The blessing and dedication of the newly constructed Good Shepherd Church at Gopala was held on Tuesday, March 19. Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao, S.J., Bishop of Shimoga presided over the event. In addition, Our Lady of Lourdes grotto built in the church premises was blessed by Most Rev. Joseph Arumachadath, Bishop of Bhadravati. The engraved pictures of Stations of the Cross were blessed by Bishop Geevarghese Makarios of Puttur. The adoration chapel by the Bishop-elect of Karwar, Duming Dias. Chikkamagaluru Bishop Thomasappa Antony swami blessed the entrance door of the Church and Bishop Henry D'Souza of Bellary preached during the mass. Nearly one hundred priests, fifty religious sisters and around 3,000 devotees from across Karnataka participated in this memorable event.

Special Characteristics of the Church: The church, designed in Roman Gothic style is capable of accommodating 600 people, stands tall at 78 feet with a grand bell tower and two smaller towers. The church is dedicated to Jesus, the Good Shepherd. The significant features of the church include two angels at the entrance that beckon the devotees. The 6-foot statues of Jesus' 12 disciples are enshrined on 12 Roman-style pillars. The birth, life, death, resurrection of Jesus are depicted in stained glass.  Statues of Infant Jesus on the left and Our Lady of Velangani on the right evoke sense of devotion. The main altar platform 50 feet wide and 25 feet high is built according to Portuguese and Goan church architecture.

The altar contains the most impressive wood carvings of the Crucifix, the tabernacle, the Good Shepherd, Mount Carmel, Saint Joseph and Saint Anthony. The dome right above the altar is adorned with beautifully designed symbol of Holy Spirit in stained glass. The doorways and windows of the Church are designed in the Gothic style with 16 scenes of Jesus' Passion and Death painted in stained glass. On the entrance door, the images of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, who are revered as the founders of the Catholic Church, are carved. Additionally, 16 symbols of Catholic Christian faith adorn the walls. A gallery that can accommodate about 100 people, a single fan to provide enough air for the entire church, a beautiful wooden confessional, a baptismal font, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and a divine mercy pulpit have also been constructed. The surrounding garden enhances the church's beauty.

The Background: Good Shepherd Parish at Gopala, Shimoga was established in 2012. Till then it was an integral part of Infant Jesus Church, Sharavatinagar. Due to lack of financial resources, a small church was built in 2011 with a capacity of only 180 people. As the area around the church developed, hundreds of Catholic Christian families settled in the area. At present, about 600 Catholic Christians from 142 Christian families live in this area and the existing church was not sufficient to accommodate all and care for their religious and spiritual needs. Therefore, it was necessary to build a larger church. All the Catholic Christians here have contributed to the cause and donations from other parishes have come to build this grand House of God.

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