BMC, Catholics shift cross in­side church

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - Bella.Jais­ing­hani @times­group.com

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

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