The initiative of starting a Mission in Anand-Gamdi began with the efforts of the Daughter's of the Cross Sr.Mary Paul when Rev. Peter Fernandes baptized six people of Mogri and two from Napad in Bombay. Keeping this in mind the Archbishop of bombay Theodores Dauhorphe then sent the deocesan Priest Fr.Manuel Xavier who baptized 18 children on 18th of December 1893.
St. Francis Xavier Church Gamdi – Anand is the first Catholic Church in Gujarat with the history of 125 years. It is having a population of more than 12000 people today. It has about 56 urban and Semi-urban colonies and 13 rural Christian units. The parish has 7 mass centers and 13 village chapels where we have regular fornight/monthly Eucharistic celebrations.
The Catholic Church is engaged in looking after pastrol, educational and social needs of the Catholic Community living in these units. The church has well organized groups such as the Parish Pastrol Council, the Senior Citizen’s Forum, St. Francis Parish Youth , St. John Berchman’s Alter Server Groups, Legion of Mary, St. Vincent de paul group, various women groups, and so on and the Parish team co-ordinated different programs with the co-operation of these groups.
This is beginning of the Catholic Church in Kheda District. The Gamdi-Anand Misson began with the Diocesan Priest was soon taken over by the German Jesuits, Fr. Gil, Fr. Karl Croner, Fr. Herman Johrahausen, Fr. Sihojer, Fr.Umrist and Fr.Joseph Ghanter. But very soon in 1914-1918 when Second World War began, with the British and Germans in opposing camps, German Jesuits had no option but to leave the country for good.
Today the Catholic Church of Anand-Gamdi is surrounded by the St.Xavier's and Vimal Mariam Higher Secondary Schools and Hostels, Anand Press, Gujarat Sahitya Prakash and the convents of the Daughters of the Cross and the Little Daughters. The parish has the strength of 10,000 Catholics in about 52 Colonies, Societies and about 15 villages.
The youth ministry and other religious activities are carried out through the various parish groups with the help of the assistant parish priests and the religious sisters. The parish bulletin 'Xaviervani' gives the interesting news and views of St.Francis Xaviers Parish, Anand-Gamdi.
St.Francis Xavier - Our Patron Saint
Saint Guido Maria Conforti sent the Xaverian Missionaries to China, where their Model and Patron, Saint Francis Xavier, had hoped to arrive. St.Francis Xavier was born in Navarre, Spain, on April 7, 1506. At the age of 21, he began his studies at the College of Sainte-Barbe, in Paris, where he met Ignatius of Loyola. In March 1530, Francis received his MA in Philosophy.
Ignatius changed Francis' goal in life with the question of the Gospel "What profit is it, if you gain the whole world, and lose your soul?" Together with six friends, Francis professed religious vows at Montmartre, Paris, starting the Jesuit community. After some studies of theology, Francis was ordained priest in Rome on June 24, 1537.