Sacred Heart Cathedral, New Delhi
The history of the Archdiocese of Delhi and its Cathedral is inalienably related
to the establishment of the Catholic Mission of Agra which later became the Archdiocese
Akbar the Great ascended the throne of Mughal Empire in Agra 1556. He was a mere
lad of 13 years old. Yet from the very beginning of his reign he showed extreme
generosity and tolerance towards other religions. He undertook to create a State
religion which had the acceptable characteristics of Islam, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism
and Christianity. Thus he created Din-e-Illahi.
Akbar sent a delegation to Goa in 1578 requesting the Portuguese Viceroy to send
a team of learned Catholic priests to his Ibadat Khana in Fatepur-Sikri where he
held learned discussions about religions. On November 17, 1579 the Viceroy and the
Jesuit Provincial in Goa selected three Priests for the Court of Akbar. Inflamed
with zeal for Christ and in obedience to the command of their founder Ignatius of
Loyola “Ite, inflammate omnia” (Go, set all on fire), these three Jesuits set out
from Goa. They travelled by primitive modes of transport and arrived in the Mughal
Court at Fatehpur-Sikri near Agra on February 28, 1580. Akbar received from them
a copy of the Bible with profound reverence.
Emperor Akbar added the three Jesuits to the list of learned scholars of Hinduism,
Islam and Zoroastrianism who adorned the Ibadat Khana, the hall of discussion. Two
of them, Rudolf Aquaviva, and Francis Henriquez were depicted in an illustration
to Akbarnama by Nar Singh (1605).
With this the Catholic Mission in north India had started. However the climate of
acceptance and tolerance changed over the years.
By the Papal Brief: Dominus ac Redemptor (Lord and Redeemer) of July 21,
1773, Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Society of Jesus due to political reasons
specific to Europe. It had nothing to do with the missionary zeal and faith of the
Jesuits in the missions. Following the Suppression, the Northern part of the Mughal
Mission was entrusted to the Carmelites. Two Carmelites from Bombay took charge
of the Mission. They were Fr. Agnelo di San Giuseppe and Fr. Gregorio della Presentation.
Fr. Agnelo stayed for a little while before he left. Fr. Gregorio worked in Delhi
for a longer period of time under the Capuchins. He died on September 29, 1807.
The Mission of North India started with the Mughal Court of Akbar. However, the
purpose of the mission was restricted to discussions on religious tenets. After
the reign of Jehangir the mission of the Jesuits moved out of Agra and spread its
wings to far off regions of Indian subcontinent. The Church had acknowledged the
mission by calling it Tibet-Hindustan Mission. The Capuchins received charge of
the prefecture of Tibet- Hindustan Mission in 1760. They moved into the Agra Mission
The priests posted at Sardhana near the garrison town of Meerut visited the station
at intervals. The Sacred Liturgy was held in the Palace of Begum Samru (ruler of
Sardhana) who also gave hospitality to the visiting chaplain who resided in Delhi.
In 1703 Propaganda Fide established the Prefecture of Tibet - Hindustan and entrusted
it to the Capuchin Fathers of the Italian Province of Picenum in the Marches of
Ancona. The first group of Capuchins reached Tibet from Kathmandu in 1707 and started
working there. It operated from Lhasa for about four decades until a religious persecution
forced them to give up their mission in Lhasa by April 1745 and returned to Kathmandu
in Nepal. The Mission of Nepal was also abandoned in 1769, following an invasion.
The Capuchin Fathers along with some laity from Nepal then moved to India. They
settled down at Chuhari near Bettiah. Fr Joseph Mary OFM Cap founded the Bettiah
Mission in 1769 after obtaining permission from Pope Benedict XIV.
In 1820, Vicariate Apostolic of Tibet-Hindustan was constituted. In 1845 it was
renamed Vicariate Apostolic of Agra. On February 7, the same year it was bifurcated
to form two Vicariates: Agra and Patna Msgr. Maria Zenobio Benucci OFM Cap, was
made the first Vicar Apostolic of Agra. Vicaritate Apostolic of Agra in fact embraced
whole of North India now covered by innumerable dioceses from Sind in Pakistan to
In 1723 Fr. Ippolyto Desideri of Tibet-Hindustan Mission was posted in Delhi. He
built a church and dedicated it to the Virgin Mary. The Church was blessed on All
Souls’ Day in 1723. That was the beginning of the first Catholic Church in Delhi.
The Sacred Heart Cathedral New Delhi was only the second Catholic Church in Delhi.
The gap between the constructions of St. Mary’s Church Old Delhi and Sacred Heart
Cathedral New Delhi was 70 years. Yet those were the years of evangelization and
pastoral care by the great Capuchin missionaries.
On February 11, 1919 Archbishop Evangelista Latino Enrico Vanni O.F.M. Cap sent
Fr. Luke Vannucci Ernesto da Prato OFM Cap to Delhi as Parish Priest of St. Mary’s
Church and Chaplain to British Armed Forces garrisoned at Delhi. After getting the
blessing of the saintly Padre Pio he arrived in Delhi in April 1919.
During the year of his arrival itself, Fr. Luke renovated St. Mary’s Church and
the Rectory in Old Delhi. In 1920 he purchased the plot of land wherein stands the
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. However, it was not called a Cathedral. Neither Fr.
Luke nor Archbishop Vanni had known that Delhi would become a diocese of its own
rite and the Church they built would take its place in History as its Cathedral.
Fr. Luke Vannucci bought the land in 1922. It was a plot measuring 14.022 acres.
The Delhi Government leased it in perpetuity to Agra Archdiocese for a consideration
of Rs. 7000.00 and the Archdiocese of Delhi which inherited the land pays Rs. 365.00
as annual ground rent.
Fr. Luke was indebted to many generous persons who occupied positions of importance
in the Government. Lady Willingdon’s support was most invaluable. Sir Malcolm Hailey
the Governor of United Provinces helped him to obtain an interest free loan of Rs.
60,000.00 at a time when Fr. Luke was indeed caught in financial straits.
Eight Architects were invited to submit plans for the Cathedral. Sir Edward Lutyens,
the architect of the Capital City of New Delhi consented to be on the panel of the
jury of which Fr. Luke too was a member. The plans submitted by Mr. Henry Medd were
finally selected but some modifications on the façade were required. The architect
subsequently made the changes the panel had suggested.
Archbishop Evangelista Latino Enrico Vanni O.F.M. Cap of Agra blessed the land and
laid the foundation stone in 1929. Construction work started in 1930.
By an error of judgment the foundation was laid too close to the boundary of the
property. The General Post Office now known as Gol Dak Khana was coming up in front
which had a plan to build more than one floor and the Officers’ quarters around
it. The Cathedral was unwittingly posed to be placed in the midst of a concrete
jungle. Fr. Luke approached Lady Willington. She intervened to alter the plan of
the Post Office. Her suggestion to the town planners to shift the residential complex
from the vicinity was accepted and complied with. She also let Fr. Luke acquire
an extra 6137 sq. yards of land for an approach road.
The subsidy from the Archdiocese of Agra was insufficient. Fr. Luke was hard pressed
for finance. He approached prominent denizens of Delhi as well as benefactors in
his native Italy seeking financial assistance. As the obituary write-up on Fr. Luke
preserved in the archives of Tuscani Province in Italy suggested, he made use of
the “media” of his time to solicit donations. A bronze plaque inside the Cathedral
bears the names of those benefactors who donated more than Rs. 1000 which of course
was a significant sum of money in the 1930s. The Patrician Brothers of Musoorie
and the Religious of Jesus & Mary also donated this royal sum. However more amazing
is the donation of a certain Rev. Dhuram who was a minister of the Anglican Church
and served the Brtish Army as a chaplain. He accepted Catholic Faith before his
death. He bequeathed to the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart a sum of Rs. 13,792.00.
Another marble plaque near the main entrance bears the names of Sir Anthony S. De
Mello KGSG and his wife Rita, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice as benefactors from the
laying of foundation to its inauguration.
Some of the donations were miraculous in nature. God’s love for His builder son
Luke was manifest in the miraculous timely interventions. Once as Fr. Luke was anxious
because he did not have funds to pay the Contractor’s quarterly bill, a donation
of Rs. 15000 from a Japanese gentleman who was known to Fr. Luke fifteen years earlier,
One day an unknown young man came to meet Fr. Luke. He left after delivering a short
message: “Withdraw your money from the bank for it is going to crash!” Fr. Luke
did not question the veracity of the message, nor God’s love for him and his mission.
