May 5, 2013
Priest, parishioners allege ASI workers did not inform authorities
OLD GOA: Relations between the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and parishioners of Se Cathedral have soured yet again, with the parish priest and parishioners alleging that ASI workers had removed paintings from many chapels and altars at the Se Cathedral Church in Old Goa in the last few months without informing church authorities.
In a letter to ASI Superintending Archaeologist Dr Shivanand Rao, Parish Priest Fr Leonard Correia and parishioners claimed that many paintings have been removed by ASI workers from various chapels and altars at the Se Cathedral Church, without informing church authorities.
The parishioners also informed the ASI that there have been instances where large pieces of plaster and stone have collapsed from the ceiling of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at Se Cathedral during religious services, rendering the Chapel unsafe for religious services.
“Barely 18 months are left for the Exposition of the Relic of St Francis Xavier and ASI officials are least bothered to take a note of the issue,” a parishioner told Herald.
A letter also addressed to Archbishop-Patriarch of Goa Felipe Neri Ferrao, Fr Joseph Salema of Pastoral Institute and Fr Saturnino Dias of the Se Cathedral, highlights the many difficulties faced by parishioners of Old Goa.
“There is no proper coordination between the ASI and church authorities whenever such paintings and religious items are removed for restoration,” states the letter.
“The altars of Our Lady of Good Hope in the Se Cathedral are in dilapidated condition for the past several months and no restoration work has been initiated, despite several verbal requests and reminders,” the letter added.
When asked to comment on allegations of the parishioners, Dr Rao told Herald over phone that he was unaware about any letter written by parishioners.
“I am not aware of any letter written to my office till date since I’m out of station and I will be back by Monday,” said Dr Rao.