|Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Calcutta blog.com|
There are countless churches in Bengal that date back as far back as the 17th century and they stand as a legacy of European colonial traders and rulers in this part of Indian subcontinent. To the natives, Christianity was a new religious concept never heard before and the missionaries found it tough to convert them into other faith as their faith in local religions were deep rooted. Besides, they had language barrier that retarded their evangelical work in India. Missionaries felt compelled to learn the native language(s) in course of their work later in other parts of India. However, their services were of great help to the Colonial rulers and European officials and merchants. Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Kolkata is one of the oldest churches in Bengal patronized by the Portuguese who happened to be the early European settlers in this region.
The church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus located on Lenin Sarani, Dharmatala, Kolkata was founded in 1832 by Pascoa Baretto de Souza, grandmother of Sir Walter de Souza, who was a Consul General of Portugal in Calcutta. In 1821, Ms. de Souza’s son was tried by the court for shooting and injuring a person named Joseph Gonsalves while returning from the old Chowringhi Theater. She took a vow to build a church if her son would be acquitted. As the court found him not guilty, the lady went ahead to begin the work on the church. The foundation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was laid later. The church was under the parish of the padroado until 1844.
|/Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Kolkata, WB puronokolkata.com|
Only in 1686 it was Job Charnock, an official of the East India Company who took efforts to develop the fishing villages and later the EIC named it as Calcutta. But prior to their monopoly and dominance, Portuguese from Hoogly had already settled in this part of Bengal and had been in trading activities. The Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart in Calcutta was originally a Roman Catholic Church for the Portuguese community in Calcutta. The Catholic Emancipation Act having been been passed in 1829, the church as planned by Mr. s Pascoa da Souza, a member of the prominent Portuguese family, the Barrettos, came up between 1832 and 1834. It was built behind Dharamtola Bazaar on Dhurrumtollah (Dharamtola) Street in the prime area of of British Calcutta.