Just like St. Joseph who received the Angel’s message in the dead of the night,
he obeyed. He withdrew his building fund from the Alliance Bank. A bankruptcy procedure
on the bank was in progress unknown to Fr. Luke or for that matter to any ordinary
citizen. The day after the Church building fund was withdrawn, the bank indeed crashed.
Apparently the young man who delivered the message and the benefactor from Japan
who remembered Fr. Luke and his Cathedral after fifteen years were expressions of
God’s Providence for his servant Luke. He was constantly assured of the providence
of God. And Fr. Luke responded with adequate faith.
Sir Anthony de Mello donated the main altar of pure Carrara marble. Archbishop Vanni
donated the bell, vestments and furniture in the sanctuary including the imposing
“Cathedra” the seat of the Archbishop signifying his teaching authority. It is from
the word “Cathedra” that ‘Cathedral’ is derived.
Prayers and sacrifices of many went into the completion of the Sacred Heart Cathedral
After five long years the Cathedral was completed. It was blessed on December 8,
1935 by the Papal Internuncio, His Excellency Rt. Rev. Leo Kierkels, in the presence
of six other bishops and a large congregation of people from many faith traditions,
priests and men and women religious.
Archdiocese of Agra allotted a part of the 14 plus acres of Cathedral land to the
Congregation of Jesus & Mary to build their Girls’ School in 1923. In 1940 the Archdiocese
allotted a portion of Cathedral land to Irish Christian Brothers to build St. Columba’s
Those responsible for the magnificent Sacred Heart Cathedral were Archbishop Evangelist
Vanni OFM Cap of Agra and Fr. Luke Vannucci OFM Cap. Archbishop Vanni had sent Fr.
Luke in 1919 to Delhi with the specific mission to build a church. He could have
chosen no better person. With determination and strenuous efforts, Fr. Luke made
the massive and elegant church a reality.
The Cathedral which bears the symbol of the Franciscans is visited daily by devotees
from far and near as well as tourists from India and abroad. The visitors are unlikely
to notice the massive iron gate as the impressive Cathedral, an embodiment of beauty
in simplicity looms skywards before them. Sacred Heart Cathedral stands in the midst
of Sir Edward Lutyen’s New Delhi and vies to match his stately buildings.
The emblem of the Franciscans carved in limestone looks intently at the former British
Viceregal Palace renamed Rashtrapati Bhavan after India became a Sovereign Democratic
The string of eminent Parish Priests administering the Cathedral on behalf of the
Archbishops added gardens and trees rendering beauty and ecological balance to the
estate. The Cathedral itself is a haven of peace and prayerful quiet.
From the main altar the priest celebrant looks on Rashtrapati Bhavan as he presides
over the worshipping community. Apparently Fr. Luke and Mr. Henry Medd the architect
intended that the Apostle’s command to his bishop Timothy (I Tim 2:1-3) that prayers
and supplications must rise from the Altar for the nation and its rulers. There
is no denying that town planning played a role in bringing about the alignment.
During the time he was an Assistant at the Cathedral Fr. Benedict Santos used to
compose the weekly notices and the Prayers of the Faithful for the Sunday Liturgy.
It was his custom to add a prayer for the nation and the national leaders. Archbishop
Angelo at times reminded the parish priests to add a prayer in their churches for
the nation and its leaders.
Behind the priest-celebrant facing the worshipping community is a mural of the Last
Supper of the Lord much like the Masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, Italy.
This imposing mural of the Last Supper does not show the face of Judas but makes
him walk out on the Lord. He does walk into darkness as St. John’s Gospel indicates
(refer John 13:30 “And it was dark”) but worse, having turned his back on Jesus,
the Light of the World, Judas is depicted as a dark hooded shadow: the artistic
comment on the Lord’s betrayer is chilling.
However there is yet another compelling reason for not modeling Judas. The following
analysis of the models of the mural will explain the reason. The Capuchin Friars
working at that time in Agra Archdiocese were used as models for the Apostles and
They were from left to right:
Fr. Xavier OFM Cap worked in Simla. For many years he was chaplain for Sisters of
Jesus & Mary in Eagle Mount, Simla.
Fr. Ulric OFM Cap was famous as a musician and organist. He suffered a massive heart
attack on arrival back in Italy. He died at the airport.
Fr. Luke OFM Cap was responsible for the first renovation of St. Mary’s Church Old
Delhi and building of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus New Delhi, A tireless
missionary he travelled extensively and found missions like Najafgarh. A lover of
the poor children, he built schools like St. Theresa’s Parish High School in St.
