Antique Photo of the St. Anthony Church, Vankola (Courtesy Walter Murzello)
For three centuries, Vankola formed part of the Kalina
Parish which was founded in 1606. It was only in 1914 that through the
initiative of Fr. C. A. Abreo who was at
During the seven long years from 1914 to 1921 mass was offered in a small hut in the village for the benefit of the predominantly farmer population who owned vast fields to the north of the village, which too like everywhere else were either acquired by the government or which the village people were compelled to sell off by the land sharks, all outsiders who were flooding Bombay. Practically all the villagers had relatives (brothers, sisters, in-laws) either at Kallina or at Vile Parle.
There was a small pond (one may call it) right in front of the Church, which was filled up in 1958 by Fr. Ayres Fernandes and this helped the extension and renovation of the church in 1960. As Santa Cruz East started growing rapidly a further extension that doubled the size of the Church was carried out in 1967 by Fr. Alfred Augiar.
With the increase in population of Catholics Fr. Mendes, a good administrator was appointed as the resident Priest in charge in 1937. With his good work he slowly led the place as a separate an autonomous Parish of St. Anthony's Vankola on
The Church was remodeled in 1977 to suit the changed liturgical norms to promote an atmosphere of greater prayer and worship. Today St. Anthony is one of the largest parish in the Archdiocese in terms of catholic population, which is now around 23,000 souls. With the increase of the catholic population sub centers were created, one at Prabat Colony between the highway and the Railway Station and the other at Yogiraj Ashram near the University Campus.
The purely East Indian population
was surpassed due to the heavy influx of Catholics from outside the state of
To the south of the village were a
few fields and marshy lands reaching right up to the
What the parish still lacks is a cemetery of its own to bury their dead, to this end no one seems to have done anything.
Courtesy: Teddie Rodrigues
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