The Church of Mae De Deus in Saligao is simply gorgeous. Find out why!
Stark, stern and yet with a glamorous charm all its own, the Church of Mae de Deus is a breath-taking site.
With its Gothic spires and pristine white walls, it reminds one of a fairy-tale castle. Situated amidst picturesque surroundings of the standard Goan countryside, this Church at Saligao, which is situated within the Bardez taluka, was inbuilt 1873.
It is amongst the best within the Gothic style and is attractively illuminated in the dark.
The Mae De Deus Church in Saligao, Bardez, Goa is one among the best churches in India whose foundation was laid on 7 February 1867, but was inaugurated on 26th November 1873.
Located at Daujim, Bardez taluka a small suburb of Old Goa within the 16th century, of which today only the tallest cross on a pedestal is seen among shrubs and coconut groves, one Salvador Pinto a resident of Saligao, took the initiative to possess a separate church built along side a separate parish. Before the development of this church, the Saligao Catholics were a part of the parish church of the Holy Trinity at the neighbouring village of Nagoa.
It is said that stones from three different sites went into construction – two of them religious institutions. The black stones came from the ruins of the Mae de Deus convent in Daujim, whereas the other came from the Chapel of Our Lady of Victory, which was in a dilapidated condition, while the remaining was built using stones from a near-by quarry.
This beautiful church constructed in Gothic style with elegant tapering spires each with a Cross and pristine white wall is reminiscent of fairy-tale castle.
The portal of the church is a tall one dome-shaped. A dome-shaped façade with tapering spire is an unusual sight. It is an honest example of Neo-Gothic architecture of grandeur and wonder confirmed by arch, with buttresses supporting its exteriors, belfry, and spikes all so built to bring out the nuances of Gothic architecture.
In the whole of Goa, no other structure has this type of majestic appearance that’s quite inspiring.
The church houses the miraculous wooden statue of Mae De Deus painted in golden colour and was originally from the Mae De Deus Church of Daujim-Old Goa.
The statue arrived here ceremoniously in a decorated boat across the Mandovi River to Betim. The courtyard of the Church contains another statue of the Mae de Deus, which is made up of black stone. This church and the neighboring one were disputing over the statue on where it should be kept. The issue was finally settled amicably by the Government order on the 20th of June, 1865 which was approved by the King of Portugal.
In addition to main altar, there are six sub altars in this church which are dedicated to different saints. The altar, which is carved and gilded is backed by a reredos, which is nicely carved and gilded and tapers gracefully toward the ceiling.
It is worthy to mention that the altar of Christ, the Redeemer holds the Blessed Sacrament which was consecrated by the Patriach Dom Antonio Valente during his pastoral visit back in the year 1883. Hence, this church is steeped in history.
The feast is celebrated annually on the first Sunday of May. Each day different ward of Saligao organize the novena. The festivities end with a grand procession in veneration of Our Lady praying for her blessings on the village of Saligao.
Each day at the end of the novena small group of children dress like angels who venerate Our Lady with flowers. A ‘Fair’ is organized that offer the visitors with sweets, toys and refreshments all through the day.
Every year on the feast of the Church of Mae de Deus in Saligao, Sporting Club have their traditional dance Foxes’ Nite’ which pulls people from everywhere Goa and foreigners on holiday too.