Playground

The plot parallel to the road, on which the new school building has been constructed, was originally the school play ground. It was used by the students as well as by others of the Parish. Cricket, hockey and other games were played on it. As the School building came up, the spacious area admeasuring 4120 sq. meters, now St. John’s Park, was converted into playground, in 1966. An imposing stone cross stood in the middle of this ground. The cross was the biggest in the Parish. It has a two-tier base of 10’ x 10’. It was erected about the year 1900. With its dismantling, disappeared one of the magnificent monuments built by our forefathers .

Earlier, paddy was grown on this ground during the monsoons. By every September end, the ground turned into golden yellow with rich paddy crop. Yahweh had enjoined Moses to tell the sons of Israel: “ Three times a year you are to celebrate a feast in my honour-. The feast of Harvest, too, you must celebrate, the feast of the first-fruits of the produce of your sown fields”(Ex. 23: 14-16). Our forefathers also faithfully carried out this injunction and celebrated the Harvest feast – the Aagera feast. On the first Sunday of every October the Parish Priest with a large congregation, led by the ‘Irmaos’ in their ‘Opas’ and return to the Church with some sheaves. The hymn ‘Ave Maris Stella’ would be sung during the procession. Before the commencement of the Solemn High Mass, Some parishioners – two of them being the Catholic Patils of the villages of Marol and Condita – would bring sufficient bundles of paddy, which were decorated with rojeri (marigold) and champa (jasmine) flowers. In still earlier years, the bundles were brought to the church in mini arks (cherols) which were born on palanquins, accompanied by instrument music. The Mass would end with the Thanksgiving Hymn ‘Te Deum Laudamus’. The blessed paddy was distributed to the parishioner. Ah! What nostalgic memories!