Who Are We?
DAMAO as known by the Portuguese or DAMAN in English is a very ancient city founded by King Rudra Daman in the 2nd Century B.C. It is a picturesque Port-Town, which was conquered by the Portuguese Viceroy D. Costantino De Braganca on 2nd of February 1559. It remained a Portuguese Colony till December 1961 when it passed into Indian hands. Today it is a Federal Territory under the Central Government of India. It is situated on the West Coast of India with an area of 72 sq.km and unspoilt beaches stretching of about 12 kms. It is bathed by the Arabian Sea and is about 193 kms north of the Metropolitan City of Mumbai (or Bombay).
Daman boasts of having the first Municipality in Asia. In its early days Daman was a Vast Diocese. Mumbai formed part of Daman Diocese. Like elsewhere in India wherever the Portuguese went they built beautiful, magnificent churches and chapels, some of them being
the most beautiful in Portuguese World.
Besides Daman there is Diu a tiny island on the Coast of Saurashtra in the State of Gujarat, and Goa with its golden beaches, Goa houses the scared relics of St. Francis Xavier the apostle of the Indies who along with the Dominicans and the Jesuits brought Christianity to this part of the world.
India was known as the jewel in the Crown for the British who ruled all over India, and granted Independence in 1947, but Goa, Daman and Diu although in Main land India always remained a Colony of the Portuguese till 1961. Theses Colonies always remained faithful to the Portuguese Crown. Daman is a beautiful piece of Mosaic in the great jigsaw puzzle that is India.
The people of Daman known as the 'DAMANENSES' are true to their patriotic spirit, the Catholics of Daman are the only people in the whole India who has Portuguese as their mother- tongue even after 450 years. They are very lively hard working and law abiding citizens. Faithful in their religious devotions and traditions, which dates back from the early days of the Portuguese in India. Besides they also have a very rich and colourful culture and equally rich cuisine. It said that a DAMANENSES wherever in the world they go will carry with them their centuries old religious traditions, devotions their rich culture and their exotic cuisine and make sure that their children will carry on. They are great devotees of St. Anthony of Lisbon and Our Lady of Fatima.
At St. Peter and All Souls Church in Peterborough the Portuguese element is today substantial. This large community come from all over the Portuguese speaking world both from the continent, from their former African Colonies, from Brazil, and especially the Damanenses of Portuguese origin, whose community consist of about 50 families with 350 members mostly living in east gate area of the city. The first contingent of Damanenses people arrived in Peterborough in 1992 and finding the place a welcoming city encouraged others to come, there is also a much larger contingent of Damanense people at the Scared Heart parish in Leicester City and at St. Joseph Parish in Wembley North London. They always stick together in thick and thin. The vast number of Portuguese people in Peterborough arrived here soon after Portugal became part of the E.U in 1986. They still continue to do so, the latest to arrive are some from Macao and East Timor former Portuguese enclaves in China and Indonesia.
There is also quite a large number of Indians Originating from South Of India a region whose Christianity dates back to the early days of the Church, which was evangelised by St. Thomas one of the 12 Disciples of Jesus who carried the light of the gospel to these alien lands.
The Catholics are a minority in India, 1.5% of the population of over a billion people but the faith in India is still very strong, long after their Colonial masters had left. The faith is especially strong in the North East, The West coast of India, the South of India and other mission fields the level of Vocation continue to be good. Many of the missions are today run by the native missionary Society besides the Silesians and the Jesuits.
For further information on Daman go to www.damantourism.com