Mary’s Church Compound Delhi and inspired construction of Khrist Raja School in
the premises of the Sacred Cathedral, New Delhi. In the mural Fr. Luke models for
Fr. Declan OFM Cap was chaplain of Sisters of Jesus & Mary at Eagle Mount.
Fr. Hycinth OFM Cap served as Rector of St. Peter’s College Agra.
Fr. Basil OFM Cap was an Irishman. In the mural he models for Jesus.
Fr. Daniel OFM Cap served in Agra, Dehra Dun and later in Aden.
Fr. Linus OFM Cap worked in St. Agnes School Dehra Dun.
Fr. Ignatius OFM Cap was an Englishman. He was Assistant to Fr. Bonaventure OFM
Cap who is also depicted in the mural.
Fr. Adeodatus OFM Cap was a musician and singer. He served as Rector of the Shrine
of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana. An ardent devotee of Mother Mary, he used to painstakingly
explain the faith of the Church to the Christian and non-Christian pilgrims alike
daily and draw attention to the artistic meaning of the marble sculptors in the
Shrine in Sardhana. He was assassinated in the premises of the Shrine Basilica.
It is said that the alleged assailant was a young man whom he had brought up and
taught as an orphan.
Fr. Gabriel OFM Cap was Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Church Agra. He was also Principal
of St. Theresa’s Parish High School, Delhi 6.
Fr. Bonaventure OFM Cap was Parish Priest at Ripon Place, Simla.
The names of the Apostles whom these Fathers represented are painted on a lower
panel of the mural.
Apparently the artist avoided modelling a flesh and blood missionary for Judas and
took the easy way out by depicting him as a shadowy figure. It is not necessary
that it was this reason and not the other, but both reasons could have worked themselves
out in the imaginative mind of the artist.
The massive Gothic pulpit still stands making the post-Vatican II generation of
Christian worshippers wonder about its use. However, the marble railing where the
communion used to be distributed to the reverently kneeling Catholics has been removed
during the renovation. However there is a considerable number of people who wish
that the railing was not removed. The original purpose of the railing was to separate
the Sanctuary from the rest of the Church in order to maintain its sanctity. Sanctuary
of a Church is referred to as Sanctum Sanctorum.
The Cathedral’s side aisles used to be lined with altars. Those side-altars were
removed. Their removal also has reference to liturgical reforms of Vatican II Ecumenical
Council. Those days, the pious Catholics who attended daily Mass, considered it
an advantage to attend several Masses at the same time. The priests who were not
assigned to a scheduled Mass and the visiting priests celebrated Mass at those side-altars.
Before Vatican II concelebration of the Eucharist too was not a permitted practice.
The choir loft used to house a massive pipe organ which was in use till the early
seventies. Presently the choir stays with the worshipping community. The modern
day choir uses digital instruments which have the advantages of automatic creation
of ambience and sound effects and much more. The pipe organ is no more to be found
in the choir loft.
The massive church bell donated by Archbishop Evangelisti Vanni still tolls beckoning
the faithful to worship. As the bell tolls for the Angelus the faithful stand motionless
to pray the angelus. Mr. John and Mr. Andrew were among the early sacristans who
served the Cathedral Church till 1964 when Mr. Arun Francis took over the work.
Wearing an Altar Server’s red cassock and white surplice he faithfully served all
Masses. In 1984 he met with a fatal accident at the Gol Dak Khana roundabout and
died. His son Anthony Francis took over. He had been serving the Cathedral church
with the same passion and love of his father for the sacred premises of the Cathedral
and the consecrated ministers. Mr. P.J. John assists him especially when he takes
his weekly day-off. All these faithful sacristans rang the massive bell. Besides,
the Angelus, the bell tolls summoning the faithful to worship. The soulful toll
during funerals raises the minds and hearts in sublime devotion.
The crucifix with an enigmatic brass figure of the crucified Lord watches the priest-celebrant
from the right side of the main altar, reminding him of the sacrificial nature of
his ministry and life. The crucifix had been originally built for the sanctuary
and stood behind the main altar before it was designated as the memorial of the
parish mission Fr. L. Carroll CSSR and Fr. M. Hickey CSSR preached from November
18 to December 2, 1945. The Mission Cross was blessed by Archbishop Sylvester Patrick
Mulligan OFM Cap the first Archbishop of Delhi-Simla.
