Foundation of Church of Mae De Deus
Originally situated at Daujim, a tiny suburb of Old Goa in the 16th century, of which today only the tallest cross on a pedestal is seen amongst shrubs and coconut groves. The church dedicated to the Mother of God or Our Lady came to be built at Bardez in the 19th century. The Saligao Church was inaugurated on November 26, 1873 and its foundation stone was laid on February 7, 1867.
Architecture of Church of Mae De Deus
The church stands as a fine example of the Gothic style of architecture. Inside the church the statue of Mother of God is placed at the side altar. The exquisite wooden statue of Mae De Deus is a beautiful example of Goan workmanship painted in golden colour. This wooden statue was originally from the Mae De Deus Church of Daujim in Old Goa. It was taken ceremoniously in a decorated boat across the Mandovi River and in a flower bedecked bullock cart. At Saligao hill, where a band struck a tune, a salvo of 21 gun shots rented the air and thousands of people cheered with joy. The statue was installed in the church and is worshipped by the devotees in the courtyard of the church.
All the black stones which adorn the church in several places were excavated from the site of the Mae De Deus convent in Daujim-Old Goa. The immaculate white Mae De Deus Church of Saligao has the typical pointed arch, with ramparts supporting its exteriors, belfry, and spikes all so arranged to create a wonderful and first piece of Gothic architecture - the only one of its kind in the whole of Goa. In 1873 the chapel was elevated to the status of Parochial Church. The Church was blessed on 1873.
Celebrations at Church of Mae De Deus
The feast of Mae De Deus is celebrated every year on the first Sunday of May in the village of Saligao. 9 days of Novena is celebrated in honour of Our Lady. The celebrations are carried out with much grandeur. Everyday the novena is organized by a different ward of Saligao. Each day at the end of the novena small group of children dress like angels who dance before Our Lady and venerate her with flowers. After the novena the evening becomes sparkling with the live performances with either a band performing on the Band Stand of the Church or some items put up on the stage. The celebrations are further enhanced by the display of spectacular fireworks. The festivities end with a grand procession in veneration of Our Lady invoking her blessings on the village of Saligao. A ‘Fair’ is organized that offer the visitors with sweets, toys and refreshments all through the day. On the feast day the Saligao Sporting Club organizes their traditional dance known as the "Foxes nite" which attracts many tourists. The performances are held on the Saligao sporting ground situated next to the Mae De Deus church. The ground is well illuminated at night.
Decoration of Church of Mae De Deus
The church of Mae De Deus is magnificently illuminated at night reflecting a unique charm. The church produces a shimmering effect when lit up with orange and yellow bulbs which reflect on the white walls giving a glowing effect. Mae De Deus church is thus serves as an important heritage in Goa.