Our Parish – History
The Early History of the Church
The church and parish of Our Lady of Salvation has a long and eventful history extending over four hundred years. Dadar, at the time the first church was built was part of the aldeia or island of Mahim, which after Bombay Island proper was the most important during the whole of the Portuguese period. The church was the second built by the Franciscans in the Cassaba – Chief station for customs of Mahim, and located in what was then known as lower Mahim and now Dadar. It was founded, according to Edwardes in 1956, whereas Hull merely states that it was built before 1600. Its name does not appear in the Chapters list of 1595, but does on the 1610 list sent to Rome for the chapter of 1612. Hence it was founded probably between 1595 and 1600, and both Edwardes and Hull may be right.
In 1630, according to Paolo da Trinidade, the parish numbered 720 adults and 200 children. It was one of the two churches which received a yearly grant from government, the other being St.Micheal’s. This yearly stipend continued even till 1713 when Mumbai was no longer under the Portuguese.
Two visitors to Bombay, Fryer and Burnell have left records that referred to the Dadar church. Fryer who stayed in the city around 1675 says: “at Salvasong…the Franciscans enjoy another church and convent.” In 1710 Burnell wrote: “In it is Salvasong a large spacious convent belonging to the Franciscans, and is a pleasant recluse, though now it something ruinate.”
The first original church was, according to “In the Mission Field” in 1651, rebuilt and perhaps only its foundation remained. However it continued to occupy the same site.
Since 1902, most of the churches and chapels of the Padroado Diocese of Damaun were either rebuilt or extensively repaired including Nossa Senhora da Salvacao of Dadar, which was one of the richest churches having sufficient properties and funds to meet expenses of the religious services, the cost of which was met by the Fabricas (Church Committees). The Salvacao Church according to “In the Mission Field” was again rebuilt in 1914. The present church therefore is the fourth on the original site, though repairs and additions were often made.
The Portuguese Franciscans carried on as Vicars of Salvacao until 1720 when they had to quit Mahim and Mumbai. At the time of the introduction of Double Jurisdiction in 1794, Salvacao was given to the Archbishop of Goa but in 1863 the parishioners expressed their desire to transfer themselves and their church to Propaganda and the British government sustained their appeal. In 1851, however it reverted to Padroado when the Vicar of the church, Fr.Braz Fernandes offered his priestly services and the church to the Padroado Vicar General. The parish remained under Padroado until 1928 when double jurisdiction came to an end.
From the original parish were later curved out as autonomous units: Holy Cross, Lower Parel (1904); Our Lady of Dolours, Wadala (1941); St. Paul, Dadar east (1941); Our Lady of Fatima, Sewri (1959) and Sacred Heart, Worli (1961).