MUMBAI: Sunday marks a red-letter day for St Andrew’s Church in Bandra as it launches its 400th anniversary celebration. The oldest parish in the suburb dating back to 1616, St Andrew’s is approximately 50 years older than the Taj Mahal which was completed in 1653.

Over time, the structure weathered several storms that blew the roof away. Its bells have pealed in warning against an Arab attack on Versova. And by a manmade miracle of architecture, the sun’s rays focus upon the holy cross through a skylight on equinox days of March 21and September 22. These nuggets of information are sourced for a guidebook that will be released on Sunday. “Jesuit priests built this church shortly after their arrival in Thane. Local Kolis contributed generously ,” says parish priest Fr Caesar D’Mello.

Fr Caesar says the special Andrean Fair will be held from November 26 to 28 on the school grounds. “We will organise a food festival of local and world cuisine as well as musical performances by bands named The Other People, Victor and The Crowns and Raaga Trippin, a capella group that uses no musical nstruments. Vocalist Samantha Edwards, who was raised in this parish, will per orm. A flea market with shops for jewellery , handicrafts, and clothes completes he experience.”

Fr Caesar wants to bring ogether older parishes of Mumbai and Thane for a common celebration. “Several churches, including St John the Baptist Church in Thane, St John the Evangelist in SEEPZ, St Blaise in Amboli and Holy Cross in Kurla, have crossed this milestone of 400 years. It would be nice to have a grand commemoration,” he says.

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Source: TOI-MUM