It was indeed a momentous day for the clergy and the parishioners of St Sebastian Church, Bendore as they witnessed the blessing and inauguration of the newly constructed Msgr Leslie Shenoy Community Hall on Sunday October 4. It was a completion of the long-awaited dream of the parishioners for a spacious hall with modern amenities.

The construction of the hall which began before the onset of the pandemic could not have been completed without the timely support of Msgr Leslie Shenoy who came forward to sponsor the total expenses of the hall and there could not have any better day for its inauguration than October 4, as it was the birthday of Msgr Leslie Shenoy.

Prior to the inauguration, thanksgiving Mass was celebrated by Msgr Leslie as the main celebrant along with the parish priest and other priests of Bendore parish. Fr Walter D’Mello broke the word of God.

Soon after the mass Msgr Leslie Shenoy inaugurated the community hall by cutting the ribbon and Fr Antony Shera, the former parish priest unveiled the plaque. The parish priest Fr Vincent Monteiro led the prayer and blessed by sprinkling holy water. This was followed by a short stage programme that included the lighting of the lamp by the dignitaries, welcome of the guests through a traditional dance by Anisha and Angela, words of welcome by the parish priest Fr Vincent Monteiro, felicitation to Msgr Leslie Shenoy by the parish pastoral parishad vice-president Stephen Pinto, and honouring the architect, contractor and his team.

In his welcome address the parish priest acknowledged that the idea of the new hall was conceived during the tenure of the then parish priest Fr Anthony Shera. He also thanked and greeted Msgr Leslie Shenoy on his birthday with a bouquet of 73 different coloured roses.

Vice president, Stephen Pinto in his words of felicitation said, “As per my knowledge it is for the first time in the history of the diocese of Mangalore that a priest has come forward to support a parish in times of difficulty by donating a hall. Striking difference is that Monsignor with his proactive and boundless generosity exceeded any kind of expectation and without any solicitation has donated this community hall for the benefit of Bendore parishioners. Without his magnanimous, voluntary, out-flowing generosity the construction of the hall would not have been completed specially during this pandemic. His service to Bendore goes back to 15 years. His special concern and respect for Bendore Parish and especially to Fr Vincent is to be remembered for many years to come. When Fr Vincent was the director of pastoral Institution, Bajjodi he facilitated the construction of a full-fledged hostel for the economically backward children of the diocese through the generosity of Msgr Leslie Shenoy. Apart from this, monsignor’s concern for the poor is demonstrated through his generous contributions towards his mother diocese, Kolkata by building chapels, a skill training centre for the poor children, construction of an orphanage in Mysore etc. I thank Msgr Leslie profusely on behalf of the parish family for this wonderful gift of Community Hall and his service to humanity.”

Monsignor was honoured with the shawl, garland, Peta and a memento by the dignitaries on the stage.

Msgr Leslie Shenoy in his address said that he voluntarily sponsored the funds for the community hall and the money he donated came from his own savings and retirement funds. He recollected his association with the Bendore parish for over 15 years and he felt that the parish needed a good, modern hall. He wittingly asked the parish priest to complete the main hall before his 75th birthday.

This was followed by honouring Lawrence Cutinha, the architect, Richard Rodrigues, the contractor and his team, supervisor Ravi Fernandes who had worked hard for the completion of the project in time.

The vote of thanks was proposed by Mavis Rodrigues, secretary, parish pastoral parishad and compeering was done by Vinod D’Souza, convener, youth and Cultural Committee. The blessing ceremony was made more meaningful with the melodious choir by Oswald D’Souza and team.

The Msgr Leslie Shenoy Community Hall is fully air-conditioned and can accommodate up to 275 people. With a spacious area for parking and other facilities, the hall has attracted the attention of the public. The hall is available for booking at an affordable cost.