Parishioners seek to nix land deal for state’s oldest Church;

One Name appearing in the Report rings the bell. Father JOHN RUMAO.
He seems to have been involved in the sale of Church lands, belonging to St. John the Baptist Church, Thane; Our Lady of Egypt Church, Kalina, and St. Xavier’s Church, Vile Parle. There could be others too.
It appears that he has been misusing the power as SOLE TRUSTEE, which has been bestowed upon the PARISH PRIESTS by the CHURCH AUTHORITIES. Or has he been assigned the task of disposing off the Church Properties by the Hierarchy?
Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias should fulfill his promise of abolishing the SOLE TRUSTEE powers of the Parish Priests.
Sep 29 2015 : Mirror (Mumbai)

Parishioners of the state’s oldest church have demanded revocation of a controversial sale that saw Hiranandani Constructions bag development rights for 21,000 sq mt of church land for Rs 20 crore.Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy Church at Thane’s Pokhran Road passed a resolution opposing the 2007 sale last month and handed their appeal to the archdiocese, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, on Sunday.

The sale has been opposed on three main grounds: the church, built on a 37,500-sq mt land, is a heritage property; the former priest who struck the deal did not share full details with parishioners; and the plot in question has been reserved as a playground.

“It is a heritage church and parishioners want to ensure that the land is not taken over by builders,“ said Melwyn Fernandes, a member of the church’s property committee that passed the resolution against the sale.

“The cardinal has the authority to revoke sale of any church land. We are hopeful that our appeal will be heard.“

Former priest Father John Rumao, who was previously the sole trustee, had signed the deal for the 21,000 sq mt of church land with Hiranandani Constructions. Mumbai Mirror had reported the sale in 2013.

The developer had apparently planned to hand over the plot the Thane Municipal Commissioner and seek transfer of development rights in exchange. But the deal was stayed by the charity commissioner.

While surrendering development rights, Father Rumao allegedly told officials that the plot had been heavily encroached upon. Church-goers, who learned about his claim recently, say that the plot has always been free of encroachments.

The deal was struck for Rs 20 crore, but parishioners say in 2007, it was easily worth Rs 50 crore.

“Queen Victoria had gifted the land for the church. We obtained the land deed details under the Right to Information Act,“ said CP Georje, a member of the property committee. “The Archaeological Survey of India had asked the civic body to declare the area as a heritage property, but officials have failed to do so.“



  1. September 29, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Wonder who is the true professor of Church property sales/transfers ??? another example of vermin clergy come to mind — JUDE PEREIRA —
    Ex PP of St. Stephen’s Cumballa Hill and the Khotachi Wadi
    tenancy transfers — rotting away in the clergy Home — God does


  2. noel corriea said,

    September 29, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    For all the abrupt sales of Propertie in so many Parishes, No one but Cardinal Oswald Gracias is solely responsibly and he pretends like the Pontius pilot as thou he is not aware of anything and always projects himself as helpless leader.

    It is a sad situation in the Archdiocese of Bombay where in Properties which have been donate for the noble cause has been sold by the diocese left right and center at the cost of peanuts.

    In addition, all the Transactions are held under the nose of the Cardinal but the modus operandi is same in all the Parishes, project that these properties are encroached upon by outsiders and thereafter sale at throw away prices.

    It is the same story in Bhayander Parish. In addition, the related Parish Priest is the master Architect of such Transaction and I wonder what happens for the loads of amount diocese because the parishioners of any parish are never benefited ever by way of Medical Facilities, Shelter, or Education and if they get any help is as good as insignificant amount.

    Its time to file the Writ Petition against the Sole Trustees and also make Cardinal Oswald Gracias Party to it, who are responsible for such Transaction and pull them to the court and expose them as they enjoy immunity in the name of religion and community.

    Noel Corriea


  3. October 7, 2015 at 2:10 am

    Dear Noel Corriea, what you have said is be the actual need of the hour
    The PP sits in his room and decides and dictates as if it is his kingdom or fiefdom. I am from St. Jude’s Church, Jerimeri, I and my small team have been openly fighting against these diktats of the hierarchy and to some extent we have succeeded.
    Even our team has concluded that the need is to file a writ petition in the High court and with Charity commissioner to take away the power of the PP as sole trustee’s.
    My contact no. is 9820475511. Anthony Cruz Chettiar.


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