Fr. Manuel Gomes, a Jesuit, called ‘the Apostle of Salsette’ built the Portuguese Church at Condita in the year 1579. This Church was abandoned due to the outbreak of a devastating epidemic there and a new Church was built at Marol in the year 1840, partly from subscriptions and partly from Church funds. Fr. Jose Lourence Paes was the Vicar. Thus, the year 1990 marks the Centenary and half of our Parish Church.
The new Church at Marol, was built in1840, partly by subscriptions and partly by Church funds. The Vicar at that time was Fr. Jose Lourenco Paes. Marol was chosen as the site, since this village had, at that time, the largest number of Catholics in this region. The Church at Condita was originally dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Later, it was dedicated afresh to St. John the Evangelist. This was because the chief church of this area at Thane, was also dedicated to St. John the Baptist. So in order to avoid confusion, the name was changed to St. John the Evangelist. The richly carved Portuguese altars with life-size statues of St. John the Evangelist, St. Anthony and Our Lady and some other small-size statues, other carved stone pillars and large wooden panels from the Condita Church, were brought to the Marol Church. This new Church built in 1840, was a large structure. However, it was not completed immediately in all respects and furnished with all requirements. The priests and parishioners, over the years, have constantly contributed lovingly and generously, in cash and kind, to make this House of God, a worthy place of worship and a fit dwelling for the Lord. In 1990, we celebrated the one and half centenary of the existence of this, our parish Church. In 1992 major renovation work was carried out. Today, our church has a beautiful edifice, standing, as a witness to glorify the name of the Lord.
This church is a historical monument and a great witness of our Catholic Faith which has stood the test of time. How was this church built in this place? Between the years 1534 and 1650, the Missionaries i.e. the Jesuits and Fransicans had built about 27 churches in Salsette. The Jesuits who came to India, in 1542, along with the Fransicans, worked in the Marol area from 1549 onwards. It was at this time that Fr. Manuel Gomes, a Jesuit Priest, who was a Portuguese born in India, built this Church at Condita, in the year 1579. This church was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. This church which is now in a ruined condition was a big imposing structure. At the entrance, there are 3 arches. On the East, there is the sanctuary with the altar. On the North and South, are high walls. The sacristy was in the North. This church functioned here, as the place of Christian worship till 1840. However, this church had to be abandoned, at that time, as there was a devastating epidemic in this Condita area and the parishioners decided to shift to Marol. The new church, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist was built in 1840, at Marol and stands till date, from where we practice our Catholic Faith. Let us pray to the Lord, that He may strengthen and nurture our faith and trust in Him daily.
(Source: “Souvenir of the 4th Centenary of the Faith” - Valentine Pimenta)