St Elizabeth Church, Ucassaim
St.Elizabeth of Portugal is the patron saint of the Ucassaim church. It is called ‘Santa Isabel de Portugal Igreja em Ucassaim, Goa’ in Portuguese. The construction of The Ucassaim Church commenced around 1618. The foundation was laid by the Franciscans . The Comunidades of Ucassaim, Bastora,Punola and Paliem, as well as many private individuals, funded the construction which took around 10 years to complete. The Ucassaim church was destroyed in a cyclone and rebuilt in 1708. The church feast is celebrated on the first sunday of July . Since it is in the monsoon season, there is a local saying “Sant Izabel Ranni; Dimbhi Bhor Panni” which means "when we have St. Elizabeth the Queen we shall have knee-deep water", which refers to the abundance of water required to cultivate the rice crop.
As told by ancestors, Frei Miguel de Deus, a Franciscan friar, helped in obtaining a site for the church, but was short of land. The land around belonged to a Hindu who was at first reluctant to sell, but a miracle led the owner himself approached the Franciscans and donated his land free of charge. The new church was dedicated to St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal.
There is a statue of Christ the King at the entrance. A walk along a path with rice fields on either sides leads to the main church building. The statue of the patron saint St. Elizabeth is at the main altar. Below, to the right, there are smaller statues of St. Luis Gonzaga and of Our Lady. The main altar also houses the Tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament is preserved. The right side altar bears the statue of Crucified Jesus, below which are smaller statues of St. Anne and St. Anthony. On the left side altar are the statue of Our Lady of Health, whose feast is very popular, and below which are smaller statues of St. Joseph and St. Sebastian. The church residence now has 2 halls: a larger one used for gatherings and the smaller one which houses the office of the church. The residence is around an open-air courtyard with a garden built in the 18th Century.
The Patroness : St.Elizabeth of Portugal
Elizabeth was a Spanish princess who was given in marriage to King Denis of Portugal at the age of twelve. She was very beautiful,lovable, very devout, and attended mass daily. Elizabeth was a holy wife, but although her husband was fond of her at first, he soon began to cause her great suffering. Though a good ruler, he did not imitate his wife's love of prayer and other virtues. Later, to make matters worse, the King believed a lie told about Elizabeth and one of her pages by another page, who was jealous of his companion. In great anger the King ordered the one he believed guilty, to be sent to a lime-burner. The lime-burner was commanded to throw into his furnace the first page who came. The good page set out obediently, not knowing death was waiting for him. On his way he stopped for Mass, since he had the habit of going daily. The first mass had begun, so he stayed for a second one. In the meantime, the King sent the wicked page to the lime-burner to find out if the other had been killed. And so it was this page who was thrown into the furnace. When the King learned what had happened, he realized that God had saved the good page, punished the liar, and proven Queen Elizabeth to be innocent. This amazing event helped greatly to make the King live better. He apologized to his wife in front of everyone and began to have a great respect for her. In his last sickness, she never left his side, except for Mass, until he died a holy death. St. Elizabeth lived for eleven more years, doing even greater charity and penance. She was a wonderful model of kindness toward the poor and a successful peacemaker between members of her own family and between nations.
Chapels affiliated to St . Elizabeth church
Holy Cross Chapel, St Anthony’s Ward, Ucassaim