One of Goa's modern churches: Visit the Our Lady of Grace Church, Margao, on your next trip to Goa

Margao's Our Lady of Grace Church celebrates the feast of its patroness on the first Sunday in February. This modern church was once a military chapel.
 Our Lady of Grace Church, in Margao, is one of Goa's modern-day churches

Our Lady of Grace Church, in Margao, is one of Goa's modern-day churches

Gomantak Times

The Igreja de Graça or Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Graça (Our Lady of Grace Church) was initially a chapel known as Capela de Batalhão (Chapel of the Battalion), founded by the Portuguese Regimento de Infantaria nº 1 (1st Infantry Regiment). It was constructed on the recommendation of its dynamic commander Brigadier Agostinho José da Mota, who later became the General of Salcete, in 1804. His quartel (barrack) functioned in a building in the vicinity. After it closed down, the Repartição dos Serviços de Fazenda Goa (Revenue Office) began functioning there. This age-old building was demolished some years ago, and a four-storied building was constructed in its place ie the Office of the Collectorate.


The construction of the chapel took five months, and the first mass, the Festa de Santa Cruz (Feast of the Holy Cross) was celebrated in May 1812. The chapel was dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Graça (Our Lady of Grace) and was majestic with a large open space, and faced the Municipal Garden.

With the commencement of the railway line in 1888, and the Mercado Novo (New Market) the following year, the importance of the location of the chapel increased, because many people, who came to Margao on Sundays to sell their goods, as well as those coming to make purchases, would attend Sunday mass at the chapel. Due to this, several baskets of vegetables, fruits and fish would be seen in the chapel compound during that time.

In 1922, the first Carreira de caminhetas (olden day bus trips) from Margao to Cortalim were launched and the bus stand was near the chapel. As a result, many government offices were located in the vicinity, serving Salcete and all of South Goa. Thus, the Capela de Batalhão was prominently located at the crossroads of Margao town.


In the thirties, a visionary priest was posted as the chaplain — Bacharel Fr Caetano Santana Lourenço, a Portuguese primary teacher. The chapel was renovated, and an attached parochial residence was built due to his efforts. In 1941, in appreciation of his services, a marble plaque, with an inscription and his portrait, was placed in the chapel by the parishioners.

The first resident chaplain was Fr Alvaro Pinto in the early forties. Some years later, the chaplain Fr Antonio de Sta Rita Vaz also rendered valuable services.

On September 15, 1942, on the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Obra de Proteção a Mulher (Home for the Protection of Destitute Women) was founded in the chapel area.

Casa de S Jose, run by nuns in the house of D Maria Parras e Cruz, behind the Municipality, was set up. It was a shelter for women, who came to the city to sell their produce and could not return home at the end of the day due to the lack of transport.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The church is located in the heart of the bustling city of Margao</p></div>

The church is located in the heart of the bustling city of Margao

Gomantak Times


Fr Jose Antonio Gomes (aka Fr Tony), from Aldona, was posted as the chaplain from 1951. In spite of all the difficulties involved, he worked tirelessly along with the then Archbishop D José Alvernaz, to make the new parish church ie Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Graça (Our Lady of Grace Church) a reality, detaching areas from the mother parish of Margao, Igreja de Espírito Santo (Holy Spirit Church), located 800 m away, and from the Navelim Church Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Church of Our Lady of the Rosary), by Provisão dated May 1, 1959, and effective from May 31, 1959.

Fr Jose Antonio Gomes was the last chaplain of Capela de Batalhão and the first parish priest of Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Graça. The first mass was celebrated on Sunday, June 22, 1975.

Construction of the new building in a modern style was done during the tenure of Fr Joao Lopes D'Sa, Vicar of the Church, and was completed on January 1, 1977.

The feast of its patroness, Our Lady of Grace (Nossa Senhora da Graça) is celebrated on the first Sunday in February.

<div class="paragraphs"><p> Our Lady of Grace Church, in Margao, is one of Goa's modern-day churches</p></div>
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