The village of Pomburpa is located in Bardez. To its north are the villages of Aldona, Ucassaim and Nachinola. Salvador do Mundo is on its south, Socorro village is on its west, while a rivulet of the River Mandovi flows along its east. The church of Pomburpa is dedicated to Our Lady, Mother of God (Nossa Senhora Mae de Deus Igreja em Pomburpa, in Portuguese), popularly known as Mae de Deus Church or Our Lady of Candeia or Our Lady of Candelaria.
ABOUT THE CHURCH
There are two different theories regarding the establishment of the church of Pomburpa. According to Anais Franciscanos em Bardês by Francisco X da Costa, the church was founded in 1590; while Bosquejo histórico das comunidades agrícolas de Goa by Filippe Nery Xavier states that it was founded in 1628.
In 1604, D Luiza da Madre de Deus (belonging to the Third Order of St Francis of Assisi) and her mother, Ana de Santa Maria, donated their house as well as other property to the Convent of St Francis, with the intention of starting a school for the local children. Hence, it is quite likely that the church was founded in 1509. But later in 1628, it was set up in the main house of D Luiza, the donor.
The church had a huge parochial house attached to it, and a hospicio nearby. Many fidalgos and ladies also donated real estate, gold and jewels to this church.
The church is situated atop a hillock and has buttresses in front, and a bell tower at the back. The main altar has a gilded statue of Madre de Deus (Mother of God), flanked by smaller statues of St Clara and St Francis of Assisi.
There are three more altars, ie that of St Anthony, the Holy Family and the Sacred Heart.
The church was under the Franciscans till 1766, after which they were forced to leave Bardez. Thereafter, secular priests were appointed to administer the church.
The feast of Our Lady of Candelaria was a big event back then. There used to be a big fair with vendors, who sold a variety of items, such as furniture, brass vessels and food items.
There was a kaccha (rough) road leading to the church, and a similar road near the river down below. On the other side of the river was the Chorao island, where there were many fidalgos.
In those days, Pomburpa, too, was inhabited by many fidalgos apart from the locals, who were mostly fishermen, basket weavers and carpenters. The fidalgos lived in palatial homes.
On the feast day, they were joined by the fidalgos from Chorao, among others. They would go to the fair on horseback or in horse-drawn carriages, followed by slaves, who sheltered them from the sun using damask umbrellas.
The women were carried to the fair in luxurious machillas. This lifestyle led to the phrase “Goribancheam porank him Pomburpechim festam nhoim” (These Pomburpa feasts are not for the children of the poor).
The annual church feast is celebrated on February 2, the feast of the Purification of Our Lady, also known as Our Lady of Candelaria, Light, Purification or Presentation.
In the past, after the delivery of a child, Goan mothers would go to the church for the first time, with a candle, to attend mass.
This year, masses will be held on the feast day at 6:30 am, 8 am, 9:30 am & 3:30 pm (Hindi). Candles will be blessed during the 6.30 am mass and will be available thereafter. Pre-pandemic, there was also a procession during the 9.30 mass.