Popular South Goa Churches
St. Andrew’s Church
Church of St. Andrew's the Apostle was founded by the Jesuits in 1570. The inaugural mass was celebrated with great pomp on 5th April in 1570. Adil Shah's soldiers destroyed the original building in 1578. Viceroy Ferrao Teles de Menezes ordered the priests throughout Goa to build beautiful Churches of stone and lime. The church had a magnificent ''facade'' which was destroyed in the year 1950.
A grotto built on the church premises was blessed by Father Jose Antonio Costa and Father Lino Gonsalves. The beautifully decorated grotto has statues of three shepherd children with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima carved in marble. There is also a statue of Joseph Vaz on the east side of the church.
On 30th November, the port town celebrates the feast of St Andrew and the town rejoices and comes together to celebrate the patron saint of spinsters and fishermen.
Church of the Cross of Miracles
The Church of the Cross of Miracles lies on a hill on the southern outskirts of Old Goa. It offers a breathtaking view of Old Goa from the hills. The Church is now completely in ruined state. It was built in 1619. The architectural work of the Church resembles to that of medieval Europe. The Church of Cross of Miracle is built of laterite and plastered with lime mortar. The Convent and The Church of the Cross of Miracles was built in Renaissance and Gothic architectural pattern. The Church actually had a simple structure. Unfortunately, the convent was not maintained properly and now it is almost in ruins.
Its annual feast is held on the 29th November, while devotees also observe a mass on 23rd day of each month. This site is also referred to as the Spiritual Renewal Center.
Rachol Seminary and Church
Rachol Seminary was originally built as a church by the Portuguese in 1580 and it was later a fortress and prison. It was converted into the diocesan seminary in 1762. Surrounded by the ruins of a Muslim Fort and beautiful golden rice fields, this is one of the first few seminaries on Goa. A hospital and a school for the poor along with a theological college are housed inside the seminary. The first printing press in India was setup at this seminary in 1616.
This is a working Seminary today. Today it houses the ''museum of Christian Art'' which chronicles the evolution of Christian art in Goa with interesting artifacts of the bygone era. The Rachol Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Snows whose feast day is celebrated on the 1st Sunday of August. However the main feast day of the Rachol Church is celebrated on Jan 1st as this day is dedicated to Bom Jesus. The fair remains for a day only.
Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Navelim
The Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Navelim, Goa is called ‘Nossa Senhora do Rosaria em Navelim, Goa’ in Portuguese. The Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Navelim, Goa is popularly known locally as ‘The Navelim Church’ locally in Goa. The Navelim church was founded in 1597 by a French Jesuit. Today the Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Navelim is the most populous parish in the Archdiocese of Goa.
As time passed, the church became small for the growing population. Later on, it was reconstructed with laterite stones on a larger scale by a rich Goan merchant, whose name is not given.
Holy Spirit Church, Margao
One of the oldest churches in Margao , located in Borda, this was built in the 16th century by Jesuits after the Portuguese demolished the erstwhile Damodar temple. At fate would have it, this place of worship and the associated seminary suffered a similar demolition at the hands of Muslim raiders. The present Baroque style building was finally built in 1675 CE. The seminary has since been moved northeast to Raia Rachol Seminary on the outskirts of Margao.
The Church of Holy Spirit celebrates its day of feast in the final weeks of May or early June andthe event is accompanied by outdoor festivities for an entire week. This is a time for Goans to congregate at this magnificent edifice and to shop in Margao for spices and dry fish before the onset of monsoon.
St. John the Baptist Church
St. John the Baptist church, Carambolim was originally a primitive Chapel which was raised to the status of a parish church in 1541. This church has five altars. The main altar is dedicated to st. John the Baptist. The four altars honour St.Anthony, Our Lady of Piety, Our lady of Mount and Holy souls. The feast of st.John the baptist, more widely known as San Joao is celebrated on the 24th of June with great vibrance and a captivating spirit of merriment, colour and tradition. People vibrantly dressed with a floral crown adorning their heads meet near a stream or a traditionally designated place in each ward. Christian scripture tells us of John the Baptist leaping for joy in his mother, Elizabeth’s womb when she was told of Jesus’ birth.
Monte Hill Church, Margao
Monte Hill is a hillock in the commercial capital Margao. The prime attraction of this hill is the Chapel of Calcada de Nossa Senhora de Piedade, which is popularly known as Our Lady of Mercy. The Mount Church is a simple whitewashed building, faced by a similarly diminutive piazza cross.
On Good Friday the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is enacted on a wooden cross at this chapel. The body of Christ is taken to the Church of the Holy Spirit in a procession. This chapel is known for the only candle light mid-night Christmas mass in Goa.