Mumbai: This Sunday, Catholics from across the city will gather for the annual Mass which takes place once in a year in the 438-year-old St John the Baptist church, a dilapidated church located inside the premises of Santacruz Electronic Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ) complex.
Catholics, especially East Indians, who reside in the nearby area have kept the tradition alive to visit the church on the second Sunday in the month May every year, DNA reported.
Dolphy D’souza said, “The church was taken over by SEEPZ years ago. Since then, access to it has been prohibited. More than 10 years ago, we fought the battle to gain access to it after which we get to visit it only once a year. Despite being a heritage structure it is not maintained at all.”
Till 1973, Mass was celebrated annually but the practice was discontinued when the MIDC acquired the area around the church and declared it a security zone. Later in July 2004, the Catholic community raised the issue of access to the church with the government representatives.
“SEEPZ authorities were directed to erect a separate compound wall around the boundaries of the church with independent access. Access to the church is allowed only once a year,” said D’souza.