Today our hearts exult with joy and gratitude recalling God’s love and blessings on us. This is a very apt occasion to remember and thank all the people who have rendered their services to satisfy our spiritual needs.
Prior to the formation of Kalyan Diocese, the spiritual needs of the Keralite Catholics of Marol were looked after by the Parish Priests of St. John the Evangelist Church, Marol. We, the parishioners of Kristuraj, highly appreciate the Parish Priests of St. John for their support and co-operation at a time when we needed it most. Besides St. John Church, the faithful are indebted to the Trustees of the Marthoma Care Centre too for their services.
Right from the year 1964, due to the imitativeness of the Kerala Catholic Association, the faithful had the opportunity to attend Malayalam Mass once a month. KCA was also in the forefront to get priests from Kerala to meet all the spiritual needs of the faithful in those days.
A long cherished dream of the Keralite Catholics of Mumbai came true when a new diocese (Kalyan Diocese) was dawned in 1988 to cater the spiritual needs of the people. Immediately after the formation of the diocese, Rev. Fr. Harry Alapatt a CMI Priest was assigned to Andheri (E) as the first Parish Priest. Fr. Harry convened the 1st General Body Meeting and elected the first and second trustees as Mr. Anthony Murinjatheri and Mr. P.J. Ephrem. Rev. Fr. Davis Pulikottil took charge in 1989. As we had no church or place of our own in its initial stages, all the services were carried out at St. John Church. During Fr. Davis’ tenure, Malayalam services were conducted on every Sundays. Gradually, the Church grew up. In December, 1990 Our Bishop Mar Paul Chittilapilly administered the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation to our children.
MCBS Fathers (Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament) took charge in August, 1991. Rev. Fr. Eprem Pottemplackal was the pioneer among them. On August 15, 1992 he introduced the Family Units. It has now branched into 10 units, each under a patron saint. Catechism classes, Youth wing, Altar servers and the Church Choir were the next introductions. In February 14, 1992 Msgr. Thomas Thalachira inaugurated the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement and it is continued till today. Parish Day was celebrated for the first time on 18th April, 1993. It was in fact a stage for the young and old of our Parish to express their talents. The Catechism teachers played a very important role in putting up various items of our children.
Rev. Fr. George Kunnath’s tenure begins in 1994 and he was assisted by Fr. Dominic Mundatt. In April 1995, Rev. Fr. George inaugurated the Mathrusangam in our parish.
The idea of having a place of worship for ourselves emerged in many minds. With a view of having this aim fulfilled, Pavana Centre was established. A fund-raising committee was then formed, Mr. M. J. Wilson as chairman and Mr. V.M. George as treasurer. Their dedication and sacrifice together with the support of the trustee, Mr. Joy Thomas and all the faithful helped us to overcome the financial hurdles. "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and our plans will succeed." 14th October 1995 was a red-letter day for all the Syro-Malabar Catholics of Andheri East as Kristuraj Centre was inaugurated at Marol on this day, as a common prayer centre , by late Cardinal Simon Pimenta, the then Archbishop of Bombay. There after His Excellency Mar Paul Chittilapilly along with Fr. George and Fr. Dominic concelebrated a solemn High Mass at the centre. Since then, the services on week days were carried out at the centre. But the Sunday services were continued at St. Johns Church to keep in touch with them.
Considering the distance and its difficulty to utilize the centre, it was decided to refund the shares of the other parishioners and possess the Kristuraj centre only for the faithful of Marol. The unfailing support of the fund raising committee was crucial in those challenging years. Finally, in 1998 another dream came true; the Marol parishioners gained the ownership of the Kristuraj prayer centre. God continued His showers of blessings. On 26th November 2000, the Sunday Mass service began at Kristuraj centre. Fr. Dominic was with the faithful through thick and thin and he was inspirational behind achieving all these endeavour’s. His ministry is known for many new introductions too. As a first attempt, he started the Mass and Novena of our Lady of Perpetual Succor on every Thursdays and Mass and adoration on First Fridays. He started ‘Mithram’ a quarterly publication of the Parish in 1996. St. Sebastian’s feast celebration began in February, 1996 and Kristuraj feast from November, 1999. Both the feasts were celebrated with pomp and grandeur. The carol singing started in December 1997. The young and the old joined in singing, went around all the units announcing the birth of Christ. He also conducted Music classes at Kristuraj. Fr. Dominic indeed was a very dedicated priest.
Fr. Mathew Panackachira was our Parish Priest from 2002-2004. He was a Priest of Principle and system. He was also a great lover of music and a good composer too. Rev. Fr. Pious Oroplackal, served Kristuraj from 2004-2007. Fr. Pious, as his name describes was a very pious and humble priest. During his term, the idea of having a hall to conduct church activities felt necessary. Once again, we decided to have a fund raising committee headed by Fr. Pious Oroplackal. We owe much to Fr. Pious and the fund raising committee members Mr. K.D. Jose, Mr. M.O. Antony and all the parishioners for their support and co-operation. Our sincere thanks to Msgr. Fr. Porathur and his colleagues for all their support in our endeavours. On 14th August 2006, we attained the complete ownership of the Church property. Our Bishop, Mar Thomas Elavanal blessed it on 24th December, 2006.
