St. Patrick's Church is one of the oldest churches belonging to the Archdiocese of Bangalore, and is
located in a prime area of the city. Originally consecrated to Our Lady, it has served in the past as a Cathedral and then as a personal
parish. Today, it is a flourishing parish in one of Bangalore's busiest districts, and is surrounded by other institutions that serve the
community in a wide variety of ways.
Construction and Dedication
The foundation for St. Patrick's church was laid in July 1841, and the church itself was built and completed in the next 3½ years, by the end of 1844. The church was dedicated to the honour of the blessed Trinity, under the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Archangel Michael, and was dedicated as the "Church of the Assumption". But even before it was completed, it came to be known as St. Patrick's Church, due to its popularity with Irish troops stationed in the surrounding area.
Its construction was a saga of faith in God and personal effort on the part of her builder, namely Fr. Jacques - Henry Gailhot, the then Roman Catholic Chaplain for the British troops, and the first Parish Priest of the church. The church, which had no steeples as yet, was part of the Mysore diocese, and Bishop Charbonnaux of Mysore made it his Cathedral in 1845.
In 1891, Fr. M. Tabard (right) became Chaplain of the troops and the parish priest of St. Patrick's Church. Having opened the school and orphanage, he then set about rebuilding the church between 1894 and 1899, adding, among other things, a pair of steeples, to give us the church as it now stands today. The church was consecrated as the cathedral of the Mysore Diocese on 12th November 1899 by Bishop Kleiner. The 3rd Eucharistic Congress in India was held here, and Bishops were consecrated here on 28th October, 1922.
In 1940, Bangalore was erected as a separate diocese, and St. Francis Xavier's became the Cathedral Church. On the advice of the Diocesan Council, Bishop Despartures of Mysore asked the Pope for permission to make St. Patrick's a canonical parish with personal jurisdiction for Europeans, Goans, Konkanis and Parsis who were staying in the parishes of St. Mary's and Sacred Heart churches. Permission was granted and the personal jurisdiction continued till the early 1960s. Thereafter, St. Patrick's became a territorial parish like its neighbours.
The church was further renovated in 2000 AD. It can now comfortably accommodate 550 people within it. The strength of the parish is around 3500 but its central location makes it attractive to the faithful from all parts of Bangalore as well as visitors who are spending only a short while in the city.
The century old structure was further renovated in 2012 by Fr. Sagayanathan, with the assistance of artisans from Nagarcoil, Tamil Nadu. For the first time the entire outward structure was re-plastered and the resplendent Gothic beauty of this glorious church was meticulously restored. The entire premise was beautified with inter-locking cement blocks.
The church management, currently headed by Fr. Sagayanathan, the Parish priest, also takes care of St. Anthony's Oratory, St. Patrick's Shopping Complex, St. Patrick's Boys' Home, The St. Patrick's Industrial Training Institute, a PUC College, a Community College, a Nursery School and the well known St. Patrick's Middle and High School - all on the same campus.
One recent addition by Rev. Fr. S. Jayanathan is a remarkable Adoration Chapel, conducive to silent prayer and meditation. It has become a popular stopping point for people in need of a few moments of quiet time with the Eucharistic Lord.
St. Anthony's Shrine
On the right of the main church of St. Patrick's is a little shrine dedicated to St. Anthony. Known as St. Anthony's Shrine, it attracts devotees from all walks of life. It was originally a club house and a meeting place known as St. Anthony's Hall, under which name it was inaugurated in 1926. In the early 1950s, it was blessed as a Shrine. It has recently undergone renovation and a new statue of St. Anthony has been installed by Fr. Sagayanathan.
Every Tuesday witnesses a stream of devotees flocking in from six in the morning, until ten at night. The devotees are not just our Catholic brethren, but people from different faiths and from all strata of society, young and old. Some come on brief visits, while others begin pouring out their anguish, beseeching St. Anthony to intercede for them in their various problems and tribulations. A recent innovation is that Masses are being celebrated in the Oratory. The annual feast of St. Anthony on 13th June is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm.