When gazing at the façade of St. Andrew’s Church, at the lower corner to the right there is a small plaque with the date 1575. Studying the historical records that are available it would seem that the date is inaccurate. We do know for a fact that the St. Anna Church was indeed the oldest church in Bandra. When the British destroyed it in response to a request from the Portuguese, it became the famous Bandra slaughterhouse and later the Bus Depot.
From the Jesuit archives in Rome, we have found a letter written by a Jesuit priest to the General in 1616 mentioning that the church of Santo André dos Colles, St. Andrew of the fisherfolk was functioning as a parish.
In 2013, when Fr. Michael Goveas was the parish priest, the Finance Committee decided to paint the Church the Bosco Hall and Andrenelle, the presbytery. The plan was submitted to the Archbishop, who asked the Heritage Committee to scrutinize the plan. They felt that since St. Andrews was such an historical monument a conservation architect should undertake it.
The architect chosen was Vikas Dilawari, who was just completing the Church of St. John the Baptist Church, Thane. After a detailed study of the structure of the Church he came up with an estimate of around 4 crores. From December 2015 to 2016, the actual year of the 400th Centenary many efforts were made to collect funds:
- A Guide of St. Andrews of the Sea
- A Dine and Dance event
- The Andrean Fair in December 2015
- An appeal to every parishioner to make a contribution
As a result of all these efforts, we have been able to raise Rs. 48, 29,317. Since the term of the Finance Committee had ended, in June a new committee was formed. After reviewing what had been done, the Committee decided we needed to call Mr. Vikas Dilawari and schedule a plan taking into account the following considerations:
- What was urgent and necessary
- What could be postponed for some time
- What could be taken up later to beautify the historical church and its environs.
Based on this evaluation, the St. Andrew’s Church restoration will proceed. Stay tuned to the Andrean Notes to keep you apprised on the latest developments.
Fr. Caesar D’Mello (Parish Priest)