace, Lucas Sircar, Archbishop of Kolkata as Chief Guest. Prof. Asis Banerjee, Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University presided over the function. Other personalities included Fr. George Ponodath, S.J., Rector of St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, Prof Alok Ghosh, a noted economist and Dr. S.S. Kothari, former MP. The Archbishop congratulated the scholars on their efforts and encouraged research in the field of Economics as he deemed it “essential and instrumental in the growth of the nation”.

Prof Asis Banerjee observed “It is probably one of the very rare occasions on which research scholars of a mentor have come together to publish their theses in honour of their Guide”. He also commented on the efforts of the scholars “which provide a possible solution to the economic problems of our nation”. While Fr Ponodath expressed his appreciation for the diversity of the topics covered in the book, Prof Alok Ghosh congratulated Prof Sen on his excellent guidance and praised the editor, Fr. Raj for taking on the mammoth task of going through large theses, condensing it and making it more easily comprehendible.

Fr. Felix Raj thanked the dignitaries and all present at the function particularly the research scholars for their cooperation.

The book is published by Deep & Deep Publications Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi and is priced at Rs. 1500/-.


New Arrivals

  • A Jaywalker’s Guide to Calcutta by Das, Soumitra, Eminence Designs Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai, 2007.

  • Developmental Issues of North East India by Konar, D. N. & Chakrabarti, Subhabrata, Akansha Publishing House, New Delhi, 2008.

  • Dnarao Pathikbar by Bandhopadhyay Ruma, Sekh Alla-Uddin, The Allgraph, Kolkata, 2007.

  • Growth and Development of Tourism in India by Mishra, Ananta Mohan & Konar, D. N. Akansha Publishing House, New Delhi, 2008.

  • Incomparable India by Blackham, Robert J. Rajat Printographics, New Delhi, 2007.

  • Indica by Heras Institute, Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture, New Delhi, 2007.

  • Mother Teresa by (Ed.) Kolodiejchuk, Brian M. C., Doubleday, New York, 2007.

  • Political Culture of the Migrant by Chaudhuri, Subrata, Standard Book Publications, 2005.

  • Swami Vivekananda by Basu, Shankariprasad, Ananda Publishers Pvt. Ltd. Kolkata, 2005.

  • Tagore and Radhakrishnan by Mukherjee Jaya, Janaki Prakashan, Patna, 1992.

  • The Faith Tradition by Pereira Francis, ISPCK, Delhi, 2007.


Researchers at the Goethals

Dr. Jayati Gupta, Kolkata, on British Travellers to India.

Dr. Kana Kitazawa, Japan, on British Raj and its Cultural Inheritance in Calcutta.

Fr. Arockiasamy. J, Barrackpore, on Catholic Missionaries and the Santals

Fr. Louis Francken SJ, Ranchi, on History of Jesuit Mission in Ranchi.

Mr. Chandan Chaudhuri, on St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta.

Mr. Choi Jong Hwan (Peter), Korea, on Pastoral.

Mr. Iftekhar Ahsan, Kolkata, on Calcutta / St. Xavier’s College.

Mr. Muktidan Bag, Raidighi, on Indian Theologian - R. C. Das.

Ms. Maitreyee Choudhury, on Rural Bengal and Tibet.


Mails & EMails

Goethals library is absolutely a wonderful place, must be made more accessible to the public, especially tourists.
Mr. Iftekhar Ahsan
, Kolkata.

We were really impressed by the kind support of your staff and the precious collection. We would like to come again next year.
Dr. Kana Kitazawa. JAPAN.

This Library is an Asset to the Bengal Church and Society. The historical sources are enormous and very essentially helpful for the research scholars.
Fr. Arockiasamy. J, Barrackpore.

I am grateful for the periodical you send me, which I do read from cover to cover. The articles are most brilliant and give food for thought. I am delighted to receive them. And my friends devour the articles. We often sit together and meditate on them especially the ones of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay. They were creatively attracting.

The model-spirituality for life and leadership is excellent and inspiring, the practical lessons presented, provide encouragement and sustenance while treading the path indicated. This has therapeutic value resulting in a happier frame of mind. If each and every citizen and reader follows intensely all that is written and interiorizes them, this entire planet will become a more joyous place to live in.

The Church owes a lot to you for your creative innovative thinking and enlightened knowledge. By following and imbibing what you write, we would certainly achieve mystic transcendence, the eternal gaze of absolute beauty, truth and goodness, growth in fervent love (Peter 4:8) beatific vision, generous tolerance, fearless strength, unique expressions of Absolute God, creators of unity, builders of peace, ambassadors of good will, icons of Nazareth, contagious gratitude, generous sweetness, positive life patterns, love shared wisdom, and all the best things in life.
Dr. Swami Garfield Jansen, Coimbatore

Thank you for sending the Goethals News. I have been wanting to know about Spirituality and your newsletter has given what I wanted. I shall be interested to read more about the subject and can you one or two books on the subject.
Bijoy Kumar Bhuyahn, Assam.

Congratulations for bringing out The Goethals News. Your model of Spirituality is good... Glad to learn that you have compiled and edited "Indian Economy: Economic Ideas, development and Financial Reforms".

It was very kind of you to give me a copy of the title "Indian Economy" edited by you - an Economic festschrift to Prof. Raj Kumar Sen and also the Jan.-Mar. 2008 issue of Goethals News.

I am deeply impressed by your article "Spirituality for Life and Leadership".
Dr. K. M. Bhattacharya, Mumbai.


Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, St. Xavier’s, 30 Mother Teresa Sarani, Kolkata-700 016, India.
Tel: 0091-33-2280 1919; email: goethals@vsnl.com  Web-site: www.goethals.in 
Director: Dr. Fr. Felix Raj, SJ; Staff: Mr. Sunil Mondol and Debu Mondal.



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