From the beginning of the 20th century, the small town of Coimbatore, with a population of 53, 680 according to the 1901 Census started to grow in leaps and bounds because of the numerous Textile Spinning Mills that began to sprout all around, the climate being admirably suited for Spinning Mills and the soil, excellent for raising cotton crop, the city, now called, “The Manchester of South India”, began to grow. Since the expansion of the town was restrained by Valangulam to the South, Periakulam and Muthanankulam to the west and Amman-kulam to the east, the natural convenient expansion started towards the North and the Northeast. Thus the marshy, thorny bush-covered area around the Sanganur Rivulet (also locally called “Ellerumai Pallamrivulet of 7 buffaloes: so called because, according to folk-lore long ago due to heavy rains, the rivulet was in floods and it had washed away seven buffaloes!) But, in the begining people were hesitant to settle down there because of the wild surroundings! But gradually, as the old town’s accommodation capacity was bursting at it seams, and the land in the north development area, south of Sanganur pallam, (now called as Gandhipuram Street No.1 2 etc.) were built up. Some Catholics from Cathedral area, settled down here. With fore-sight a plot of 5 acres of land, another plot for future cemetery purpose, and another a plot just opposite of the large 5 acre plot were purchased by the Diocese, Bishop Savarimuthu, in an unusual step for his very calculating nature but inspired by Zeal for the spiritual welfare of his flock, invited first the Carmelites, then the capuchins to start a friary at Gandhipuram so that they, not only will look after the new Christian colonies there but above all, that they would be of great help for the spiritual welfare of the Diocese, by their preaching, hearing confessions, and be of help to the parishes. As a “bite”, he offered the 5 acres of land to start their friary, (and their newly formed Provinicilate “Commissisariat”, in their vocabulary) head-quarters, so that there would be sufficient number of Friars, not oniy to build up the Parish, (which he also made as a condition) but also be able to be at the service of the Parishes to help in confessions, mission preaching etc in 1956. The plots should have been purchased before 1946, as an Elementary School (later to be raised to Higher Secondary School and now a High School), and when Bishop Ubagaraswamy invited the first religious Order (men), The First Order of Carmelites in 1946, they were housed in a part of the school building, till they bought the land and built their own monastery at Carmel Nagar, Podanur in 1950. So, the Carmelites were the first to administer to the spiritual needs of Gandhipuram Catholics till 1950 (though not as parish priests). Gandhipuram by then, had became too noisy and distracting to the spirit of their Order!
Then the Capuchins came in and they were housed at the parish hail of Kattoor. After negotiation with the bishop they accepted the area of Gandipuram to be develeped as a parish. As a parish it was detached from Kattoor and entrusted to them in 1956. Fr. Peter Damian was the first parish priest. Till the church was built, Mass was said in the school premises. Very Rev. Fr. Cassian OFM (Cap), then the commissary (Provincial) laid thc foundation for the new Church on 19-01-1959 Fr. Peter Damniari himself was the over-seer of the construction. The church, buili entirely of shaped block stones”, (a marvel in those days al Coimbatore) costing Rs. 1, 5 0,000/- It was a very modern churci then, high, spacious, well ventilated with a very attractive altar. It was blessed on 13-01-1962 by Bishop Savarimuthu. The majorit) of the parishioners, all of different origins and well-to-do peoph (in those days only such people can buy their own plot of land anc build their own houses!) and it is to the credit of the successiv Capuchin Friars-Parish Priests, that they had succeeded in weldin1 the disparate, un-homogeneous conglomeration without roots intc a well-knit and zealous, vibrant catholic community, so to say a a Model Modern Parish”, and they have trained them also ir generous “Christian giving” atleast on the parish level. The false ceiling, re-modeling of the whole altar, the whole church pave with mosaic stones, the tall belfry, which can be seen from far and wide, the 3 community Halls (really Kalyana-madapams, which fetch a large amount of income!) the public stage etc, bear testimony both to the generosity of the local Catholics as well as to the ingenuity of the Friars of St. Francis Assisi, who called “Poverty” as the hall-mark of this order and who loved to call “poverty” as his “Lady love”! Since the precious and huge plot of Diocesan land was given for parish purposes as well as to be the Commissariat head quarters with training center of the future Capuchins, gradually the northern part was partly covered by large buildings all built with the same “shaped block of granite stones”, both proclaiming “austerity” as well elegance! They started a school named as “Seraphic School” for their Aspirants. The Silver Jubilee of the parish was celebrated on 11-05-1986, the community hall was built as a memorial of the Jubilee.
Rathinapuri, which was a desolate, marshy land with thorny bushes, by 1965 had started developing as Coimbatore had by then become the “city of motor-pumpsets” and small scale foundries into a residential area. Then the second migration started. Most of the original parishioners of Gandhipuram had migrated from the old city of the Cathedral and Kattoor parishes as the first migration and had settled down at Gandhipuram. But now the area north of Sanganoor pallam started developing, the land being cheap then, many from Gandhipuram started settling down in Rathinapuri area north of the Sanganoor pallam, and thus the “Second Migrataion”! First a plot of land of 36 cents was bought by the Diocese and a chapel of 50’x20’ was built to serve as a chapel. It was separated from the Mother Parish as a separate parish in 1983. But then, the flood-gates of expansion towards the north began. A plot of land at “Athipalayam Pirivu”, Ganapathy was bought and a church of very modern Architectural plan was constructed and it was separated from the Mother Parish to form a new “Ganapathi” parish in 1 990 with Visuvasapuram as substation. It was a Housing colony started by the great visionary of our diocese, Bishop Visuvasam, way back during his region, through the CMSSS! In 1998, a new stage for public functions was constructed. Another hall was constructed as a “Parish Hall” and a Grotto of Lady of Fatima was constructed and blessed by Bishop Thomas Aquinas on 26-10-2003.
In the year 2004 a Grotto in honour of Our Lady of Fatima cvas constrcted at the entrence of the church compound. It was lessed by Bishop Thomas Aquinas. In the year 2005 on May 21” Bishop Thomas Aquinas blessed the Social and Spiritual Center in Lheir premises. It was due to the tireless effort of Fr. Joseph OFM( Cap).
Main Station :
Distance from the Cathedral Church : 4 K.Ms.
Total No. of Catholic Families in the Main station : 900
No. of Catholics in the Main station : 4000
Weekdays : Mon to Sat : Mor 6.15 a.m & 6.00 p.m
Sundays : 6.00, 7.45, l0.00(Eng)a.m & 5.30 p.m
Diocesan Institutions :
1. St. Mary’s Hr. Sec School 0422 - 2526011
Religious Institutions :
1. St. Lawrence of Brindisi Mat. School. 0422 - 2499159 (Con)
1. SF0. (III order)
2. Vicent De Paul
3. Legion of Mary
4-. Altar Boys Association
5. Fatima Recreation Club
6. Franciscan Youth Group
7. Prayer Groups
8. Jesus Youth Association
9. Good Samaritan League
Patronal Feast : Our Lady of Fatima (May)
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