A Short Brief About Soldierpet Parish
It is the Parish Church situated near St. Aloysius’ School, at Soldierpet in the old part of the town of Visakhapatnam. It is said that it stands almost at the same place where the first Missionaries of St.Francis de Sales were received after their arrival in Visakhapatnam by sea. From the time when the Missionaries of St.Francis de Sales landed in Visakhapatnam in 1846, and began to stay at the Fort area of the town, in the area of the present St.Aloysius, School, there was a place of worship that was made by converting a dancing hall of a building in 1868 and the hall thus made, was transformed into a Church dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is the first Sacred Heart’s Church. This building stood at the present entrance of St.Aloysius’ School and as it became unsafe, it was pulled down in 1935.
Although not a parish church, this place of worship was used by Catholics of the Fort area. Moreover since the Bishop was staying in the Fort (St.Aloysius’ School) it was by far frequented by the priests and the faithful than the St.Anne’s Cathedral, and for more than 60 years it was used during the annual retreat of the priests of the Diocese.
The cyclone of 1923 made the old buildings unsafe. In 1930 Mrs. Fletcher’s Bungalow and compound was bought for Rs. 25,000/ - The amount was fully paid by Miss Agnes D’Rossario, a former inspectress of Schools. Mr. Percy Barbossa, District Board engineer, made the plan and supervised the construction of the new church, which started on 1st Nov. 1930 and completed on April 1932 at a cost of Rs. 26,000/- which also was paid by the same benefactress. The first Mass was on Sunday 3rd July.
Bishop Rossillon brought a large bell of 80 kilos “Agnes” for the new church. Solemn blessing of the church and the bell took place on 20th November 1932. The new church was supposed to be exclusively for the Anglo-Indians who were numerous in those days. Only in 1965 Sacred Heart Church was officially erected as parish although Fr.JosephDegeneve was in charge of the parish till his death in 1954". By an agreement made in 1935 between Fr.Commerson, Superior General of the M.S.F.S. and Bishop Peter Rossillon of Visakhapatnam, the Sacred Heart’s parish was entrusted to the M.S.F.S. for its administration. Another agreement made in 1949 betweenFr.A.Grorod, the Superior General of the M.S.F.S. and Bishop J. Baud of Visakhapatnam ratified the former agreement and thus Sacred Heart Church continued to be administered by the Missionaries of St.Francis de Sales.
Some Details About The Centre
- Apostolates at the Centre - Parish Ministry
- Number of confreres at present - One Priest
- People benefitting from it are mostly - Mixed group of Catholics like Anglo-Indians, Telugus & Tamilians
- Infrastructure - is just sufficient at present but since it is a very old structure needs to be repaired time to time
- Financial Status - Manageable but not sufficient
- Religious Congregations nearby - St. Joseph’s of Annecy and Bridgitine Sisters
- Remarks - Catholics present in the parish are very less since many moved away from the place due to increasing pollution. So there is not much life in the parish ministry.
- Suggestions - Renovation of the Presbytery. Painting of the building.