By Casey Monteiro
An architectural marvel and haven for the spiritual seeker, the Church of Mae De Deus (Mother of God) dedicated to the Mother of Jesus, is delightfully visible when one travels along the Chogm road in Saligao. Here are five interesting facts about the church which was built in 1873, and which celebrated 150 years on May 7, 2023.
1. THE OLD GOA CONNECTION
The main statute on the altar of this church was brought all the way from Daugim, in Old Goa – a once sprawling city – after the church, where this statue was located, fell into ruin. Daugim was also known as Madre De Deus after the church with the same name situated in this once posh locality.
Till today, the parish of Saligao maintains historic ties with Daugim by holding pilgrim tours to the original site of this statue.
2. ARCHITECTURAL STYLE
The Mae De Deus Church, in Saligao, is the first church to be built in the Neo-Gothic style. Construction of the church began in 1867 when the foundation stone was laid and was blessed, and open to the laity as a place of worship in 1873.
3. BUILDING MATERIAL
The stones used to construct the church are said to have come from a nearby quarry (close to where the Saligao Seminary stands today) and also from the ruins of the Madre De Deus Church of Daugim.
4. MAKING IT HAPPEN
Francisco Salvador Zeferino Pinto, the father of the famous ophthalmologist, Dr Claudio Gama Pinto (after whom a road has been named in Altinho, Panjim) was instrumental in playing a crucial role in gathering and utilising resources to build the church.
He belonged to the local comunidade, which commissioned the design of the church and entrusted it into the hands of Manuel Ferreira Martins, to execute the work.
5. SIDE ALTARS
In the church, flanking the main altar, are two side altars dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Mother Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus. The church has a side pulpit from where the priest used to celebrate mass. These days, mass is celebrated in front of the main altar of the Church.