GUNADALA

Patron : Our Lady of Lourdes 

Parish Priest :Rev. Fr. Eleti William Jaya Raju
Asst. Parish Priests : Fr. Kommathoti Joshi Anil Kumar, Fr. Gorremuchu Joseph, Fr. Golla Suvarna raju
Address : Parish Priest & Rector
Gunadalamatha Shrine
GUNADALA, VIJAYAWADA – 520 004

Telephone number : (0866) 245 02 44, 245 19 34
Catholics : 5542
Chapels : 04
Catechists : 08
Substations : 13

Institutions:
➢ Social Service Center
➢ St. Joseph’s ITI & Boarding Home
➢ St. Joseph’s Printing Press
➢ Bishop Grassi High School & St. Joseph’s Boarding Home for Boys
➢ St. Aloysius Convent, Novitiate & Boarding Home for Girls
➢ St. Louis Gonzaga Convent & Regional House
➢ St. Joseph’s English Medium School
➢ Maria Prem Nivas (M C Brothers)
➢ Vianney Clergy Home
➢ St. Ann’s Home
➢ Gunadalamatha Convent
➢ CMSF Brothers (Franciscan Missionary Brothers)
➢ St. Joseph’s Technical Training Institute

History:

Gunadala (1975) was bifurcated from Pezzonipeta and was erected canonically on 24th September, 1970. Fr. J. Pezzoni PIME obtained the present land near the hill from the government and started an orphanage in 1923. Through the ingenuity and hard work of Fr. P Arlati IME. The High School and industrial school were built up and the foundation was laid for Gunadala becoming a centre of Catholic activity in the town.

A Grotto was carved out halfway up the hill and a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was erected by the efforts of Bro. Bertoli PIME and Bro. Crippa PIME in 1929, and slowly veneration to Our Lady spread. Today, it has become a major pilgrimage centre in Andhra Pradesh during the Annual feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, on 11th February, millions of pilgrims gather from all parts to venerate Our Lady- Gunadala Matha.

The new parish church of Our Lady was built by Fr. J Calderaro in 1973 and the presbytery by Fr. E Premolil in 1975 at the foot of the hill. To these were added Homes for the pilgrims by Fr. Y Balaswamy, partly with the financial assistance offered by Fr Kudilingal George. Another new building was constructed near the Grotto and another atop the hill, near the Cross by him. Extension of the Church was undertaken by Fr. Saka Johannes and was completed by Fr. John Raju. In 1999 Information Centre and Pilgrims’ Centre were constructed by Fr. P Joachim.

In the year 2006 two huge water tanks were constructed by Fr. Mallavalli Balaswamy, one at the Cross and the other close to the Grotto to provide drinking and bathing water to the ever increasing number of pilgrims. Also a 25 ft cement road connecting Eluru road and the Shrine premises was laid for the convenient passage of pilgrims from the main road. A spacious road also was laid from the Getsamani to the Cross as a parallel road to the 14 stations road. The stage under the cross is extended to be the double of its original size G.I. pipe railing is given to zig zag road right from the Shrine Church to the grotto and beyond. New bathing rooms for men and women separately with PVC Sheets. The steps road was widened and given the G.I pipe railing.
On the advice of the police department a new bathing hall and a cabin for women to change their dress was constructed close to the tonsure hall. A four-room-A.C. sheet shed was put up for the families of the Shrine workers near the Calvary. A strenuous work was under taken by Fr. M. Balaswamy to construct chaplets for 5 luminous mysteries. The old mosaic flooring is removed and marble flooring is laid with the donations from the people. The shrine Church got a new looks with the steel railing given to the staircase. The Diocese has taken up several developmental activities like the imposing (Simha Dvaram) at the entrance of the cement road to improve facilities in the shrine.

Substations: 13
Bethalahem Nagar, Lourdu Nagar, Machavaram (1972), Ramavarappadu (1973), Christianpeta, Calvari Centre, Loyola Quarters, Vijayanagari Colony, Maruthi Nagar, ESI Hospital, Gunadala Centre, Padavala Revu, Prasadam padu, Kummari veedhi, , Kammavarapadu.

Former Parish priests:

Fr.J.B. Calderaro PIME (Sep 1970 – May 1973)
Msgr. Kanjirathinkal Jacob (May 1973 – Oct 1974)
Fr. E. Premoli PIME (Oct 1974 – Feb 1979)
Fr. Luigi Pozzoli PIME (Feb 1979 – Sep 1980)
Fr. Augusto Zanini PIME (ad tempus) (Oct 1980 –
Fr. Yadala Balaswamy (Mar 1981 – Jun 1988)
Fr. Saka Johannes (Jun 1988 – May 1992)
Fr. Mesapam Gabriel (May 1992 – May 1994)
Fr. Junjunuri John Raju (May 1994 – April 1998)
Fr. Polimetla Joachim (April 1998 – May 2005)
Fr. Mallavalli Balaswamy (May 2005 – May 2008)
Fr. Pamiti John Stephen (May 2008 – May 2009)
Msgr. Merugumala Chinnappa (May 2009 – March 2016)

Rev. Fr. Eleti William Jaya Raju (Nov 2016 –