Church leases out prime property to realtor

Under a transferable development rights partnership, the Mumbai-based builder in exchange will construct a 250-million rupee multi-storey building.
Posted on May 9, 2012, 8:25 AM


The Kerala Latin Catholic Church will lease out part of its prime property, an ancient seminary, for a resort and shopping mall in the southern state.

In what is perhaps the first of its kind land deal in Kerala’s Church history, rights to a 1.8-acre plot on Periyar river bank in Aluva, owned by Carmelgiri seminary, has been given to a private builder.

Under a transferable development rights partnership, Mumbai-based Leo Builders and Developers in exchange will construct a 250-million rupee multi-storey building that will serve as the Latin Church’s secretariat.

While the secretariat will come up on the Carmelgiri campus, the residential-cum-commercial complex will be built near it. The Church will have a stake in the commercial building.

Church officials have come to an agreement with the builder which is run by a member of the congregation and the complex will be completed within three years.

“Since we cannot meet the expense, we decided to go for a joint venture. Instead of selling the land we agreed for a share in the building so that the revenue from the commercial complex can be used for our various activities,” said Archbishop Soosa Pakiam of Trivandrum.

“The builders will invest a certain amount, but it is more like a contribution to the church’s development than any business interests,” he said.

The deal was brokered to fulfill the wish of the Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council to have a secretariat like the headquarters of the other two rites.

While the Syro-Malabar Church has the sprawling St Thomas Mount in Kakkanad as its centre, the Syro-Malankara faction has its Catholicate in Thiruvananthapuram.

The new complex at Carmelgiri, with a history dating back to 1682, would coordinate the work of all its 11 dioceses and various committees as well as conducting Bible classes and courses.

“The complex will not come up on the campus, and there will be residential facilities also. We are working on the details,” said Fr Francis Xavier Thannikkaparambil, KRLCC’s general secretary.

Church Land , Real State ,Aluva , Carmelgiri Seminary , Kerala Latin Catholic Church ,


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Manoj R Nair

A Mumbai priest, who was one of the few exorcists in the local Catholic Church, died in London last week. The body of Father Rufus Pereira is expected to be brought later to Mumbai where he had a large following.
The healing sessions, as his gatherings were called, at St Pius X Church, Mulund, his last residence, and also at churches like St Peter’s in Bandra were always well attended.
People with chronic physical and mental illnesses that had stubbornly resisted modern medical help would attend the meetings. There, as one member of the church said, Pereira would get the demons out. His followers also believed that the evil spirits that had taken up residence in their bodies could speak to him.
Sometimes, the queues of people seeking cures were so long that the healing sessions went on till 3am.
“He would put his hand on the head of the person and ask him or her to write down the intention for their prayers. He would read the reason and pray for them,’’ said father Joseph D’Souza, parish priest, St Ignatius Church, Jacob Circle. “If any announcement about his meetings were made at our church, people would flock to the gathering.”
“People who had unexplained pattern of odd behaviour or incurable disease would go to him for a cure,” said Joseph Dias of the Catholic Secular Forum, a community group.
Though Pereira was a church-designated exorcist and also the vice-president of the International Association of Exorcists, there are many Catholics who do not think the word ‘exorcist’ was appropriate to describe Pereira. They believe the word has dark connotations. Greg Pereira of the Association of Concerned Catholics, a community group, is one of them.
“Exorcist is not the correct word to describe him. I believed he gave a homily. We believe that he delivered the word of god,” said Pereira who wanted to attend a sessions, but never got a chance.
Pereira was one of the pioneers of a movement called ‘Charismatic Movement’ in India that stressed on the healing power of prayer sessions. “Here, people did not know him as an exorcist; he was popular as a healer,” said D’Souza.
The popularity among the masses meant that many other priests resented his influence. “Exorcism is not a common gift and it is likely that he was looked at with suspicion by other priests,” said a church member.
Some also believe that some of the cures attributed to father Rufus Pereira’s intervention could have been psychiatric cases that were cured over time by conventional treatment. “There are some priests who do not stress so much on the devil. But Rufus firmly believed that people are sometimes kept in bondage by the evil spirit,” said D’Souza.
Pereira would have been 79 years old in a few days. Many of his followers believe that the demons he fought during his lifetime are responsible for his death.
“The theory is that the power of evil had a role to play in his death. He was going strong and he was just in his seventies. It is just a matter of faith,” said Dias.

Published Date:  May 09, 2012

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