The Diocesan Family Service Centre, Goa owes its existence to His Grace, Archbishop-Patriarch, Dr. Raul N. Gonsalves, who as a member of the CBCI’s Commission for Laity thought of launching a Family Service Centre, and hence invited Dr. Alfred and Dr (Mrs) Marie Mignon Mascarenhas to set about its establishment in Goa. A small beginning had already been made when some 9 delegates were sent from Goa to attend the Pune Western Regional Conference on the Family and Laity conducted by Dr. Alfred and Dr. (Mrs) Marie Mignon Mascarenhas. For the First time a Seminar on Natural Family Planning was held in Goa at Nirmala Institute of Education in April 1975 attended by 65 delegates priests, religious, nuns and laity. Papers were read by Ms. Leonor Rangel Ribeiro, Dulcenea Rodrigues and other ladies. The then Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Francisco Xavier da Piedade Rebelo, the Auxiliary Bishop Dr. Raul Nicolau Gonsalves and Monsenhor Afonso de Melo were on the dais. This was preceded by a para-liturgical service held in the Chapel of Nirmala Institute of Education.
Later Dr. Aurea Mascarenhas, Sr. Júlia Menzes and Mrs. Prisca Martins were sent for training in Family Apostolate to Bangalore in June 1975. As a consequence of this, the Apostolic Administrator, Most Reverend Dr. Raul Nicolau Gonsalves, decided to establish a “Diocesan Family Service Centre”, in the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman.
He then formerly established the Diocesan Family Centre, with a “Portaria”CP-P/89/75 of 11th August , 1975 which reads as follows:
Whereas the need is felt of a diocesan body for the better promotion and coordination of the Family Apostolate in this Archdiocese, we do hereby:
- Establish a DIOCESAN FAMILY SERVICE CENTRE in the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman with a COMMITTEE, appointed by the Ordinary of the Archdiocese to be in charge of the same:
- Appoint the following persons to constitute the Committee responsible for this centre, for a period of two years:.
Director: Dr. (Mrs.) Aurea Mascarenhas
Jt. Secretaries: Sr. Júlia Menezes and Mrs. Prisca Martins
Treasurer: Mr. Renato Menezes
Organizers: Fr. Lucio da Veiga Coutinho
Marriage Preparation: Fr. Theo D’Sales, S.J.
Marriage Counselling: Mr. Sergio Carvalho
Family Life Education: Dr. (Mrs) Aurea Mascarenhas
Natural Family Planning: Mr. Joe & Delphine Menezes
3. The present Committee is empowered to co-opt other members, if necessary. It shall also frame and submit for our approval the STATUTES of the Diocesan Family Service Centre. Given at “Paço”, Goa, on 11th day of August, 1975.
+Raul Nicolau Gonsalves
The “Diocesan Family Service Centre, Goa” was then formerly inaugurated by Most Rev. Raul Nicolau Gonsalves on 30th November, 1975. The Diocesan Family Service Centre, Goa, was registered as a Civil Body under the title FAMILY SERVICE CENTRE, PANJIM. It was registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 on 2nd september, 1976, with its own Rules and Regulations in order to give it a firm stability.
From its inception, the Diocesan Family Service Centre has made strides of progress. Initially, the Centre had only four departments, which encompassed all the services to be rendered to families. As years went by, some areas of work had to be streamlined and therefore, two more independent departments were introduced.