BMC, Catholics shift cross inside church
Mumbai: In an exemplary move, civic officials and Christian community members from Andheri (E) shifted a stone cross from the road opposite Holy Family Church inside the premises on Tuesday. It follows a Bombay high court order to remove wayside shrines. The 75-year-old church at Chakala gives its name to Holy Family Junction. Approximately 200 parishioners prayed before the 8ft relic was relocated.
Parish priest Vincent Vaz said, “We had prepared a place for the cross inside but we had two demands before we shifting it: The authorities should grant us TDR due to us as we handed over a portion of our land for road-widening10 years ago a traffic chowky must be built at this accident-prone junction. Several parishioners have suffered injuries here.”
The priests, along with Godfrey Pimenta and Nicholas Almeida of the NGO Watchdog Foundation met ward officials at the church on Monday and received a written assurance that this would be done.
Assistant municipal commissioner (K East ward) Devendra Jain said, “The Christian community is sensitive to needs of the city and its leaders cooperated well. The cross was relocated with mutual consent. We held marathon meetings with priests and assured them their TDR concerns were being addressed and a traffic chowky will be installed at Ho- ly Family Junction.”
Policemen at the site were impressed by the dignity of the exercise. Andheri police station senior inspector Pandit Thorat said, “It was an emotional moment. Such an old church, such an old cross — the manner in which they prayed before it and performed rituals before it was shifted was so dignified. I thanked the priests for their excellent cooperation.”
The cross being relocated at Andheri (E) on Tuesday