SoBo parishes lose out as Catholics move north | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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SoBo parishes lose out as Catholics move north

mumbai Updated: Jun 27, 2011 01:15 IST
Aarefa Johari
Aarefa Johari
Hindustan Times
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Byculla resident Nirmal D'Souza, 24, has over the years seen crowds attending mass at the parish's Gloria Church grow thinner every year.

Several parishioners have moved to the city's northern suburbs, and in 2003, the D'Souzas joined the exodus. They moved to Andheri and later to Dahisar. While his parents returned to their Byculla home two years ago, D'Souza continued staying on.

"We had space problems in Byculla. My suburban flat is much bigger," said D'Souza, an MBA aspirant.

This demographic shift has resulted in rapid dwindling of the Catholic population in south Mumbai's 13 parishes. Now, these parishes, which have reduced the number of prayer services that churches offer in a day, have more senior citizens than youth.

"As old buildings in south Mumbai go in for redevelopment, residents are able to get bigger flats in the suburbs by selling their homes here," said Father Reuben Tellis, parish priest of St John the Evangelist Church in Fort, where the Catholic population dropped from 1,727 in 1990 to 425 in 2010.