With his down to earth, friendly approachable nature combined with enthusiasm and undaunted spirit, Rev. Fr. Jerry Vallomkunnel (2007-2010) has opened a new chapter in the history of Kristuraj. Kristuraj church attained the status of a Parish during his tenure. We highly appreciate the struggles Mr. James John underwent to achieve this goal. On the 5th of April 2009, Msgr. Fr. Jacob Poruthur, Vicar General of the Diocese of Kalyan, presented the Parish Declaration. It was due to the motivation of Fr. Jerry and the untiring effort of Mr. Rijo John, a website was created for the church. Fr. Jerry inaugurated the website on 12th April 2009 which could provide the parishioners the latest updates of our Parish on www.kristuraj.com
Fr. Jerry revived ‘Mithram’, a quarterly publication of the Parish. He introduced ‘Christeen Eve’ program for Catechism students. He introduced the eight days devotion to Mother Mary (Ettu Nombu) in September 2007, in October the Rosary devotion in the church and in the family units and the celebration of St. Alphonsa’s feast in July 2007. He also resumed the First Friday Adoration in October 2009. As per the request of our Bishop, he renovated the altar in June 2010. So we had a spacious and beautiful altar designed by Fr. Jerry. He resumed Malayalam classes and English mass for the children. In order to bring in, the essence of Kerala, he encouraged the parishioners in the Onam celebration. He arranged picnics to the south and North India. In February 2009, he also conducted a pilgrimage to Holy Land.
It was his idea to have common celebration for the families and friends of children receiving First Holy Communion and Confirmation. He encouraged the young and the old to actively participate in the church activities. Indeed, he has touched the lives of each one of us in one way or the other.
Fr. Jis Mangaly, a young and dynamic priest took charge in June 2010 for a period of three months. Jovial and sociable by nature, he conquered many hearts within the short period. He made the impossible possible and that is the Pastoral visit by His Excellency Mar Thomas Elavanal to our Family units, meeting each family in person. This event always remains fresh in our minds. Fr. Jebin Pathiparambil, our present Parish Priest took charge in September, 2010. He is an excellent preacher and fully involved in conducting retreats. His Sunday homily resembles his power of speech. As a Parish Priest, his focus is mainly on youth and mothers. He believes, if youth and mothers are guided well, the family is safe. With this aim in mind, he conducts classes for mothers on every 2nd Thursdays of the month. Also, every month he conducts meeting for the youth. He reminds the faithful often through his homilies about the power of prayer and fasting. He is very active in the parish, even though he travels to many places for conducting retreats. His main concern is spirituality of the faithful. He gets the best preachers from Kerala to conduct retreats in our Parish. The two retreats conducted by Rev. Fr. Dominic Valanmanal and his team was a great success. This has brought a great impact on the faithful.
As Fr. Jebin gives great importance to prayer, he provided a special prayer book for each family. He also revived the prayer book used for the prayer meeting in the units. He created interest among the Altar Servers to learn Malayalam prayers and respond during the Mass. It was his great desire to celebrate a ‘Rassa Qurbana’ in our Parish. His Excellency Mar Thomas Elavanal fulfilled this on 3rd July 2012, the day He celebrated it in our Parish.
We did not have a well built and spacious church even though we had a beautiful altar and good services. As the number of parishioners increased, it was difficult to accommodate all. But we could not dream of having a spacious church so soon with limited space and fund.
God’s plans were different for us and everything happens for the good. The cracks that developed on the church wall aroused worries among all. The engineers who came to inspect the structure advised to have an immediate repair or else the structure might collapse at any time. But the BMC sanction, financial problems and other formalities delayed the repair work. Finally, when the work began, the unexpected arrival of the monsoon created great havoc and everything came to a standstill. All were puzzled and desperate. But our parish priest did not lose hope. He started prayer and fasting and asked the faithful to follow the same. God immediately answered our prayers. The uncertainty was over. Mr. P.L. Jose our parishioner and a great architect willingly undertook the construction. From the time he undertook the responsibility, he started the work on full swing, day and night without rest, keeping aside even his business. His dedication, hard work, sincerity and financial support helped us to have a beautiful and spacious church within a short span of time. Our Parish Priest and First Trustee have given whole hearted support to Mr. P.L. Jose and equally shouldered the responsibilities. A very dedicated, tireless and enthusiastic as he is, Mr. Baby Alexander spent all his time and energy in the church since the work began and continued till its completion.
It would not have been possible to have a church constructed in a short period, if we had not had the whole hearted support and financial assistance of the parishioners. There are no words enough to express our gratitude to our parishioners for their great generosity.
13 October 2013 was a golden lettered day in the history of Kristuraj Church as our beloved Bishop Mar Thomas Elavanal consecrated this marvelous work of God. Our hearts are filled with gratitude to our God Almighty and Christ the King for the abundance of blessings upon us.
It is one of the suitable moment to extend our sincere gratitude to Rev. Fr. Charles Fernandes, the parish priest and the parishioners of St. Vincent Pallotti Church for providing us the Church to offer Mass and conduct catechism classes during our time of crisis. We cannot forget the East Indian brethren residing around our church. We are overwhelmed by their whole hearted co-operation and also the financial support.
On this memorable occasion, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to MCBS Congregation for sending very dedicated priests to our parish. We wish to have their services continued in the long run. It is through them our long cherished dream of a beautiful and spacious church is materialized.
At the time of the consecration of the renovated church in October 2013, Fr. Jebin Pathiparambil had also completed 3 years of his ministry here. It was then time for another MCBS priest to take charge in Kristuraj. Fr. Jebin was transferred to Solapur in Maharashtra to a very honourable position at a young age as Rector of MCBS Mission Minor Seminary. The parishioners bid farewell to Fr. Jebin on 12th January, 2014.
Rev. Fr. Rintu Koottakkara MCBS, took charge as parish priest on 10th January, 2014. Fr. Rintu is simple and seems quiet by nature, but strict and efficient at work.