The birth of the KCA

posted May 4, 2017, 12:31 AM by IT Administrator   [ updated May 4, 2017, 12:36 AM ]
(Excerpt from the Golden Jubilee Souvenir, 1951)

Way back in the sixties of the last century, the calls of “Urbs Prima in Indis” began to lure some of the more enterprising members of the Kanara Catholic community, particularly of the town of Mangalore, and although those were not the days of a regular coastal steamship service, that did not deter them from entering Bombay Port by country craft, mainly for the purposes of trade.  Bombay was just then entering upon an era of unparalleled prosperity, what with its being the first port of call for ships from Europe, laden as they were with the products of a highly industrialized continent, and which awaited distribution in this part of the country from Bombay, the emporium of the East. 

The textile industry of Bombay gave a further impetus to trade and it was not, therefore, surprising that a brisk coastal trade was carried on between Bombay and many of the Southern Ports.   Mangalore also had much to offer Bombay in the shape of her locally manufactured roofing tiles, and the coffee grown on the hillside tracts of Mysore State adjoining South Kanara.  Trade prosperity in Bombay spelled increased employment all round, and jobs of all kinds were to be had for the asking.  From the beginnings of Kanarian mercantile activity, there soon followed a small trickle of educated persons to whom Bombay offered good scope for service in its mercantile, public and administrative offices. 
    
The inauguration of the 'Shepherd Line' of steamers (later becoming the 'Bombay Steam Navigation Company') gave a further impetus to the influx of Kanara Catholics into Bombay, and the tiny trickle of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s grew steadily into a mighty stream before the end of the last century, until in 1900, it was estimated that there were about three to four hundred members of the Catholic community of North and South Kanara, who had taken root in this city, excluding a probable thousand members spread about the city, and following the avocations of domestic and other industrial work. 

With the beginning of the present century, the Kanarites in Bombay began to feel the necessity of having an Association of their own, and it was on February 17, 1901 that at a large and representative meeting of the community, it was decided to form the Kanara Catholic Association, its first President being the Hon’ble Major Cajetan Fernandes, M.D., I.M.S., (pictured right) and its first Honorary Secretary, the Late Mr. Francis Louis Silva. 

The Association was established in the interests of the Catholics of Kanara, and had for its objects, the fostering of a spirit of union, friendship, and self-help among the members; the provision and facilities for their meeting together for social and other purposes; and the organization of charitable relief, and such others as were necessary for the promotion of the welfare of the community. The motto of the Association was “Vis Unita Fortior”, a principle to which it has made great efforts to live up to during its span of existence of 50 years, as is evidenced by its various activities.

You can read more on the history of the KCA and download the complete Golden Jubilee Souvenir from the History section of this website (click here).