The fourteen Stations of the Cross with their embossed figures are not merely a
reminder of the pilgrimage of the Lord Jesus to Calvary but also an object of artistic
beauty. Every year the Archbishop of Delhi leads the Eucharistic Stations of the
Cross on Good Friday drawing large crowds of the faithful.
Till the time loudspeakers and microphones became a necessity, the priests of old
used their well trained voices to proclaim the Word and celebrate the Eucharist.
And no one needed to miss a word. The dome over the main altar which used to enhance
their voices, however fed back the mechanically amplified sound system. The architecture
of the thirties had no way of foreseeing the acoustic needs of the electronic era.
During the 1970s Fr. Irineu dos Santos consulted many companies including the Philips
to make the sound system effective. The mystery of the feedback of the Sound System
could not be fully solved then. The sound and acoustic systems were put aright during
the total renovation in 2004.
In 1991 Fr. Vincent M. Concessao the Parish Priest undertook the task of restoration
of the art work and the façade of the Cathedral. Italian students of Art and Archeology
came to New Delhi and painstakingly restored the painting of the Last Supper to
its original splendor.
The Franciscan Emblem had dislodged itself during an earthquake in the 1990s. The
concerned Franciscan Friars in India had sent representation to Archbishop Alan
de Lastic to restore the emblem. He made sure that the historical emblem was restored.
Fr. Susai Sebastian during his stewardship undertook a major renovation of the Cathedral
in 2004. The Cathedral was closed down for renovation from March 2004 till mid July
2004. The flooring and the electrical system were as old as the Cathedral itself.
The original concrete flooring was replaced with granite and various shades of marble
slabs with an artistic pattern to guide. The entire wiring and electric system and
lightings were replaced with new. The renovated Cathedral was inaugurated by Archbishop
Vincent Concessao on July 18, 2004.
Three deceased Archbishops of Delhi were laid to rest in the Sanctuary of the Cathedral.
They were Dr. Joseph Fernandes, Dr. Angelo Fernandes and Dr. Alan de Lastic.
Ex Officio the bishop of a diocese is the Parish Priest of his Cathedral. A Priest
or an auxiliary Bishop may be put in Charge of the Cathedral for its day to day
functions. And the priest or auxiliary bishop is properly called Administrator because
he looks after the Cathedral on behalf of the Ordinary of the diocese.
Fr. Luke Vannuci OFM Cap was the first Parish Priest and what a remarkable Administrator
he was. During the time of the creation of the Archdiocese of Delhi as an independent
Metrpolitan Archdiocese, Mon. John Burk became the Administrator. In 1959 he was
made Bishop of Simla-Chandigarh. Archbishop Angelo Fernandes was appointed Co-adjutor
Archbishop of Delhi. He decided to hold the office of the Administrator of the Sacred
Heart Cathedral. When Archbishop Angelo Fernandes took charge of the Archdiocese
he appointed Fr. Irineu dos Santos as Administrator. The people identified Fr. I.
Santos with the Cathedral Parish. He held the office from 1967 to 1990. Fr. Vincent
M. Concessao was at the helm of affairs from 1990. He was made Vicar General and
Auxiliary Bishop. Rome appointed him Archbishop of Delhi after the death of Archbishop
Alan de Lastic. Fr. Joseph Thomas, Fr. Charles D’Souza, Fr. Susai Sebastian and
Fr. Januario Rebello administered the Cathedral in succession, before Fr. Maria
Soosai took charge.
Till the turn of the millennium the Cathedral Clergy resided in the Archbishop’s
House. The needs of the Parish Clergy and those of the Curia and Chancery were different.
Both the Parish clergy and Archbishop’s House clergy recognized the urgency for
a separate Rectory.
While he was Parish Priest, Fr. Charles D’Souza raised funds to build a Rectory.
Between the CBCI Centre and the Cathedral compound stood a cottage called Maria
Bhawan. Ms Josephine an orphaned Anglo-Indian Senior citizen was a permanent fixture
in the Cathedral in the 60s and 70s. She was like the Prophetess Anna who stood
by Simeon when the Child Jesus was brought to the temple to do for him the customary
Hebrew ritual of offering of the first-born. (Luke 2:36). She used the old Maria
Bhawan for her personal purposes. There was nothing anyone could do without hurting
a senior’s sentiment. She was later sent to Nirmal Hriday of Missionaries of Charity
where she was taken care of until her death.
