At a distance of 33 km from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand, 24.6 km from Vasco Da Gama Railway Station and 6.7 km from Margao Railway Station, lies Our lady of Merces Church, in Colva, South Goa.
Our Lady of Mercy Church, Colva, Goa, is called ‘Nossa Senhora das Merces Igreja em Colva, Goa’ in Portuguese. The Church is popular as ‘The Colva Church’ locally in Goa. Originally the Colva Church was a chapel built in 1630 and affiliated to the parish of Benaulim. In 1635, Our Lady of Mercy Church became a full- fledged parish. Infant Jesus (Menino Jesus de Colva) is venerated in this church with special devotion. It is one of the foremost testimonies of the hamlet of Colva erected in the Colonial era. This whitewashed church is a little gem of a masterpiece and is steeped in centuries of history.
Much before the crystal white sands of Colva made her a favourite among tourists visiting Goa, the centuries old ‘Fama’ of the feast of Menino Jesus (Infant Jesus) celebrated traditionally with pomp and solemnity made the picturesque South Goa village known far and wide. Colva is the only place in Goa where the celebrations on the feast day pale when compared to the festive atmosphere on the Fama day – the day meant to announce the start of the novenas that lead to the feast day and blessing of the symbolic ‘maddi’ that is erected in front of the church.
History has it that the statue of Menino Jesus was found off the coast of Mozambique in the 17th century by some shipwrecked sailors led by Fr. Bento Ferreira, a Jesuit missionary. On his posting to Colva in 1668, Fr. Ferreira had the statue grandly enthroned on a special altar. The annual Fama began soon after, with the statue being kept for public veneration. Power struggles in Portugal which led to the suppression of the religious orders, forced the Jesuits to flee to the Rachol Seminary, carrying along with them the statue. Attempts by the Colva villagers to get back their statue proved futile. They decided to make a replica of the original. Their only possession, a golden ring, believed to have been found after it slipped off the original statue, was mounted on the new statue. The devotion was thus restarted.
Today, this statue is securely concealed in a triple locked vault.Celebrated annually on the second Monday (but not before the 12th) of October, the Colva Fama continues to draw crowds from all over the world to the Our Lady of Mercy Church, Colva. The miracle statue is kept for public veneration and taken out from the triple locked vault only during the famous ‘Fama de Menino’ feast. It is one of Goa’s most popular feasts and on the occasion a grand fair is held.