It was in 1980 that it all began. During the month of June - July, the Pallottine superior Fr. Toni Kolb, was in Jaslok hospital when a former Jesuit Vice-Provincial came to visit him and Fr. Toni Kolb asked him about a place where a parish could be started. That is how the first step to our parish began. After meeting many members and people from our Diocese, finally something materialised. With an increase in the Catholic population at St. John the Evangelist Church, Marol, the then Archbishop Simon Pimenta called for a meeting of all Catholics in the vicinity of Vijay Nagar and the surroundings. It was on 1st may 1980, in the presence of the Parish priest of Marol, it was agreed upon to start a new unit. And this is how we came into existence as a church.
Signs of an active catholic community came to be visible on 24th may 1980, as people joined hands together to put order to an old poultry shed on the grounds that belonged to Sisters Adorers. The first Eucharistic celebration was on 8th June 1980. Priests from Goregaon Seminary and Vinayalaya- Jesuit home, came forward with a generous spirit to meet the immediate needs of the church.
On 21st September 1980, Fr. Xavier, a Pallottine, stepped into Marol. The Pallottines had sent him to be the priest - in - charge of this new unit and he took office on 22nd September 1980. The first mass held the following Sunday was attended by around 35 people.
The search for priest quarters ended in the purchase of a flat in Vijay Tower H/22 by the Pallottine congregation.
It was in March 1980 that Fr. Anton Nenzl stepped in, taking over as the first Parish Priest. Liturgical worship was now regularised in the shed, sharing in many ways the poverty of the Bethlehem stable. The first step towards the parish was the registration of our church with the Charity Commissioner, bearing the name, “Pallotti Church Trust”. With this we were canonically erected as a parish on 15th august 1981 by Bishop Ferdinand Fonseca. But there were trespassers and encroachments on our grounds and after a long legal battle, we finally won in clearing the land. To protect the land from further encroachments, a compound wall was built, up to an area where it was free. The priests maintained a good rapport with the people by way of family visits.
Work with regard to legal formalities, court cases, lifting the reservation for a pubic school and playground on the church land, registration and amalgamation of the land, getting the church plans ready, different ways and means continued to consume time and energy. Yet these in no way deterred spirits. There was need to better the existing structure, that of a shed. With a view to make the place more presentable and worthy of worship, extensive renovation of the shed was undertaken. A new backdrop with a cross was installed. Later the tabernacle was installed and blessed. The weekly masses held in the convent chapel now began to be celebrated in the shed.
The parish by this time had recorded a marked growth in the number of Catholic families. In order to accommodate more people and make the attendance at Liturgy a bit more comfortable, the extension to the church was added, saving us from the scorching heat of the summer and the monsoons. Also a recreation room was put up to cater to youth. A stage was built so as to serve as a platform for our festive services and not forgetting our very own “The Vinpal Funfair” in view of collecting funds.
Our parishioners continued to be deeply interested in the practice of faith. The attendance of Sundays, Feast Days and even weekday masses confirms their interest. The parish team and the parish council decided to spend time and energy in generating funds for the church construction this year. As a result, the old shed or church, whatever you call it, came down and the construction for our new church began on 19th April 1997. The absence of a good place for mass and liturgical functions did not deter our people from participation in the church activities. In spite of the inconvenience, the participation of the people was edifying. After having brain stormed, the Parish Team and the Parish Council closely associated with the parishioners put to work the following schemes so as to generate money.
Each family had to make a contribution of Rs. 7000/- towards the church construction. Booklets were printed and parishioners were urged to take these and collect money for the church construction. Raffle forms are printed and this was a special venture by the youth of our parish to collect funds. Next was the Johnny Lever Nite which was complemented with the release of souvenir. The Parish Fathers also took up preaching in the neighboring parishes on Saturdays and Sundays. Parishioners accompanied so as to make the collection.
The welfare centre having built a place at unit 22 is now operational. In order to keep in line with our welfare activities, tailoring classes had been started. Teachers have been appointed for the running of the balwaadi (kindergarten). Also Tamil masses and sacraments are administered to the families there, by the priests of our parish.
Looking back, at all the developments effort that went into the formation of the St. Vincent Pallotti Parish, as well as the development of the community that lives around the church, it gives all of us a deep sense of satisfaction to have made a place of worship, which will help us minister to the spiritual and social needs of its people. And in order to sustain the proclamation of God’s Word, it will take a lot of dedication and effort of the religious and the laity in the future, by using the new church as a focal point to continue to do the Holy Will of God.