Maria Bhawan had seen better days. It was built by Fr. Luke to accommodate his construction
staff while he himself commuted daily between St. Mary’s Church, Old Delhi and the
construction site. Sisters of Jesus & Mary were already in Delhi at the invitation
of the Archdiocese in 1919. They decided to leave their co-education school in Alipore
Road, Old Delhi to run a school for the educational needs of the Imperial City.
The Archdiocese accommodated RJM School at Maria Bhawan on 25 January 1923. However
the Sisters continued to reside in their Residence in Alipore Road. They commuted
daily to Maria Bhawan by bus. Convent of Jesus & Mary, the all-girls’ School functioned
in Maria Bhawan for 7 years. After receiving a portion of the Cathedral land from
the Archdiocese the Religious of Jesus & Mary built their school and convent therein.
Thereafter, Maria Bhawan served as offices of the pious associations of the Cathedral.
Fr. Charles D’Souza chose the raised mount terrace where Maria Bhawan stood to construct
a magnificent Rectory for the parish Clergy. The new Maria Bhawan took shape in
1999. The Parish Clergy moved into it in 2000 A.D. Millennium year of Khristu Jayanti.
It goes without saying that the Parish Clergy were glad to move into their own home.
The double storied Maria Bhawan blends itself with the Cathedral as it faces the
In 1980 another 0.607 acre plot was made available to the Archdiocese after NDMC
and Traffic Police realigned the Bangla Sahib Road restricting traffic in the vicinity
of Gurdwara Bangala Sahib. Archbishop Angelo Fernandes instructed Sr. Raphael Reis
RJM, Superior of Jesus & Mary Convent which was running the Khrist Raja School on
behalf of the Archdiocese to avail of the opportunity. Thus NDMC leased to the Sisters
the plot for a play ground of Khrist Raja School. Tennis and basketball courts were
built in it. It has direct entry to the students of Jesus & Mary Convent.
The other buildings that came up within the 14 acre plot were CBCI Centre, Jesus
& Mary Convent School, St. Columba’s School, Maria Bhawan the Presbytery of the
Parish Clergy, Archbishop’s House, Diocesan Community Centre cum Library, Aradhana
the Convent of Pious Disciples of the Divine Master and Yusuf Sadan.
The Cathedral Complex is also an ecologically balanced campus. Fr. Susai Sebastian
had been the inspiration and author of the greenery and gardens around the Cathedral.
Holy Father Pope John Paul II visited India from February 1, 1986. He paid a visit
to the Sacred Heart Cathedral a day after he landed in New Delhi. On the occasion
of the 25th anniversary of his first visit on February 1, 2011, a bronze statue
was unveiled on the premises of the Cathedral facing the tree Bl. Pope John Paul
II had planted on the day of his first visit. The statue donated through the good
offices of His Excellency the Most Rev. Salvatore Pennachio the Papal Nuncio in
India. His Excellency Mr. Marco Piccinini Ambassador of the Republic of Morocco
to India made the statue available to the Archdiocese. The Statue of the Holy Father
Pope John Paul II stands with outstretched arms in a gesture of greeting the people
of India. Holy Father holds his characteristic scepter that has a crucifix and wears
the Papal Mitre as if vested for the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.
The base of the statue bears the symbols of lotus the national flower and peacock
the national bird of India.
Holy Father visited the Sacred Heart Cathedral a second time on 6 November 1999.
On that occasion he released his Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in
Asia” (The Church in Asia). The Exhortation opens with the words “The Church in
Asia sings the praise of the Lord” and ends thus: “Given at New Delhi, in India,
on the sixth day of November in the year 1999, the twenty-second of my Pontificate.”
In order to commemorate the centenary of the founding of New Delhi and transfer
of Imperial Capital from Calcutta to Delhi in the year 2011 Hindustan Times Daily
Newspaper chose the Sacred Heart Cathedral as one of the 100 Icons of the City.
The commemorative plaque was placed on the wall of the Cathedral. Fr. Maria Soosai,
Fr. Umesh Ekka and Fr. Francis Prasad were the Parish Clergy when this honour was
conferred. Fr. Shyju Xavier thereafter replaced Fr. Prasad.
(excerpts from an yet to be published History of the Archdiocese of Delhi, compiled
and edited by Fr. Augustine Kuriapilly of the Archdiocese of Delhi)